Cumbrian Urban Legends

Growing up in Cumbria isn’t complete without the collections of myths and stories we hear about the local area. Read on as we take a closer look at some of the most famous Cumbrian urban legends.

With a local area that is so connected with history, it is no surprise we have oodles of urban legends that spread through the masses like wildfire. From devil-worshippers to a mythical creature,  you are about to discover the dark and sometimes hilarious history of Cumbria that you won’t learn in school.

The Tizzie-Whizie        

The Tizzie-Whizie was first spotted by a boatman in Bowness around 1900. Tizzie-Whizies are shy, water-loving creatures that apparently have the body of a hedgehog, the tail of a squirrel and the wings of a bee. Apparently, the creature has a faint cry and boatmen used to organise 'hunting trips' for tourists.

In 1906, a Tizzie-Whizie was seemingly captured and photographed. The creature is said to have been struggling and squealing as it was rushed to Louis Herbert's Photographic Studio, opposite St Martin's Church. The photographer calmed it down with some warm milk and morsels of ginger biscuit and took this immortal portrait of the Tizzie-Whizie. Then, it jumped off his table and flew out of the window to regain its freedom. Never to been seen again.

Walney is sinking

I am sure we have all heard the story that in fifty years, Walney will be underwater. Maybe you were told it sinks an inch a year or is smaller than it used to be but unfortunately, this is not the case. There is an argument for the effect that global warming could have on the low-lying island, but currently, Walney is here to stay.

Furness Abbey

Understandably there have been at least three ghosts with numerous sightings at Furness Abbey in Barrow. First it was reported that the spirit of a monk had been seen climbing a staircase and also possibly walking towards the gatehouse before vanishing into a wall. Creepy right? Another sighting, this time of a squire's daughter has an entire tale behind it.

She was known for meeting her lover at the ruined abbey after the Reformation, but one day her partner took a journey out to sea from which he never returned. It is thought that the girl went back to the Abbey every day until her death to take in the site she and her partner once loved, the track she walked is today still known as ‘My Lady's Walk.’ There have also been many sightings of a white lady, although due to possible conflicting stories, it is unknown whether the White lady and the ghost of the squire's daughter are the same person or not.

The most famous ghost of Furness Abbey is a headless monk on horseback, who rides underneath the sandstone arch near the Abbey Tavern, this death of this individual is linked to an invasion by the Scots in 1316.

The Devil’s Armchair

The Devil's Armchair in Ulverston is an ambiguous chair that appears to have been carved in to a small rocky terrain, which is used for climbing, near Hoad monument. No one knows whether the seat is natural or not, but that’s what makes it so interesting.


Another secret creature of Bowness, is the hilariously named Bownessie. The unidentified creature apparently resembles the Loch Ness Monster from Scotland, but at least now don’t have to take a trip to Scotland to spot a legendary beast. Whether driftwood, a dinosaur or a just a huge lie – it is said that Bowness was spotted on the southern end of the lake, so get your binoculars out and I’ll see you there.

Devil worshippers in Birkrigg Common

The stone circle at the south-east part of Birkrigg Common is named ‘The Druids Temple’ and is apparently a base of operations for those who practise shamanism, astral spirituality, occultism and Satanism. The twelve, bronze-age stones have been vandalised many times over the years and are believed to be home to great magical connection.

So, there you have it a selection of some of our local stories and urban legends. This is by no means all of them, and if you know any cool tales or myths we would love to hear from you in the comments.

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