Peile & Nicholson Directory of Whitehaven 1864


Distington, is a township, parish and large village, consisting chiefly of one long street on the high road from Whitehaven to Workington, 4 ½ miles N. N. E. of the former, and 4 south of the latter town.

The church is an ancient structure, situated on an eminence west of the village, and has a nave, chancel, south porch, and bell turret with two bells; the living is a rectory, worth upwards of £300 per annum, with residence, in the patronage of the Earl of LONSDALE; the Rev. Henry LOWTHER, M. A., is the rector.

Here are chapels for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists, and here is also a parish school. Gilgarran is a hamlet two miles east. In the village is a museum containing many curiosities. The following account is taken form a sketch of Distington and its environs, by X. Y. Z., published in 1851: -

“The Cumberland Museum, situated at Sunny Brow, about half a mile on the Whitehaven side of the village, was established in 1842, by Mr. J. R. WALLACE. In a building erected especially for the purpose, from a design by the proprietor. The style of the building does not belong to any regular order of architecture, but might be described as “Rustic Doric;” it Is 40 feet in length by 20 feet in bredth, and is surrounded by a gallery. The gallery is reached by a beautiful geometrical staircase, which twists round a Saracenic column; it is much admired for its light and elegant simplicity; and is the workmanship of Mr. Robert BELL, an ingenious mechanic and self taught architect, a native of the village. The museum was originally formed in the Isle of Man, in 1835, from materials collected by Mr. J. R. WALLACE, during a voyage to the west Coast of America and the island in the Pacific. It was there much augmented, both by presents and purchases, but as it did not receive an adequate degree of support, owing to the indifference manifested by the Islanders generally, towards everything having an intellectual character, it was…

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