Appleby Parishes

  > THE two parishes of St. Lawrence and St. Michael comprise the borough of Appleby, and are situated on opposite sides of the Eden, the former being on the west, and the latter on the east bank of that river. The parish of St. Lawrence is about three and a half miles in length and breadth; contains the townships of Appleby, Burrels, Colby, Drybeck, Hoff, and Scattergate; is bounded on the east by the parish of St. Michael, on the south and southeast by the parishes of Asby and Ormside, on the west by Crosby-Ravensworth and Morland parishes, and on the north by the latter and St. Michael's. The annual value of its lands and buildings is about 8,000, and its rateable value 6,214. 6s.

The parish of St. Michael, or, as it is commonly called, Bongate, is about five miles long and two and a half broad, is bounded on the east by the parishes of Warcop and Romaldkirk, in Yorkshire, on the south by the former and St. Lawrence, and on the west and north by those of Kirby Thore, Marton, and Dufton. It is divided into the townships of Bongate, (which includes Langton), Crackenthorpe, Hilton, and Murton, and its annual value is about 7,000. The arable land in these parishes is generally fertile, and on the banks of the river Eden are many rich pastures and pleasant dwellings.

APPLEBY, the capital of Westmorland, is a small ancient market town and borough, situated on the banks of the Eden, with which noble river nearly the west part of the town is encircled, and distant twenty-four miles N.E. by N. of Kendal, fourteen miles S.E. by E. of Penrith, and 270 N.N.W. of London. The town consists principally of one long street, called Boroughgate, and lies for the most part in the township of Appleby St. Lawrence, and Scattergate; but it was anciently a much larger place than at present, for its buildings extended more than a mile farther south to the village of Burrels, which Dr. Burns says had its name from the Borough Walls, the foundations of which, and other buildings, are said to have been sometimes "ploughed or dug up." Though most antiquaries are agreed that Appleby was once occupied by the Romans, yet this conclusion seems to rest on no better evidence than analogy and conjecture, for no Roman antiquities have ever been discovered here. Camden asserts, from the similarity of the name, that it was the Aballaba, the fourteenth station on the wall1, and his friend Reginald Bainbrig's inscription "Aballaba quam circumfluit Ituna, &c." is grounded on the supposition that the Antonine Itinerary was made in the time of M. Aurelius. "Horsley's opinion too, that the Galacum was at Appleby, is too fanciful and suppositious to admit of sober refutation." "Appleby, like other towns in the kingdom, unquestionably signifies the Apple town, and, that it was a place of importance at an early period, is evident from its giving name to one of the shires into which Edward the Confessor divided the kingdom of Northumberland, as well as from the privileges granted to it by Henry I and II, viz., "freedom from toll, stallage, pontage, and lastage, throughout England, except in the city of London," for which they paid forty marks, privileges similar to those which had been at the same time conferred on the city of York.

