Today is   Last update 23-11-2017

Registration of your email address will allow you to sign up to email lists as well as access member only areas such as recent Transactions.

There are now three mailing lists you can join to be kept up to date with Society Information and Activities. Click on the button below to sign up.

Current Newsletter

Members can now download an electronic version of the Newsletter.

150 Years

You can still access the 150 year page where there are photos of events as well as viewable versions of all posters used.


You can now join or renew your membership on line using PayPal, simply click on the button below to go to the membership page

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Cumbria Map
Map Of Cumbria
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Cumbria as defined Post- 1974. The CWAAS 4 Affiliated Groups meet in the 4 places named.

For further details of the Affiliated Groups please click the following link.

Focus on Heritage

Morland, Medieval grave slab
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Click the button below for more details on the Society Committees.

Research and Grants

We help to foster research on Cumbria’s past through Grant Aid for widely-differing Cumbrian projects, and (for people under 25 years) the Clare Fell Bursary Fund. In addition all CWAAS Committees are widely involved in heritage matters throughout Cumbria, making their expertise available in many ways.

Dated Structures

This panel will highlight some of the pictures collected as part of the Datestones and Date Structures project that was started in 2007. Click on the read more button below for more details.

Allithwaite    Photo by  Margaret Edwards. Click on this image for a larger version.

Allithwaite Photo by Margaret Edwards
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Cumbria Research

Interested in aspects of Cumbria researched in universities in the last ten years or so? A fascinating list!


This site is designed to work best in the latest browers. If you are experiencing problems or for more technical details please click the Read More button below.

Our Publications

Wartime Cumbria 1939-1945

Wartime Cumbria 1939-1945

"a very thorough and well-documented account of a troubled time . . . an important contribution to the history of the county", Cumberland Times

Exploring Antiquities and Archaeology in the North West

Exploring Antiquities and Archaeology in the North West

The Cockermouth Congregational Church Book

The Cockermouth Congregational Church Book

Kendal, Part IV: 1606-1631 <br />(Marriages & Burials)

Kendal, Part IV: 1606-1631
(Marriages & Burials)

John Denton’s History of Cumberland - only a few copies left. More ...

Welcome to Cumbria Past

May walk 2016. Muncaster Castle, south front. Photo Trevor Grahamslaw.. Click on this image for a larger version.
May walk 2016. Muncaster Castle, south front. Photo Trevor Grahamslaw.
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It’s good to have you with us on the Home Page of Cumbria Past, the CWAAS website. Cumbria Past: an up-to-date name for the website of an up-to-date Society interested in Cumbria's past - its history, landscape and archaeology. And behind the website is the CWAAS, the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, founded in 1866 and keeping the traditional name alive, although the territory changed in 1974 and was also given a new name (see caption to map top left). Quite a challenge for a Society!

CWAAS Early Days
Three Shires Stone
Three Shires Stone

EARLY DAYS An insight into our Society, founded 1866, and into the age itself! Illustrated snippets taken from Proceedings, for many years part of the Transactions.

You want adventure? How about this, in 1889?

You want adventure?
How about this, in 1889?

'Next morning the members were seated in five char-a-bancs at eight o'clock....... The solitary hill farm, Fell Foot, was reached shortly before ten o'clock, and here the first halt was made.....From this point everybody had to walk up the sinuous road over Wrynose....... The party, both ladies and gentlemen, began the long tussle with the difficulties of the 1250 feet climb to the top of Wrynose Pass with light hearts..... How anyone can reasonably expect such steep mountain tracks to be safely traversed by heavy carriages passes belief. There are sharp drops of one in three, and breakneck turns in both passes which careful folk would only face on fell ponies.....'


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We enjoy exploring, reading about and researching Cumbria's varied and rich historical and archaeological heritage. Cumbria offers prehistoric circles and stone axe factories; Roman military sites a-plenty; Saxon and Viking antiquities such as Bewcastle Cross in the far north east of the county and Gosforth Cross in the mid-west; pele towers and castles which tell of Border raids and turbulent medieval days; and evidence of a later more peaceful existence - in the numerous parish churches and gracious houses. Seafaring and diverse industries have played a major role in Cumbria's development and there is much of both available to be explored. (P.S. We also venture farther afield!)


We publish a Newsletter three times a year.

The current (Autumn 2017) contents include:

  • Cover story. Turma: Hadrian's Cavalry Charge at Carlisle
  • Cymry in the North: The North Britons from the Sixth century to the Tenth
  • The Library of Canon Henry Hutton (c.1607-1655): An exhibition in the Cathedral Fratry, September 2017
  • Cumbria Vernacular Buildings Group
  • Telling it Like it Was
  • Morecambe Bay fishing oral history project wins national award
  • Rusland Horizons Mapped History Project
  • 'Every window tells a story': John Gandy of St Helena
  • The Kendal Flood of 1954
  • Woodlands in the Lake District and their Management
  • World Heritage Status for the Lake District
  • VCH Cumbria Project update
  • and more ....
Newsletter front page
New Items

Saturday 7th April 2018, Tullie House Carlisle


Cardiff University, 30th April - 1st May.

'Barbara dressed to make calls' by Edith


Cardiff University, 30th April - 1st May.

'Barbara dressed to make calls' by Edith


University of Cumbria, Carlisle, 28th April 2018.  Only a few places are now left.


Saturday 28th April 2018. The lived Experience of Women in Roman Cumbria


A new book edited by Keith J. Stringer and Angus J.L. Winchester.


CWAAS joins national set-up See new EARLY DAYS snippet

Burlington House, headquarters of the Society of Antiquaries of London.



The CUMBRIA COUNTY HISTORY TRUST has CWAAS support. Its website includes latest project news and excellent Gallery. See aquatints from West's 'Guide to the Lakes' (1796) and illustr. from W.G. Collingwood's 1932 'The Lake Counties', eg Mardale below..

Mardale image
Newsletter Extracts

This panel will feature extracts from old newsletters which will change on a regular basis.

Lancashire over Sands records distances over sands. Click on this image for a larger version.
Lancashire over Sands records distances over sands
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