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Even by 1835 Whitehaven was still the fifth placed port, with 443 ships registered, but by the end of the 19th century only 68 vessels were registered.During the 19th century the port of Whitehaven was overtaken by Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow, as they had better deep water dock facilities, and were closer to large centres of population and industry.The area was settled by Irish-Norse Vikings in the 10th century.

By 1685, there were ships regularly bringing tobacco from the British colonies of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania in America, and by the early 18th century about 10% of England's tobacco imports passed through Whitehaven.This included the small fishing village of Whitehaven.Following Henry VIII's dissolution of the priory in 1539, ownership of this estate passed through a number of secular landlords until it passed into the hands of the Lowther family in the 17th century.Sir James Lowther, 4th Baronet FRS (1673–1755) continued the work of his father and reputedly became the richest commoner in England.Between 17, over £46,000 was spent to extend the Lowther holdings of land and coal royalties in West Cumberland.

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