In 1176, King William of Scotland surprised the castle and utterly destroyed the town; but it appears that Appleby returned to its former consequence during the reign of Henry II, who imposed a fine of five hundred marks on Gospatric, son of Orme, and smaller sums upon other families in the county. King John, in 1199 renewed the charter of the Henrys, and granted the town or borough to the inhabitants, provided they paid its rent into the exchequer, in equal moieties, at Christmas and Easter. Another charter, similar to that of York, was granted to it by Henry III, in whose reign there was an exchequer here, called Scaccarium de Appleby, and we learn from Bum that it had a mayor and other corporate officers, prior to the year 1240; but in what year it was first under the jurisdiction of a mayor does not appear. In a confirmation charter, granted to the Abbey of Shap, in the second year of the reign of Edward I, is inscribed, Teste Thoma filio Johannis, tunc Vice-comite de Appelby. Express mention is made of the mayor of Appleby in an entry of the register of Wetheral, A.D. 1278. It is therefore evident that the town received a charter of incorporation upwards of six hundred years ago, but it has long been lost or destroyed, so that it is now only a town corporate by prescription. In 1298 it sent its first representative to Parliament and not long before its disfranchisement by the Reform Bill, had three different Prime Ministers to represent it in the House of Commons2. The fee farm rent being allowed to run into an arrear of 60 the town fell to the crown in the reign of Edward II, but, in 1331, was restored, by Edward III, to the burghers, who paid a fee farm rent of 2d. per burgage, which amounted to twenty marks a year, so that there must have been then in the borough 1,600 burgages, or a population of about 8,000, exclusive of the serfs who dwelt in Bongate. But on St. Stephen's day, 1388, when the inhabitants were commemorating the death of the first martyr, the Scots came, and by a second conflagration, destroyed nearly the whole town, which afterwards "lay dismembered and scattered, one street from another, like so many scattered villages; and one could not know but by records that they belonged to the same body." It afterwards answered to inquisitions made in 1516, 1534, and 1550, respecting arrears of its fee farm rent "that though the town since it was last burnt, had been gradually repairing, yet nine parts of it were still in ruins," whereupon the rent was reduced from twenty to two marks per annum. For its firm and inflexible adherence to the royal cause in the reign of Charles I, "Oliver Cromwell imposed upon the town a charter of restrictions, which for a time was enforced by the garrison, but was annulled on the restoration of Charles II, which joyful event was celebrated at Appleby with great solemnity, pomp, and festivity, heightened by the unbounded liberality of the aged Countess of Pembroke, who occupied the castle." She "thought not her gates" says Mr. Machell, "then wide enough to receive her guests, which before had been too wide for receiving armies of soldiers." All the charters that had been previously granted to Appleby, were surrendered in 1685 to James II, who, in the first year of his reign, incorporated the burgesses de novo by the name of mayor, twelve aldermen, and sixteen capital burgesses, of Appleby, with a coroner, sword bearer, serjeant at mace, two chamberlains, and two bailiffs; and that they shall have courts leet, view of frank pledge, fairs, markets, waife, estrays, deodands, goods of felons and fugitives, felo-de-se3, of persons put in exigent and outlawed, and all other things as they had formerly enjoyed, paying the fee farm rent to the king as heretofore; with a restrictive clause that neither the mayor, aldermen, nor any of the burgesses shall interrupt any of the king's justices, sheriffs, or bailiffs, within the borough." In 1687 the same king issued a quo warranto against this as well as several other corporations, whereupon the charter was returned in 1688, and no further one was ever granted. It was, however, declared by royal proclamation that this and their former resignations were never enrolled, so that the borough now subsists as an ancient corporation by prescription, without any written known charter now in use. The common seal has on one side the arms of the town, and on the reverse St. Lawrence laid at length naked, with his hands across, on a gridiron, beneath which is a representation of burning coal. Towards the head is displayed a banner bearing the arms of the borough, and at the feet is an angel receiving in a sheet, a small figure representing the head and uplifted hands of St. Lawrence. The inscription round is Hic jacet Lurencius in craticula positus, and round the seal is inscribed Sigillum communitatis burgi de Appelby. "They have also a small seal which represents the Blessed Virgin crowned, sitting on the throne with the child Jesus at her feet. Underneath a throne is a figure in a suppliant posture, with hands and face uplifted." The inscription round this is Sigillum comwune4 Beatoe Marioe Virginis de Appelby.

In 1726, when Roger de Clifford made claim to the services of the borough under the plea of its being granted to Robert de Veteripont, his ancestor, it was found, "that neither Robert de Veteripont nor any that succeeded him as heir, even5 had seisin of the borough of Appleby in which the burghers dwell; but that King John gave to the said Robert, old Apilby, where the bondsmen dwell, and Burgh under Stainmore, with the appurtenances; which lands King John had in his hands, by reason of the trespass committed by Hugh de Morville. They find also that the said King John gave to the said Robert, the sheriffwick and rent of the county of Westmorland, with the services thereof, and all the tenants of the King, except those that hold by knight's service." They also found "that these burghers only did fealty to the Veteriponts by two bailiffs, chosen out of their own community, so as to be responsible to him for the rent of their borough, as sheriff in fee, and not as lord of the borough. After this success the burgesses began to contend for a title of franchises, as the return of writs and pleas of Witherman, which belonged to the sheriff by jurisdiction; but the sheriff proved that the bailiffs of the town never had this power."

Admiral Sir Richard King was admitted freeman of the borough in 1813, and his Royal Highness Leopold George Frederick, of Saxe Coburg, was admitted to the same privilege in 1819, during the mayoralty of Colonel Lowther. The borough sent two representatives to Parliament, from the 23rd of Edward I, till 1832, when it was disfranchised by the Reform Bill. It is still the place from which the return is made of members elected to serve for the county, and it is included in the third circuit of county court towns, under the new act for the recovery of debts not exceeding 20, passed August, 1846. The following is a list of the corporation of Appleby, in 1849:

Mayor. - William Hopes, Esq.

