ALLONBY

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CUMBERLAND

“Why droops my Flower of Allerdale
So sad, so pensive, and so pale;
Whence the tear that dims thine eye —
That downcast look and frequent sigh
The breeze of ALLONBY shall bring
Back to thy cheek the rose of Spring.”

THE banks of the Solway are much frequented during the summer months by
families from the interior, who resort thither for the benefit of sea bathing, which great
importance is attached as a preventive, no less than a curative, process in the economy
of health. Among the various localities selected for this enjoyment, Allonby bears a
long-established reputation, and is annually resorted to by many families of distinction
and respectability, from both sides of the Channel, who seek, in the invigorating air
of the sea, the pleasures of social intercourse, and in the delicious walks and drives
with which the coast abounds, the restoration of health or temporary relaxation from
business. Several of the distinguished public characters of the day have here spent the
recesses of Parliament, and found in the tranquillizing atmosphere of Allonby a safe
remedy for the enervating influence of the capital, and the cares and irritations of public
life. It was long a favorite resort of the Scottish gentry, and still maintains a degree of
pre-eminence as an attractive watering-place. The accommodation at the hotels is
excellent, and they are furnished with every convenience for hot -baths.

Allonby is only five miles from Maryport, and ten from Wigton, and is flanked
by a fine undulating country, celebrated as a field for rural sports, and industriously
cultivated by a numerous and thriving population. The village itself is small, its
permanent inhabitants being considerably under a thousand, most of who depend
upon the annual visitors, and a share in the herring-fishery, for the means of life. The
latter, however, has become much less productive than formerly ; the herrings are
very capricious in their visits, and, according to Hutchinson, after continuing the same
annual track for ten years, change their route, and only resume their visit after an
interval of ten years. In this respect, says our authority, they are as regular as the tides
or the vicissitudes of the seasons: but, as annual “customers” for the net, these savoury
visitors are not to be depended upon; and although, like Owen Glendower, the anxious
fisherman may call up “spirits from the vasty deep,” the question is, will they come ?

Allonby has the benefit of good assembly-rooms, a reading-room, a free
school, and two other dally schools; and here too that exemplary body of men — the
Quakers — who are numerous and influential in this county, have a meeting-house.
The character of these dissenters from the Established Church is generally praise
worthy; and in this part of Cumberland, where they have long been established, their
reputation as a moral, peaceable, and industrious community, is established by the daily
evidence of facts and the testimony of all who have enjoyed their intimate and personal
intercourse. The Society of Friends — such as they are in this district — bear a closer
resemblance to those primitive Christians secluded among the Alps of Piedmont than
to any other religious body with which we are acquainted.

Allonby enjoys the honour of having given birth, in 1741, to Captain Joseph
Huddart, of the Royal Society, a man of great scientific acquirements, and eminent
as a naval engineer and hydrographer. The patronage of the chapel founded here by
the Rev. Dr. Thomlinson, and consecrated in the eventful year 1745, is vested in the
representatives of that distinguished churchman. The Gill, a seat of the Reay family;
West Newton, the ancient residence of the Musgraves ; Langrigg Hall, the fortalice
of the Barwis family, are among the domestic relics of the “olden time,” which give an
interesting character to this district. But, with the fall of that despotism from which they
rose, these feudal mansions have been left to decay, except in a few instances where
the progress of dilapidation has been arrested by the taste of the proprietor, and the
Border tower of his ancestors preserved as a landmark to indicate the vast progress
which has been effected since then in all the departments of civilized life. Crookdake
Hall, celebrated as the residence of “the worthy warrior, Adam of Crookdake,” is now
a farm-house; and in the very court, probably, where the knight and his retainers once
donned their mail for the onslaught, or displayed their booty after a successful raid
across the “marches,” the spectator sees only the homely instruments of domestic
husbandry, where the sword is literally “converted to a ploughshare, and the spear to a
pruning-hook.”

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