Bernice in Abbey St, Carlisle

At lunchtime I went straight to Abbey Street. I didn’t use a map but my feet took me there. Maybe someone was helping me! All the houses looked just as they would have been when little two year old Georgiana toddled along there holding her mother’s hand. Things haven’t changed much since the 19th Century.

The stone sets are still the original ones that her tiny feet must have walked on, on the way to the market square just around the corner. Abbey Street nestles literally in the shadow of the great cathedral so the sound of the choir singing and the bells must have been part of the everyday sounds for G and her family in those early days before they moved into their new home at Crosby Lodge.

The street is one of the oldest in the city and is the joining walkway from the castle to the cathedral. There’s a noisy new dual carriageway at the bottom of the street now that separates it from the castle but in the 1800s there would have been nothing but a grassy dip where the moat once was. So tiny G had a huge Norman castle on one side of her house, a great cathedral on the other and the busy centre of a market town just around the corner.

I walked around to the back of the houses to see what was the fourth side of the square for little Georgiana in her earliest environment. I found an amazing view out over the city and onto the wild, beautiful moors and fells of Cumbria. Time to return to the CRO for more research but it occurred to me that, until she was about three, Georgiana’s young life was tightly encircled by religion, history, culture, power, commerce and some of the most beautiful scenery in England.

The archivists at the CRO haven’t been able to find out which house belonged to the Kennedy family. I took photographs of every house just in case!

The excitement certainly isn’t over yet. We’ve been invited to Crosby Lodge this evening to meet Patricia Sedgewick who owns the house that was originally built for the young Mr and Mrs Kennedy by Georgiana’s grandmother , who lived at the much grander Crosby House. I’m actually going to the house where Georgiana lived as a child and a young woman. More later from me!


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