Aldermen. - Right Hon. The Earl of Lonsdale; Right Hon. The Earl of Thanet; John Wilkin, Esq.; the Hon. H. C. Lowther, M.P.; the Rev. Joseph Milner; the Rev. Thomas Bellas; John Hill, Esq.; Mark Rushton, Esq.; William Bennett, Esq.; Wm. Wilkinson, Esq.; Lancelot Dent, Esq.; Robert Addison, Esq.

Common Council Men. - Orton Bradley, James Parkin, Joseph Benn, Matthew Betham, William Spedding, Fred. Weymss, (and town-clerk,) James Bell, Thomas Harrison, Thomas Salkeld, Thomas Atkinson, John Bellasis, Rev. John Richardson, Henry Holme, Thomas Thwaytes, Robt. H. Thompson, Fred. M. Dinwoodie.

THE COUNTY GAOL AND COURT HOUSE were erected in 1770 and 1771, at the expense of the county, except 357 15s. raised by voluntary subscription. They stand on the east side of the Eden, and are commodious buildings encompassed by a strong wall. Adjoining the gaol a new House of Correction was built about thirty-six years ago, since which time the two old and small prisons, at the west end of the bridge have been used as private dwelling houses. The new prisons contain six wards for males, and four for females; but the number incarcerated here at one time seldom exceeds thirty. Within the walls is a neat chapel, and fronting the town is the governor's house.

The Crown and Nisi Prius Courts which adjoin the gaol, are much too small for the increasing population of the county; but a new consulting room for the judges is about to be erected. The prisoners are employed in grinding corn by handmills, and are superintended by the following officers, viz., Mr. Thomas Thwaites, governor, (salary, 100 per annum,) Miss Mary Atkinson, matron, Mr. George Thwaites, M.D., surgeon, and the Rev. John Wharton is the chaplain, all of whom are appointed by the magistrates, except the governor, who is nominated by the Earl of Thanet, the hereditary high-sheriff of the county, who pays 15 a year towards his salary, the county making up the remainder. Previous to the year 1818, the assizes were only held here once a year, except in case of a special commission: they are now held in March and August. The judges for many centuries have been entertained in the castle, at the expence of the sheriff; which custom probably originated in the hospitality of the Clifford family. In Leland's time, Appleby "was but a poor village, having a ruinous castle, wherein the prisoners were kept." The gaol was subsequently in the old chapel, at the bridge end, where it continued till the new one was completed, in 1771, as before stated.

THE QUARTER SESSIONS for the East and West Wards are held in the Shire-hall on the Monday after the first whole week in Epiphany, on the Mondays in the first whole weeks after Easter, and St. Thomas Becket, and on the Monday after the 11th of October. They are held by adjournment at Kendal on the Fridays following these days, for the other two wards of the county. This arrangement was made in 1676, by the Judges of Assizes. E.W. Hasell, Esq., is generally the presiding magistrate, and John Bell, Esq., is clerk of the peace. The new county court, for the recovery of debts not exceeding 20, is held here monthly, and the magistrates of the town and neighbourhood sit at the Shire-hall every alternate Saturday.

MARKETS, FAIRS, &c. - The cloister, or market-house, is a convenient building, at the bottom of Boroughgate, where it was rebuilt by the corporation, at the cost of about 1,000, in 1811, when the original edifice, which was erected about the year 1700, by Dr. Smith, Bishop of Carlisle, aided by Dr. Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, was pulled down. On the front of it is a stone obelisk, called the Low Cross; and at the other end of the town is the High Cross, both of which were rebuilt in 1817 and 1818. On the latter is this inscription -

"Retain your Loyalty,
Preserve your rights."

