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Appleby, Westmorland

Historical Description

Appleby, a municipal borough, market-town, and the chief town of Westmoreland, stands on the river Eden, and on the Eden Valley railway, 9¼ miles ENE of Shap, and 13 SE of Penrith. It is 268 miles from London by road, and 276 by the M.R. The town consists of Appleby proper, in the parish of Appleby St Lawrence, on the left bank of the river, and Old Appleby or Bongate, in the parish of Appleby St Michael, on the right bank. It dates from the time of the Romans, and was long a place of similar importance to York. It gave name to a sheriffdom under Edward the Confessor; stood prominent at the Conquest; underwent surprise and demolition by William the Lion, king of Scotland; speedily re-acquired its former strength, and became the seat of a Court of Exchequer; suffered demolition again by the Scots in 1888; recovered but partially from the blow, and was desolated in 1598 by the plague; made a heroic resistance, under the direction of Anne, Countess of Pembroke, to the Parliamentarian army in 1648, but was constrained to yield. It is supposed to have had a length or breadth of at least 2 miles, and the name Burrals, belonging to a township now 1½ mile distant from it, is believed to he a corruption of borough-walls. The town was made a borough by Henry II., and it sent two members to Parliament from the time of Edward I. till disfranchised in 1832. Pitt, the famous prime minister, first sat in Parliament for Appleby, for which place he was returned three times. Appleby is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 11 councillors, under a new charter, which was granted on the 20 July, 1885, extending to the town all the privileges of the Municipal Acts. By this charter the town is divided into two wards, Appleby and Bongate. It is a seat of petty sessions, quarter sessions, and assizes, and is the headquarters of the county militia. But its ancient glory is represented mainly by antiquities and historical associations. The town is supplied with gas and water, and there is an excellent system of sewerage. It is said to have the best trout fishing in the north of England, and the proximity of the Pennine range of mountains attracts a large number of visitors in the summer season.

Appleby proper stands on a hill-slope, with the castle at its head, and the church of St Lawrence at its foot; comprises one main street and three intersecting small ones; and is irregularly built, but contains some good houses. The castle occupies the site of the Roman station Galacum; was built by the Saxons, and rebuilt, in the time of Henry VI., by Lord Clifford; and contains a portrait of the Countess Anne of Pembroke, many other family portraits, some valuable manuscripts, and some interesting old armour. The Church of St Lawrence is an edifice in Late English, chiefly rebuilt by the Countess Anne of Pembroke, and contains tombs of that lady, of her mother, the Countess of Cumberland, and of other Cliffords. The county-hall, in the Main Street, is a large, ancient structure. The market-house, built in 1811, after a design by Smirke, is a handsome Gothic edifice. Queen Elizabeth's Grammar-school contained some curious ancient inscriptions, recording the misfortunes of the town, found here and put up by one of the masters, the friend of Camden, but which liave been removed. It possesses an endowed income of over £200, with exhibitions at Queen's College, Oxford, and has been rebuilt at a cost of about £4000. Countess Anne's Hospital, founded and endowed by the Countess Anne of Pembroke, is a quadrangular building for thirteen aged widows, and has an endowed income of about £800, and there are several other charities. An ancient two-arched bridge spans the Eden, and connects the two sections of the town. The Church of St Michael, about ½ of a mile SE of the town, is a neat edifice, and has been restored at a cost of about £3000. It has tombs of the Hiltons of Murton. A monastery for White Friars, founded in 1281 by Lord Vessey, stood in Bongate, and was given to an ancestor of the Earl of Lonsdale. The town has a post, money order, and telegraph office, two banks, and a weekly newspaper. A weekly market is held on Saturday, and fairs for horses, cattle, and sheep on the second Tuesday and Wednesday in June, and for sheep and cheese on 21 Aug. Thomas de Viteripont of the 13th century, Thomas de Appleby, bishop of Carlisle, Eoger de Appleby, bishop of Ossory, Dr Barn-bridge, archbishop of York, and Dr Christopher Potter, dean of Durham, were natives; and Bedell, bishop of Kilmore, Barlow, bishop of Lincoln, Addison, dean of Liehfield, and Dr Langhorne, the translator of Plutarch, were educated at the grammar school. The population of the borough of Appleby is 1776; acreage, 1852. The civil parish of Appleby St Michael or Bongate includes the part of the town on the right side of the Eden, but also extends into the country. Acreage, 15,521; population, 1458. The ecclesiastical parish of Appleby St Michael has a population of 1160. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle; value, £324. Patron, the Bishop of Carlisle. The parish of Appleby St Lawrence has an area of 6058 acres; population, 1235. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle; value, £332. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle.

Appleby Parliamentary Division, or Nm'th Westmore' land, was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 31,176. The division includes the following parishes:-Ambleside-Ambleside, Applethwaite, Grasmere, Langdales, Rydal and Longhrigg, Troutbeek, Under Millbeck; East Ward- Appleby, Asby, Bongate, Broughs, Brougli Sowerby, Crosby Garrett, Dnfton, Hartley, Hillbeck, Kaber, Kirkby Stephen, Kirkby Thore, Longmartin, Mallerstang, Milbourne, Musgrave (Great), Musgrave (Little), Nateby, Newbiggen, Ormside, Orton, Ravenstonedale, Smardale, Soulby, Stainmoor, Temple Sowerby, Waitby, Warcop, Wharton, Winton; West Ward-Askham, Bampton, Barton, Bolton. Brougham, Cliburn, Clifton, Crosbyravensworth, Kings Meabum, Lowther, Martindale, Morland, Newby, Patterdale, Shap, Sleagill, Sockbridge, Strickland (Great), Strickland (Little), Thrimby, Winder (Low), Yanwath and Eamont Bridge.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyWestmorland 
Poor Law unionEast ward 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Appleby from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Westmorland is available to browse.

CountyNorth Lincolnshire
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Postal districtDN15
Post TownScunthorpe