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Cottages at Bowness on Solway, Cumberland - geograph-2181162.jpg
Cottages at Bowness-on-Solway
Grid reference: NY223627
Location: 54°57’0"N, 3°13’0"W
Local Government
Council: Carlisle

Bowness-on-Solway is a village of fewer than 100 houses on the Solway Firth separating Cumberland from Dumfriesshire. Bowness is on the south shore, in Cumberland, to the west of the county town, Carlisle. The western end of Hadrian's Wall is a notable tourist attraction, along with beaches and wading birds. The village is part of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


'Bowness' is "a compound of OE [Old English] 'boga', 'bow', and 'næss', or, more probably, ON [Old Norse] 'bogi' and 'nes'. In either case, 'rounded', or bow-shaped headland' ." [1]

Roman era

The start of the Hadrian's Wall Path

The village is situated on the site of the Roman fort called Maia, the second largest on Hadrian's Wall.[2] There was also a small civilian settlement (vicus) outside the south gate of this fort.[2]

St Michael's Church

Built atop what may be the granary for the Roman fort in the 12th century is St Michaels, the parish church.

The two original bells of the church were stolen by border raiders in 1626, accidentally dropping them in the Solway during their flight. In retaliation, the villagers raided Dornock and Middlebie, making off with a new pair of bells. Traditionally, on inception, the vicar of Annan petitions the village's neighbours for the return of his bells.

Solway Junction Railway

In 1869, the Solway Junction Railway was opened between Bowness-on-Solway and Annan in Dumfriesshire, connecting to the Maryport & Carlisle railway.

The construction of the railway necessitated a one-mile iron girder viaduct across the Solway, the remains of which can still be seen. However, numerous problems attended the viaduct. In 1875 and 1881 it was damaged by ice, and by altering sediment-carrying currents it caused nearby Port Carlisle to silt up and lose trade. In turn this resulted in the abandonment of the Port Carlisle to Carlisle railway.

The station building in 1961

In 1914 the railway was restricted to carrying freight only. In 1921 it was closed entirely, and in 1934 the viaduct was demolished.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bowness-on-Solway)


  1. Armstrong, A. M.; Mawer, A.; Stenton, F. M.; Dickens, B. (1950). The place-names of Cumberland. English Place-Name Society, vol.xx. Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 123. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Maia at