The Shambles and the Town-hall stand in the middle of the same street, which they greatly incommode. The market is held on Saturday, and is well supplied with corn, provisions, &c. In 1598 it was removed to Gilshaughlin, near Cliburn, in consequence of the plague, "in which year, between August 1st, and March 25th, there died in Appleby, Scattergate, Colby, and Colby Leathes, 128 persons." A Cattle Market is held at the High Cross every alternate Saturday, and the Fairs are held on St. Lawrence's day, (August 21st), Whitsun eve, and Whit Monday; King James II's fair, on the second Thursday in April, and on the following day. A fair for cattle, sheep, horses, and merchandize, is also held on the second Wednesday in June, on Gallow Hill, an extensive pasture containing 100 acres, in Bongate parish, one mile from Appleby, and this last mentioned fair being free from the heavy tolls imposed upon the fairs and markets in the borough, is nearly equal in importance to the great fair held on Brough Hill. Fairs for fat cattle are held here every alternate Thursday during winter, and monthly during summer. Hirings for servants are held at the High Cross, on Whit Monday, and at the Low Cross on the nearest Saturday to Martinmas.

With the exception of some linen and check weaving, a woollen manufactory at Coupland-beck, and two brewing and malting establishments, the trade of the town is chiefly of a miscellaneous and local character. The ale made here is said to be of a very superior quality.

APPLEBY CASTLE. - This large structure, the ancient mansion of the successive lords of the great Barony of Westmorland, stands on the lofty summit of the western bank of the Eden, at the upper end of Boroughgate, sheltered and ornamented on almost every side by fine groves, and shady avenues, which, with the pleasing curvatures of that noble river, margined with hanging gardens, stately trees, and projecting rocks, make up a landscape truly picturesque. The principal part of the present edifice, which forms two sides of a square, was erected in the reign of Henry VI, by Thomas, Lord Clifford, the tenth hereditary high sheriff of the county, who also built the chapel "in Anno domini one thousand four hundred and fifty-four, which was the year before he was slain." In the rupture between Charles I and his parliament, it was fortified and garrisoned by the Countess of Pembroke "in spite of her disloyal simpleton," for the service of that king, under the command of Sir Philip Musgrave, who held it till after the battle of Marston Moor, A.D. 1644. It was again garrisoned for the king in 1648, but was almost voluntarily surrendered in the same year to the parliamentary forces, who took therein five knights, twenty-five colonels, nine lieutenant-colonels, six majors, forty-six captains, seventeen lieutenants, ten cornets, three ensigns, and 1,200 horse, five pieces of cannon, 1000 stand of arms and all the baggage. Since the death of the Countess of Pembroke, who occasionally resided here, it has been occupied by the stewards of its illustrious owners, and is now the residence of John Heelis, Esq., land steward and law agent to the present Right Hon. Henry Tufton, Earl of Thanet, Lord Tufton, of Tufton Island, Lord of the Honour of Skipton, in Craven, and hereditary high sheriff of Westmorland. CSAR'S TOWER, which stands about thirty yards north west of the castle, is a strong square building, eighty feet high, with a turret on each corner.

That the tower is very ancient admits of no doubt, but that it was built by the Romans, as asserted by some writers, there is no evidence to prove. Hutchinson supposes it to be of Norman origin, and says, "This tower is defended by an outward wall, forming a crescent at the distance of about twelve feet, now remaining about twenty feet high, strongly sustained on the outside by buttresses, erected on an eminence thirty paces in ascent, and defended by a deep ditch without. The quarter pointing to the castle lies open to the area, which is enclosed by a wall continued from the points of the crescent." That the castle was of importance before the time of William the Conqueror, is very probable, for it is not likely that Edward the Confessor would make Appleby a county town, without its being in some measure fortified; but that there was a castle here in the time of the Romans, as Bum and Nicholson suppose, is exceedingly improbable, for no coins, monuments, or altars, of that people, have ever been found here.

In 1072 it was surrendered to the Conqueror, who gave it to Ranulph de Meschiens6; since which time it continued in the possession of the barons of Westmorland till the reign of Henry II, when it was seized by that king, on account of its owner, Sir Hugh Morville7, having assisted in the assassination of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1204 King John granted Appleby and Brough, with the appurtenances and sheriffwick of the county, &c., to Robert de Veteripont.

In the castle are some good portraits of the different members of the Thanet and Bedford families, of Queen Elizabeth, and some of the kings of the House of Stuart. At the upper end of the great hall is a copy of the family picture, the original of which is at Skipton Castle. It is tripartite, in the form of a screen; in the middle stand at full length, George, the third earl of Cumberland, his countess, and two children. The side leaves contain full length portraits of their daughter Anne; one at the age of eighteen, "Standing in her study, dressed in white embroidered with flowers, her head adorned with pearls; the one hand is on a music book; her lute lies by her. The book informs us of the fashionable course of reading among the people of rank in her days. I perceived among them, Eusebius, St. Augustine, Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, Godfrey of Boulogne, the French Academy, Camden, Ortelius, Agrippa on the Vanity of Occult Sciences, &c., &c.; above her, the heads of Mr. Daniel, her tutor, and Mrs. Anne Taylor, her governess."

