/ Names of Cumbria

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mockerkin on 08 May 2013
People say that there is only one "lake" in Cumbria, Bassenthwaite lake, and that the rest are meres or waters. Not strictly true. As recently as the 19th century, Bassenthwaite lake was called Broadwater. The reason that the name changed was because of the railways. Equally Windermere town was called Birthwaite.
It happened like this. When the rail companies were building the Penrith to Workington rail line (now a Beeching victim and replaced by the A66) they considered putting it on the Skiddaw side of Broadwater with a station at Bassenthwaite village. They then decided to build it on the western side of Broadwater and build a station at the north end of the lake to serve more villages. (Every village and hamlet had a station, including places like Threlkeld, Brigham and Broughton Cross). To differentiate between the new station and the village of Bassenthwaite they called the station "Bassenthwaite Lake"
Then the public thought that "Bassenthwaite" was the name of the water itself and started to call "Broadwater" "Bassenthwaite lake".
The Ordnance Survey people didn't like that at all and continued to name it as Broadwater for many years. Eventually they gave in and changed the name to Bassenthwaite to avoid confusion.
The rail companies built a new line to a town called Birthwaite. They then decided that with the mere being the main attraction they would call their station Windermere. That lead eventually to the town changing it's name from Birthwaite to Windermere.
With so many ancient place names in Cumbria these recent ones are a bit of a surprise.
redsonja - on 08 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin: I have lived in Cumbria all my life and didn't know this. its really interesting
Lankyman - on 08 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin: Thirlmere used to have two names (when it was actually two connected lakes): Leathes Water and Wythburn Water
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/26366661
marsbar - on 08 May 2013
In reply to Karl Lunt: Similarly Haweswater now hides what is left of Mardale. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1149036 Photo from the drought in 1984.
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 08 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin:

And Coniston Water was originally called Thurston Water until the late 18th Centuary.The name was name derived from the Old Norse personal name 'Thursteinn' + Old English 'waeter'.
Pete Pozman - on 09 May 2013
In reply to Ghastly Rubberfeet: Note that the Ghyll spelling in Dungeon Ghyll (ie not Gill) is a romantic affectation from the nineteenth century; I believe.
Bellie - on 10 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin: Lets not forget the easy one.... 'Cumbria' county has only existed since 1974
Al Evans on 10 May 2013
In reply to marsbar: I remember Mardale being exposed, I was sent there by ITV news to cover it, it was great, we got a helicopter.
August West on 10 May 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> it was great, we got a helicopter.

You lazy git. [Insert appropriate smiley faces here]

I too remember going there (as a young lad). I've got some photos somewhere...

Billy the fish - on 10 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin:
> People say that there is only one "lake" in Cumbria, Bassenthwaite lake, and that the rest are meres or waters. Not strictly true. As recently as the 19th century, Bassenthwaite lake was called Broadwater.

Brothers Water used to be called Broad Water until it was renamed after two brothers who drowned there in the 19th century.
a lakeland climber on 10 May 2013
In reply to Pete Pozman:
> (In reply to Ghastly Rubberfeet) Note that the Ghyll spelling in Dungeon Ghyll (ie not Gill) is a romantic affectation from the nineteenth century; I believe.

Correct - introduced by Southey and Wordsworth as they believed the Norse derived "gill" to be coarse.

ALC

Carolyn - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Bellie:
> (In reply to mockerkin) Lets not forget the easy one.... 'Cumbria' county has only existed since 1974

And some parts still don't believe it exists....
JCurrie - on 10 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin:
Torpenhow means hillhillhill.
But then readers of Wainwright will know that already.
J
harold walmsley - on 11 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin:
Pedants corner:
People would be wrong to say there is only one "lake" in Cumbria. There are obviously many examples of a "large, landlocked, naturally-occurring stretch of water", which is a pretty decent definition of "lake". Thus the correct answer to the question is actually the one that is intended to be the red herring, i.e. the number of the existing bodies of water that are big enough to be a lake (debateable given Brotherswater, Rydal etc?).

For the answer "one" to be valid, the question would have to ask about "Lakes". As the question is usually verbal, this is not expressed and the multiple answer is not wrong.

Anyway I was brought up in Whitehaven and the most common local usages I encountered there were "Ennerdale Lake" and "Wasdale Lake" so maybe it is only a matter of time until there are more "Lakes" anyway as usage seems to have influenced Bassenthwaite?
Darren Jackson - on 11 May 2013
In reply to mockerkin:

Residents of a well-known west Cumbrian valley recently defeated plans by a dairy giant to rename their village to I Can't Believe It's Not Buttermere.
BarmyAlex118 - on 13 May 2013
In reply to Darren Jackson: BarmyAlex118 likes this :)
Ramblin dave - on 13 May 2013
In reply to harold walmsley:
Agree. Noone would try to claim that the only hills in the Lake District are Loadpot Hill, Wether Hill and Crag Hill and the rest are Pikes, Dodds, Fells, Riggs or whatever.

Now the real question is how many Peaks there are in the Peaks District...
ads.ukclimbing.com
John Workman - on 13 May 2013
In reply to Billy the fish:
> (In reply to mockerkin)
> [...]
>
> Brothers Water used to be called Broad Water until it was renamed after two brothers who drowned there in the 19th century.

I'm guessing that you know this because you are curently living in said Water?


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