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placename:- Eagle Crag
parish Borrowdale parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
coordinates:- NY276121
10Km square:- NY21

1Km square NY2712


Eagle Crag -- Borrowdale -- Cumbria / -- 3.4.2006

source:- Martineau 1855

Guide book, A Complete Guide to the English Lakes, by Harriet Martineau, published by John Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, and by Whittaker and Co, London, 1855; published 1855-71.
Page 152:-
... Here also, in a very high and perpendicular rock called Eagle Crag, is every year an eyrie or nest of eagles." ...
Page 153:-
... this was one of their last haunts. The eagles which gave their name to the crag in Borrowdale, being disturbed, settled themselves on a rock at Seathwaite, and at length crossed the ridge into Eskdale. The disturbance was of course from the shepherds, who lost so many lambs as to be driven desperate against the birds. There was no footing on the crag by which the nest could be reached; so a man was lowered by a rope sixty yards
Page 154:-
down the precipice. He carried his mountain staff with him; its spiked end being the best weapon against the birds. He did not expect to kill the old ones; but year after year the eggs or the young were taken. If he brought the young away alive he had the birds for his pains: if the eggs, every shepherd gave five shillings for every egg. It is said that no more than two eggs were ever found at one time. The nest was made of twigs, and lined with a sort of grass from the clefts of the rock. When the fowler failed, and the eaglets were reared, they were led away, as soon as strong enough, by the parent birds,- no doubt to settle in some other spot; and the parents returned without them. One of this pair was shot at by the master of a sheep dog which had been actually carried some distance into the air by it, escaping only by its flesh giving way. The shot took effect, but the eagle vanished. About a week after, it was found lying on the grass on the uplands at Seatoller, nearly starved. Its bill had been split by the shot, and. the tongue was set fast in the cleft: it could not make much resistance, and was carried home captive. But, when relieved and restored, it became so violent that it was necessarily killed. Its mate brought a successor from a distance, a much smaller bird, and of a different species. They built, however, for fourteen more years in Borrowdale, before they flew over to Eskdale. They were not long left in peace there; and, when the larger bird was at length shot, his mate disappeared entirely. Such devastation as was caused by these birds is not heard of now; but while there are
Page 155:-
crags aloft and lambs in the vales, there will be more or fewer, nobler or meaner, birds of prey. We are unable to ascertain positively, amidst conflicting testimony, whether any eagles at all remain in the region. It appears that one has certainly been seen within ten years; and three gentlemen, two of whom are travelled men, and not likely to be mistaken in such a matter, declare that, four years ago, they saw one sweep down from Scandale Fell into Kirkstone Pass, and rest on a crag in the vale, some way above Brothers' Water. There is, however, a preponderance of disbelief of there being now any nest and settlement of eagles among the mountains of Westmorland and Cumberland.
person:- shepherd
date:- 1855
period:- 19th century, late; 1850s

old map:- Ford 1839 map

Map of the Lake District, published in A Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, 1839.
thumbnail FD02NY21, button to large image
Eagle Crag
Hill hachuring.

placename:- Eagle Crag
county:- Cumberland
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

old map:- West 1784 map

A Map of the Lakes in Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire, now Cumbria, scale about 3.5 miles to 1 inch, engraved by Paas, 53 Holborn, London, included in the Guide to the Lakes by Thomas West, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Westmorland, and in London, from the 3rd edition 1784, to 1821.
image Ws02NY21, button   goto source.
thumbnail Ws02NY21, button to large image

placename:- Eagle Crag
county:- Cumberland

descriptive text:- West 1778 (11th edn 1821)

Guide book, A Guide to the Lakes, by Thomas West, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Cumbria once Westmorland, and in London, 1778 to 1821.
image WS21P097, button   goto source.
Page 97:- On the front of the first [Eagle Crag], the bird of Jove has his annual nest [2], which the dalesmen are careful to rob,
[2] Or in more poetical terms,
   Here his dread seat the royal bird hath made, / To awe th'inferior subjects of the shade, / Secure he built it for a length of days / Imprevious, but to Phoebus' piercing rays; / His young he trains to eye the solar light, / And soar beyond the fam'd Icarian flight.- Killarney.
image WS21P098, button   goto source.
Page 98:-
but not without hazard to the assailant, who is let down from the summit of this dreadful rock, by a rope of twenty fathoms, or more, and who is obliged to defend himself from the attacks of the parent bird during his descent. The devastation made on the fold in the breeding season, by one eyrie, is computed at a lamb a day, besides the carnage made on the ferae natura. ...
image WS21P205, button   goto source.
Addendum; Mr Gray's Journal, 1769
Page 205:-
... The wood of the mountains increases [south of Grange], and their summits grow loftier to the eye, and of more fantastic forms; among them appear Eagle's-cliff, Dove's-nest, Whitedale pike, &c. celebrated in the annals of Keswick. ...