In the drawing-room and staircase, are four half-length likenesses of the Countess of Pembroke, taken in the states of childhood, youth, middle, and old age. There is also preserved in the castle, the suit of richly-gilt armour, worn by the earl in the tilt field, as champion to his royal mistress. In the library are kept three large manuscript folio volumes, containing the pedigree of the different branches of this family, from the reign of King John to the year 1652.

The Church of St. Lawrence is a large edifice, with a nave, chancel, side aisles, and a square tower, in which are six excellent bells, with a clock that strikes the quarters, presented by the mayor and corporation. It was rebuilt by Henry II, in 1177, the former one having been burnt down by the Scots two years previous. It was again nearly all rebuilt, in 1655, by the Countess of Pembroke, at the cost of 700, at which time the ancient vestry was converted into a chancel; and a chapel belonging to the Colby's, of Colby, and their descendants, the Warcops, was taken down. There is still a great want of accommodation in this church, for the humbler classes, but it is to be hoped that it will soon be repaired. In the chancel is a beautiful marble effigy of Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, who died in 1616; and on the opposite side is an elegant altar tomb, in memory of her benevolent daughter, the Countess of Pembroke, who, in 1656, conveyed an estate at Temple Sowerby, now worth 70 a year, to trustees, for the reparation of this church, the bridge, the crosses, the moot hall, her own monument, and that of her mother. There were anciently two chantries in this church; one dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other to St. Nicholas. The former was founded about the year 1286, by the family of Goldington, who endowed it with several burgages, the priest being required to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the mass, at the altar of the Blessed Virgin for the mayor, bailiffs, and commonalty, for the souls of the founders and their ancestors, and for all the faithful departed, but particularly those who had been benefactors to the chantry. The chantry of St. Nicholas was founded by Robert de Threlkeld, who endowed it with various houses in Appleby; but both were dissolved by Edward VI, who granted their revenues, amounting to 5 11s. 8d. yearly to William Ward and Richard Venables, to hold in free socage. This church, together with that of St. Michael's and two parts of the tithe of his demesne on both sides of the Eden, were given by Ranulph de Meschiens to St. Mary's Abbey, in York, and this grant was subsequently confirmed by Athelwald and Hugh, bishops of Carlisle, under the following limitations, viz., "That the priory of Wetheral possess the church to their own in the name of the aforesaid abbey; and that the abbey present fit persons to be vicars thereof, to be sustained out of the revenues of the church." It is now a vicarage, of which the dean and chapter of Carlisle are patrons, and the Rev. Joseph Milner, A.M., incumbent. In the valor of Pope Nicholas, computed in 1292, the rectory is valued at 15, and the vicarage at 10, and in the valor of Edward II (1318), the former is estimated at 4, but the latter "non sufficit pro oneribus supportant." In 1535, tem. Hen VIII, the vicarage was returned at 9 5s. 2d., and in 1823 it was endowed, in addition to the ancient glebe, with 236A. 1R. 4P. of land as a commutation for the tithes of Hoff township. The tithes of Burrels, Colby, Drybeck, and Scattergate, have also been recently commuted for a yearly rent charge.

St. Michael's Church, in Bongate, on the east side of the Eden, three quarters of a mile S.E. of Appleby, partook of the munificence of the Countess of Pembroke who raised it "out of its ruins" in 1658, but not on on the same site, for the fragment of a wall, said to have been part of the original church, is still to be seen at the Holme, where human bones have frequently been found. It has a nave, chancel, cross aisle, and small tower, with two bells, and had anciently a chantry, founded by Sir William English, of which, in 1467, John Winton was chaplain." In 1658, in the beginning of spring, says the Countess of Pembroke, "I caused Bongate church, near Appleby, to be pulled down, and new built-up again at my own charge; and it was wholly finished about the latter end of April 1659, for which God be praised." The Bishop of Carlisle has presented to this vicarage since the year 1248. On its north side is a large vault, the ancient burial place of the Hiltons, of Hilton, in this parish. The living is valued in the king's books at 20 13s. 9d. The Rev. Thomas Bellas, M.A., is the present incumbent.

