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ALSTON, a market-town in the Penrith parliamentary division of Cumberland, England, 29 m. by road E.S.E. of Carlisle, on a branch of the North-Eastern railway from Haltwhistle. Pop. (1901) 3133. It lies in the uppermost part of the valley of the South Tyne, among the high bleak moors of the Pennines. Copper and blende are found, and there are limestone quarries. The mines of argentiferous lead, belonging to Greenwich Hospital, London, were formerly of great value, and it was in order that royalties on the Alston lead mines and on those elsewhere in the county might be jointly collected that the parish was first included within the borders of Cumberland, in the 18th century. As many as 119 lead mines were worked in the parish in 1768, but the supply of metal has been almost exhausted. Coal is worked chiefly for lime-burning, and umber is prepared for the manufacture of colours. Thread and flannels are also made. Whitley Castle, 2 m. N., was a Roman fort, the original name of which is not known, guarding the road which ran along the South Tyne valley and over the Pennines. It has no connexionwith Alston itself.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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