Maryport is a town and civil parish in the Allerdale borough of Cumbria, England. Historically in Cumberland, it is located on the A596 road 6 miles (10 kilometres) north of Workington, and is the southernmost town on the Solway Firth. The town of Silloth is to the north on the B5300 coast road, which passes through the villages of Allonby, Mawbray, Beckfoot, and Blitterlees. The county town of Carlisle lies 28 mi (45 km) to the north-east. Maryport railway station is on the Cumbrian Coast Line. The town is in the parliamentary constituency of Workington. Maryport lies at the northern end of the former Cumberland Coalfield.
The town was established around AD 122 as one of several Roman localities called Alauna. It was a command and supply base for the coastal defences at the western extremity of Hadrian’s Wall. The town contains substantial remains of the Roman fort, which was the last in a series that stretched southwards along the coast from the wall to prevent it being avoided by crossing the Solway Firth. Geomagnetic surveys have revealed a large Roman town surrounding the fort. An archaeological dig discovered evidence of an earlier, larger fort next to, and partially under the present remains. After the Roman withdrawal from Britain the town was reduced in size and importance.
On Castle Hill are the earthworks and buried remains of a 12th-century motte-and-bailey castle. On the summit are the foundations of a World War II gun emplacement.
To the north are the ruins of Netherhall Estate. The only remains of this once grand manor are stables and a 14th-century Peel Tower, formerly part of a large house of later date which was demolished in 1979 following a fire.
For many years the town was named Ellenfoot but the name was changed by Humphrey Senhouse as he began developing the town as a port, following the example of Whitehaven. In 1749 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the creation of the present town. Humphrey Senhouse named the new town after his wife Mary. The Senhouse family were landowners in the area and responsible for the development of the town and excavation of its Roman past. The family also had interests in the West Indies. In 1770, Humphrey Senhouse’s son, William, was appointed Surveyor General of Customs in Barbados where he purchased a sugar plantation and managed another for Sir James Lowther of Whitehaven. William’s brother, Joseph, had a coffee plantation in Dominica. Both men were considerable slave-owners.