At the enclosure of Bongate common, 92A. 1R. 10P. of land were given to the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle, in lieu of the great tithes, and 15A. 1R. to the vicar, as the release from the small tithes, besides 5A. 0R. 15P. allotted to the ancient glebe.

At the north end of Bongate, about half a mile from St. Michael's Church, is Battleburgh, called in latin records Vicus le Fyte, and in common language Battlebarrow. Here the Lords Clifford, Percy, and Vesey founded a friary for Carmelites, or White Friars, in 1281, but this institution was dissolved in 1543, by Henry VIII, who granted it with Hale Grange, and the manor of Hardendale and Wastdale, to C. Crackenthorp, Esq., of Newbiggin for the sum of 255 3s. The neat mansion of Robert Addison, Esq., now occupies its site, and retains the name of Friary.

A little further north, about one mile from Appleby, a farm house occupies the site of St. Leonard's Hospital, an asylum which long existed here for the reception of lepers.* The date of its foundation is not known, but it was given by John de Veteripont, to Shap Abbey; and the grant was confirmed by Walter, Bishop of Carlisle, on condition that the said Abbey should maintain three lepers there for ever. In 1544 its possessions were granted to Thomas, Lord Wharton, whose successor, Philip, sold them, in 1613, for 700, to J. Fielding, Esq., of Starforth, in Yorkshire, from whose descendant they were purchased in 1632, by the Countess of Pembroke, who settled them upon her hospital at Appleby.

At the west end of the bridge of St. Lawrence there was anciently a chapel, but it was in a ruined state in the year 1445. It occupied the site of the old prison, or probably was the same building, and had a chamber or oratory over it. In the town is a Wesleyan chapel, erected by subscription, in 1823; and a Wesleyan Association chapel, built in 1847. The organ in the latter was built by Mr. Thomas Atkinson, of this town, and, though small, is considered an excellent instrument.

THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL. - That there was a school in Appleby, in 1453, is manifest from the name of a lane, which was at the west end of Kirkgate, called School House Gate8; and it appears the chaplain of the two chantries in the church of St. Lawrence, was enjoined to teach a free grammar school in the borough, as a part of his duty. In consideration of the loss sustained by the dissolution of the chantries, in the time of Edward VI, Queen Mary granted to the school at Appleby a yearly rent charge of 5 10s. 8d., to be paid out of the rectory of Crosby-Ravensworth. The school was refounded, in 1574, by Queen Elizabeth, "with ten governors, who are to appoint successors, nominate the master and usher, make statutes for the regulation of the school, and receive lands and possessions, so as they exceed not the clear yearly value of 40," but this limitation has been greatly exceeded, for the seminary at present has a yearly revenue of upwards of 200, though it only receives six free scholars, all the others having to pay small quarterages, even for the classics, and additional charges for writing and arithmetic. Since the royal charter of Elizabeth, the school has been endowed with the following benefactions, viz., 300 (of which 240 was given by Dr. Miles Spencer) and a rent charge of 20 a year, purchased in 1579, to be paid out of Newton Garths estate, in the county of Durham. In 1589, the governors received 40 from the will of Rainold Hartley, with which they purchased the field adjoining the school called Pear-Tree Garth. In 1661 Dr. Smith, (afterwards Bishop of Carlisle,) procured a lease of the corn tithes of Drybeck, to be granted by the dean and chapter to the schoolmaster, who pays for them a yearly rent of 3 3s. 4d. The demesne lands of New Hall, in the manor of Sandford, now let for 130 per annum, were purchased in 1685 by the governors with 500, out of the 700, given in 1671, by Bishops Barlow and Smith, the Rev. Randal Sanderson, and Sir John Lowther, Bart., all of whom had been scholars here, and gave their several donations to the school in consideration of the governors having ceded for ever the right of nominating the master to the provost and scholars of Queen's College, Oxford, where the Appleby scholars, natives of Westmorland, have five exhibitions9 endowed with 40 per annum, by the Earl of Thanet, in 1720; besides the privilege of becoming candidates for one of the five exhibitions, founded in the same college by Lady Hastings, and those established by its founder, Robert Eglesfield, for the education of scholars from Westmorland and Cumberland." The school, of which the Rev. John Richardson, M.A., is now head master, is open to all the boys of the parish of St. Lawrence, and the township of Bongate. The school house is a neat edifice in the Low Weind, and was rebuilt in 1826, at the cost of the Temple Sowerby trust.

