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Harrington Harbour circa 1800Scarrow is an English name that can be traced as far back as 1550, however its origin is probably Viking (10th century) and is an example of a surname that has been derived from a placename. "Scarrow" in this context has the meaning of hut corner/nook. There are two groupings of the Scarrow name in the UK, one in Cumberland (now part of Cumbria) and the other in Suffolk. Whether they are connected is yet to be determined. This site is about the Cumberland Scarrows.

The Scarrow name was quite prevalent in Cumberland from about 1600 through to late 19th Century. By the early 20th century, the name had all but disappeared from Cumbria.

T Scarrow PortraitFrom the earliest records so far unearthed, it would appear that the Scarrows started out as yeoman in the area of Cumwhitton, south east of Carlisle. These early sources comprise two wills, those of John Scarrow (1599) and Anthony Scarrow (1608) both of Scarrowhill. Of Scarrowhill, the Magna Britannica (Cumberland) states the following:

At Scarrowhill is a freehold estate, which in 1688 belonged to the Scarrows, a family of great antiquity at that place, since extinct, it is now in severalties.

Thomas Dentons Perambulation of Cumberland (1687-88) gives another description of Scarrowhill:

Scarrowhill is a small hamlet in this parish [Cumwhitton], so called from a scarr or rock wheron it stands. The inhabitants here are freeholders. Here dwells a gentleman of that name [Scarrow], who is of an ancient familie, who hath an estate here worth 40li a year.

There is another similarly named Scarrow Hill - a house near Brampton. It was built by the Hall family in 1601. The history of this Scarrow Hill is described in detail here.

The Scarrows gradually migrated north via Wetheral to Carlisle, where Thomas Scarrow ran the White Hart Inn Hotel in Carlisle during the latter part of the 18th Century. Two of his sons, Thomas Junior and John ran several businesses in Carlisle. Thomas Junior in particular left a rich history due to his many wives, trouble with the law and work with the council in Carlisle where he served as an alderman.

SS ExplorerA group of Scarrows also appeared in Cockermouth, including the artist Thomas Scarrow, who was one of Joseph Sutton's circle. Some of these Scarrows made their way to the west coast of Cumberland and into Harrington where they enjoyed careers as master mariners, during the reign of Queen Victoria. This is an era for which many maritime records still exist and it has been possible to compile a detailed history of their careers. Working at sea was a hard life, and sadly all but one died as a result of his occupation.

Into the twentieth century, and one man, Billy Scarrow made such a name for himself as an entertainer in Redcar, that he warrants a whole website to himself. This man is my grandfather.

The original Scarrow's site,, was written about five years ago. This new site is a complete re-write and as of early August 2013 is about 95% complete. The areas still to be written are the section on Carlisle, and the page dealing with how to start with researching mariners.

This site will continue to evolve, so if anyone out there has any related information, please contact me.