placename:- Eagle's Cliff
date:- 1769; 1778
period:- 18th century, late; 1760s; 1770s

old print:- Jenkinson 1875

Guide book, A Practical Guide to the English Lake District, by Henry Irwin Jenkinson, published by Edward Stanford, 55 Charing Cross, London, 4th edition 1875.
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Print, lithograph, outline view, Panoramic Sketches from Skiddaw, Cumberland, by Edwin A Pettitt, London, published by Edward Stanford, 55 Charing Cross, London, 1875.
... Eagle Crag ...
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Print, lithograph, outline view, Panoramic Sketches from Scawfell Pike, Cumberland, by Edwin A Pettitt, London, published by Edward Stanford, 55 Charing Cross, London, 1875.
... Eagle Crag ...

placename:- Eagle Crag
date:- 1875
period:- 19th century, late

old print:- Rose 1832-35 (vol.3 no.32)

Engravings - Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland Illustrated; from drawings by Thomas Allom, George Pickering, and H Gastineau, described by Thomas Rose, published by H Fisher, R Fisher, and P Jackson, Newgate Street, London, 1832-35.
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Print, uncoloured engraving, Eagle Crag from Rosthwaite, Borrowdale, Cumberland, drawn by Thomas Allom, engraved by J Sands, published by Fisher, Son and Co, London, 1832-35.
vol.3 pl.32 in the set of prints, Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland Illustrated.
printed at bottom left, right, centre:-

placename:- Eagle Crag
date:- 1832=1835
period:- 19th century, early

old print:- Housman 1800

thumbnail PR0477, button to large image
Print, uncoloured engraving, Stonethwaite, and Eagle Crag, Borrowdale, drawn by IW, engraved by R Scott, published by F Jollie, Carlisle, Cumberland, 1800.
Taken from a guide book, A Descriptive Tour, and Guide to the Lakes, Caves and Mountains, by John Housman, 1800, 5th edn 1812.
printed at bottom left, right, centre:-
I.W. delint. / R. Scott sculpt. / Stonethwaite, and Eagle Crag, Borrowdale

placename:- Eagle Crag
date:- 1800
period:- 19th century, early

old print:- Tattersall 1836 (version 1869)

thumbnail TAT209, button to large image
Print, hand coloured, Borrowdale, from near Rosthwaite, Cumberland, drawn by George Tattersall, 1836, engraved by W F Topham, published by T J Allman, 463 Oxford Street, London, 1869.
Included in The Lakes of England, by W F Topham.
printed at bottom:-
BORROWDALE, / from near Rosthwaite
printed at bottom:-
Borrowdale Fells. / Helvellyn. / Eagle Crag. / Stonethwaite. / Stonethwaite Fells. / Glaramara.

placename:- Eagle Crag
date:- 1836
period:- 19th century, early

old print:- Rowbotham 1875

Set of prints, Views in the English Lake District, by T L Rowbotham, published by Marcus Ward and Co, London? 1875?
thumbnail LF1E07, button to large image
Print, chromograph, Eagle Crag, Borrowdale, Cumberland, by T L Rowbotham, published by Marcus Ward and Co, 67-68 Chandos Street, Covent Garden, London, and Belfast, 1875.
Tipped in opposite p.66 of English Lake Scenery, by W J Loftie.
printed at lower right:-
T L Rowbotham
printed at lower left:-
date:- 1875
period:- 19th century, late

old print:-
thumbnail PR0578, button to large image
Print, hand coloured engraving, Eagle Crag at the Head of Borrowdale, Westmoreland, should be Cumberland, drawn by Ramsay Richard Reinagle, engraved by John Pye, published 1850s?
A fisherman in the foreground.
printed at bottom left, right, centre:-
Drawn by R. R. Reinagle A.R.A. / Engraved by John Pye / EAGLE CRAG at the head of BORROWDALE, WESTMORELAND.

placename:- Eagle Crag
person:- fisherman
date:- 1850=1859
period:- 19th century, late

hearsay The famous Borrowdale Rope was kept handy in the valley, ready to lower a young man down the crag to steal eggs and fledgling eagles to sell to collectors. Perhaps the high prices had as much to with motivating the theft as fear of eagles taking lambs.

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2008

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©  Martin and Jean Norgate: 2012
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