This school has produced a number of eminent men, among whom may be noticed William Bell, Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh; Thomas Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln; Thomas Smith and John Waugh, Bishops of Carlisle; the former of whom died in 1702; and the latter in 1734; Dr. John Langhorne, and his brother William, joint translators of Plutarch; Rev. William Thomson, M.A., rector of South Weston, Oxfordshire, and author of a volume of poems, printed in 1750; Dr. Richard Monkhouse, vicar of Wakefield, and author of three volumes of sermons, in 1805; William Pattinson, of Sidney College, Cambridge, author of two volumes of poems, published after his death, in 1728; John Robinson, Esq., under secretary during Lord North's administration; Rev. Richard Yates, M.A., fifty-eight years master of this school; and Sir Joseph Relph, author of a volume of pastoral poems, published after his death, in 1746.

There was formerly a curious collection of inscriptions in stone near to this school, said to have been for the most part copied from others, and placed there by Reginald Bainbridge, who was master of the school in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. The following are the most interesting of those which still remain:

GVIL. R. SCOT. 1176.

Upon a stone which was dug up near the confluence of the rivers Lowther and Eamont, in 1602, was found the following inscription, in memory of Constantine the Great :-





Bongate National School. - A neat building, in the Elizabethan style, erected in 1844, by subscription, aided by a grant of 60 from the committee of Council on Education, and of 20 from the National Society. The Earl of Lonsdale gave the site, and the school is supported by the interest of a donation of 200 from Robert Wilkinson, Esq.; 100 from Thomas Dent, Esq.; a bequest of 20 from the late Mr. T. Robinson, of Leeds, but formerly of Bongate, and by voluntary subscriptions. The present master is Mr. Thomas Lincoln Rix.

ST. ANNE'S HOSPITAL. - A neat building occupying a pleasant situation near the head of Boroughgate, and having a small chapel, with apartments and gardens for thirteen poor widows, twelve of whom receive a stipend of 6 17s. 6d., and the eldest, who is called the mother, receives 8 2s. 6d. per quarter, besides which a cart load of coal is given to each yearly! This excellent charity was founded in 1653, by the Countess of Pembroke, who endowed it with an estate at Brougham, and the lands in Bongate, formerly belonging to St. Nicholas' Hospital, which now yield about 500 per annum, of which 4 belongs to the poor of Brougham, pursuant to the bequest of the donor. The sum of 32 10s. a year is paid to the chaplain, (the Rev. Joseph Milner), for reading prayers every weekday morning. When this institution was first founded, its annual revenue was only 100, but, from the increased value of land, is now worth nearly the sum originally expended in the purchase of the property for its endowment. The Earl of Thanet is the visitor, and the mayor of Appleby, for the time being, is one of the ten trustees.

The Mechanics' Institute, established in September, 1848, occupies a large room in Boroughgate, given for that purpose by the Earl of Thanet, at the nominal yearly rent of 2s. 6d. It is well supported by the literary gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood, and now consists of 120 members. The library contains upwards of 300 volumes, and the reading-room is well supplied with newspapers and periodicals. Mr. Thomas Lincoln Rix is the librarian. A Young Men's Improvement Society has also been recently formed in this town, and its meetings are held in the school attached to the Wesleyan Association Chapel, where there is a library of about 160 volumes.

A Book Club was established at Appleby about sixty years ago, and now consists of several subscribers, who expend annually one guinea each in the purchase of books, which, after being kept twelve months for their general use, are sold to the highest bidder, except such works as a majority of the members may determine to retain in their library, which is kept at the Shire Hall.

A News Room is kept at the King's Head Inn, where assemblies are occasionally held.

The Gas Works at Appleby were erected in 1837, at the cost of 1,500, raised in shares of 5 each. There is one gasometer, and the gas is sold to the consumers at 10s. per thousand cubic feet. The town is illuminated with eighteen public lamps. Mr. Robt. Fawcett is manager and collector.

A Branch of the Cumberland Savings' Bank is about to be established at Appleby.

