Wigton

Street Map

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Wigton is a small market town and civil parish outside the Lake District, in the administrative county of Cumbria in England, and traditionally in Cumberland. It is the bustling and thriving centre of the Solway Plain, situated between the Caldbeck Fells and the Solway coast. It is served by Wigton railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line, and the A596 road to Workington and (via the A595 road) to Carlisle.

On the Wiza and Wampool becks (dialect word meaning “brook” or “stream” – from the Old Norse bekkr), the Market town of Wigton is an ancient settlement and evolved from a pre-medieval street plan, which can still be traced today.

The Romans had a cavalry station, Maglona, known locally as “Old Carlisle”, just to the south of the town with a large Vicus (civilian settlement) associated with it. Wigton was in existence by 1100AD when it became a Norman barony gaining its market charter in 1262. Although the town’s layout is generally medieval, its architectural style is Georgian which remains largely intact.

In the middle of Wigton’s market place is the George Moore Memorial Fountain built in 1872, of particular interest are the four bronzes around the fountain, the work of the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner. These depict the “four acts of mercy”. St. Mary’s Church dates from 1788, but there was a church on this site from the 12th century.

The appearance of the church owes much to the vision of Rev. John Ford (father of the broadcaster Anna Ford) in the 1950s when he had gravestones laid flat and the interior painted in the present colours. A novelty not to be missed is Highmoor Bell tower – built during the Industrial revolution and completed in 1887 – it played tunes three times daily.

Wigton today is a thriving market town, with livestock auctions being held regularly at Hopes Auction Company. The main employer is Innovia Films.

In 2004 the town was the first settlement in the United Kingdom to enforce a curfew on teenagers under the age of 16 It was in place for two weeks, and its aim was to reduce the amount of vandalism in the town centre. It followed nightly vandalism campaigns, which included smashed shop fronts, as well as intimidation of elderly members of the community. The curfew attracted national attention, with the local secondary school receiving visits from agencies such as Sky News. It had some effect, with less vandalism taking place ever since.

Wigton’s principal employer is the Innovia Factory (locally known as The Factory), in the centre of the town.

In 1936 the British New Wrap Co Ltd was formed in Wigton, Cumbria and production of cellulose film began at the site which had previously been a jam-making facility, and then set up to produce “artificial silk” or Rayon. In 1936 the company changed its name to British Rayophane Ltd.  It still operates in specialist plastic fields.

Wigton is also home to:

  • Reays Coaches is based in Wigton and employs around 200 staff.
  • VV Rouleaux, supplier of ribbons and tie-backs, operates its only UK warehouse in Wigton.
Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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