Traditional county of Cumberland
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 11th
970,161 acres
? %
County town Carlisle
Chapman code CUL

Cumberland is one of the 39 historic counties, located in north-western England, .


The traditional county borders Northumberland and County Durham to the east, Westmorland to the south, the Furness part of Lancashire to the south-west, Dumfriesshire to the north and Roxburghshire to the north-east.

The traditional county town is Carlisle and much of the Lake District is geographically located in Cumberland. It includes the lakes of Bassenthwaite Lake, Buttermere, Crummock Water, Derwent Water, Ennerdale Water, Loweswater, Ullswater, Thirlmere and Wastwater.

The highest point of the county is Scafell Pike, which at 978 m (3,208 ft) is also the highest mountain in England.


Early history

The county was administratively divided into five wards, rather than the hundreds found in most English counties. The wards are:

Arms of the former Cumberland County Council
Status: Administrative county
HQ: Carlisle
Created: 1889
Abolished: 1974
Succeeded by: Cumbria

Modern history

In 1889, under the Local Government Act 1888, a county council was created to administer the ancient county of Cumberland. The Local Government Act 1894 further divided the county into urban districts and rural districts.

Carlisle was created a county borough ie: one outside the control of the county council in 1915.

The Local Government Act 1972 abolished the administrative county of Cumberland in 1974 and it was then combined with Westmorland and parts of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire to form the new non-metropolitan county of Cumbria.


The name continues in use as a geographical and cultural term, and survives in Cumberland sausages and various organisations and companies, such as the local newspapers The Cumberland News, and The West Cumberland Times and Star, and the Cumberland Building Society.

In June 1994, during the 1990s UK local government reform, the Local Government Commission published draft recommendations , suggesting as one option a North Cumbria unitary authority, whose southern boundary would broadly match that of Cumberland's historic boundary. It also suggested that Cumberland could be reinstated as an independent ceremonial county. The final recommendations, published in October 1994, did not include such recommendations, apparently due to lack of expression of support for the proposal to the commission.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Grass-of-Parnassus as the county flower.

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Counties that originate prior to 1889

Bedfordshire | Berkshire | Buckinghamshire | Cambridgeshire | Cheshire | Cornwall | Cumberland | Derbyshire | Devon | Dorset | Durham | Essex | Gloucestershire | Hampshire | Herefordshire | Hertfordshire | Huntingdonshire | Kent | Lancashire | Leicestershire | Lincolnshire | Middlesex | Norfolk | Northamptonshire | Northumberland | Nottinghamshire | Oxfordshire | Rutland | Shropshire | Somerset | Staffordshire | Suffolk | Surrey | Sussex | Warwickshire | Westmorland | Wiltshire | Worcestershire | Yorkshire

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