Cumbria Archive Service - catalogues and guides - Coroners

Coroners originated in the 12th century (or possibly earlier).  Originally they were royal officers responsible directly to the Crown.  Their main duty was to hold inquests into sudden and unexplained deaths.  Claims relating to treasure trove and wreck were also dealt with.  The coroner was chosen by the county freeholders until 1889, when the county council was given the right to appoint.  Coroners still exist today and perform many of the same duties assigned to them in the 12th century.

Until 2004, Cumbria was divided into four coroners' districts: North (Carlisle); Southern (Kendal); Furness (Barrow) and Western. By the Cumbria (Coroners' Districts) (No. 2) Order 2004, the existing Southern Coroner's District and Furness Coroner's District were amalgamated to form a single coroner's district called the South Cumbria and Furness Coroner's District. It was superseded by the Cumbria (Coroners' Districts) Order 2007 which merged the three Cumbria coroners' districts into two: North and West Cumbria (the administrative areas of Carlisle City Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Copeland Borough Council) and South and East Cumbria (the administrative areas of Barrow in Furness Borough Council, South Lakeland District Council and Eden District Council). 

Due to the sensitive and personal nature of material within coroner's records, researchers are required to contact from H.M. Coroner's Service for Cumbria in order to obtain access to any records dating from the last 75 years. They must supply this permission to the appropriate archive centre before they will be able to see records within this time period.

Local newspapers often contain summaries of local inquests, including more modern ones, and these may be useful to anyone wanting details of a particular inquest.

Links to online catalogues of holdings:

North Cumberland Coroner (1819-1877) 

East Cumberland Coroner (1877-1961)

City of Carlisle Coroner (1873-2007)

Coroners' Inquisitions for the Liberties of Cockermouth and Egremont (1610-1875)

West Cumberland/West Cumbria Coroner (1907-2007) 

Barrow-in-Furness Coroner (1926-1974)

Liberty of Furness Coroner (1926-1974)

District of Furness Coroner (1974-2003) 

Appleby and North Westmorland Coroner (1873-1922)

Kendal and South Westmorland / South Cumbria Coroner (1944-1995)

South Cumbria Coroner (1995-2004)

South Cumbria and Furness District Coroner (2004-2007)

South and East Cumbria and District Coroner (2008-2012)