About Cumbrian Lives

Cumbrian Lives, or the Dictionary of Cumbrian Biography (DCB), is an online record of the men and women who have been significant in Cumbrian history and culture from the time of the Romans to the 21st century.  For the purposes of the project, the boundaries of Cumbria are the same as those imposed in 1974, when Cumberland and Westmorland were amalgamated with the area known as ‘Lancashire over the Sands’ and the area near Sedbergh and Dent in Yorkshire.   

This website and the accumulated data within it, represent work in progress.  In due course we aspire to publish here the majority of the lives listed on the biographical index.  At present, most of the data for each selected person takes the form of brief biographical notes, arranged alphabetically, followed by a concise bibliography, where available. By the time of the launch of the website in July 2022, the team had produced 97 full length lives in the manner of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. This work continues.

A further aim is to locate and publish a portrait engraving or photograph of each subject.  Many of the original images on this website were located by Stephen White and are used by permission of the Jackson Library, Carlisle.

We would welcome the addition of names, brief biographies and bibliographical material to the long list of Cumbrians: see Index.  Also we would be delighted to hear from potential contributors keen to research and write complete ODNB style biographies. Those written to date may be found under the heading Lives.

Please contact the editor in advance to avoid duplication of effort: see Lives.

For thee, who mindful of th’unhonour’d Dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall enquire thy fate,

Thomas Gray: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)
(The last line appears on the memorial to Musgrave Lewthwaite Watson in Carlisle cathedral. He is buried in Highgate cemetery, London.)