The Sociology of an English Village: Gosforth

The Sociology of an English Village: Gosforth

The Sociology of an English Village: Gosforth

The Sociology of an English Village: Gosforth

Excerpt

The civil parish of Gosforth, covering an area of just over eleven square miles, lies on the western fringe of the Lakeland fells of Cumberland. About two miles from its western boundary is the Irish Sea, while to the north and east stand the moorlands and peaks of Copeland Forest and Eskdale, uninhabited save for hardy flocks of Herdwick sheep. The landscape of the parish reflects its position between the Lakeland hills and the undulating coastal plain, which extends from Millom in the extreme south of the county to Carlisle in the north. The southern half of Gosforth is a gently undulating plain rarely rising above 150 feet: the northern portion forms the seaward face of the western fells and the land rises north and north-east to over 900 feet on Bleng Fell and Hollow Moor. In common with all the western dales there are no sharp peaks, and the one valley which bisects the moorland is narrow and steep-sided, with a small development of flat land on the valley bottom through which runs the River Bleng.

Apart from a narrow belt of alluvium along both sides of the lower stretches of the Bleng, the 200-foot contour divides the parish roughly into a southern lowland of New Red Sandstone and a northern upland of andesite, with a small area of granite on the highest portion of Hollow Moor.

The intermediate position of the parish is also evident in its area, and in the size and distribution of its population. In Cumberland as a whole, small parishes with a relatively high density of population are typical of the lowlands and the North, while the moorlands are characterized by very large parishes with a few scattered farmsteads and cottages. Gosforth is much larger than the average coastal parish and much smaller than the fell parish. Moreover in many of the smaller parishes the population is concentrated almost entirely in nucleated settlements, while the inhabitants of the fell parishes live mainly in isolated farms. In Gosforth nearly two-thirds of the people live in the village, and . . .

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