A few of the Eminent Men who were born in Appleby or neighbourhood - Thomas de Appleby, who was Bishop of Carlisle, 1363, till his death, in 1395. Roger de Appleby, who died in 1404, was Bishop of Ossery, in Ireland. Thomas Vipont, of the illustrious family of the then Lords of Westmorland, was inducted Bishop of Carlisle in 1255, but died the year following. Dr. Potter was Vice Chancellor of Oxford when the civil wars broke out, and sent all his plate to the king, saying, he would drink as Diogenes did, out of the hollow of his hand, before his majesty should want. In reply to a work, entitled "Charity Mistaken," written by a Catholic priest, he wrote a treatise called "Want of Charity justly charged on all such Romanists as affirm that Protestancy destroys salvation;" to which the priest replied, in "Mercy and Truth, or Charity maintained by Catholics," but this the Dr. declined to answer. He died in 1645.


BURRELS township has a village one mile and a half S. by W. of Appleby, on the Orton road, and the soil, which is very fertile, contains an abundance of limestone. The Earl of Thanet is lord of the manor and owner of most of the land. The rateable value of this township is 561 10s.

COLBY village stands on an eminence, about one mile and a quarter W. by N. of Appleby, and is a place of great antiquity. This township was held by a family of its own name, from the time of Henry II to the reign of Richard II; and from 1402 till the Restoration, belonged to a family of the Warcops, "who sold most of the tenements to freehold, and the rest have been since enfranchised, except a few tenements of the Bishop of Carlisle, who pay an annual rent of 3 6s. 8d." The Priory of Wetheral and the Abbey of St. Mary, York, had each a carucate of land here, the former given in 1086, by Ranulph de Meschiens, and the latter in the reign of Henry II, by one Emsand. The principal land owners are Mr. R. Bird, Miss Knipe, and Mrs. Pattinson. Rateable value, 887 12s.

DRYBECK township has a small secluded village, three and a half miles S.S.W. of Appleby, and forms a joint manor with Hoff, of which the Earl of Thanet is lord. "The common lands in this manor were enclosed in 1823, when upwards of seventy acres were given to the lord, and the rest to the land owners." The largest owners of the soil are the Rev. W.H. Milner, and Mr. George Steadman.

HOFF is a small village two and a half miles S.S.W. of Appleby. Its township includes Hoff Row, Nether Hoff, and Barwise Hall, the latter of which, though now occupied by a farmer, was anciently the seat of the distinguished family of Berewyse who settled here soon after the Norman conquest. In the reigns of Henry VII and VIII it belonged to a family named Roos, the last of whom forfeited it by stealing a silver chalice out of the church. The hall and demesne subsequently passed through various families, and
is now the property of the Countess of Clarendon. In 1256, Pope Alexander IV issued a mandate to the Bishop of Carlisle, to grant a license to Alan de Berewyse to erect a chapel upon his demesne, in consequence of its distance from the parish church, and the inundations which took place here in winter. The chapel was afterwards endowed with thirty-seven acres of land. At a place called Douqlas-Ing, near Hoff Bridge, it is said a great battle was fought between the English and Scotch, in the reign of Richard
II, and considerable quantities of human bones have been dug up near the old bridge-stead at various periods. Nether Hoff is a large farm belonging to the Earl of Thanet, and distant one and half mile W. by N. of Appleby. Hoff Row is a small hamlet half a mile W. by S. of Hoff. "The family of Hall has been resident here upwards of 400 years, and is remarkable for longevity. John Hall died in 1716, aged 109 years; his son John died in 1794, aged 89; and his grandson, in 1821, aged 101 years." Rateable value, 650 16s.

SCATTERGATE is mostly all in the borough, and contains the Castle of Appleby, already described. Robert Addison, Esq., is one of the principal land owners of this township, the rateable value of which is 1228 6s.


Bongate village is situated about three quarters of a mile S.E. of Appleby, and half a mile north of St. Michael's church. Within the limits of the borough, is Battlebarrow, where it is said some great battle was anciently fought. "In a dispute between the corporation and the owners of the castle, it was found 'that King John did not grant to Robert de Veteripont the town of Appleby, then properly so called, but old Appleby, where the bondmen inhabit,' now called Bongate."

LANGTON is a hamlet and joint township with Bongate, one mile and a half E. of Appleby. There was once a populous village here which was burned by the Scots in the reign of Edward II, and also a church or chapel at a place still called Kirkbergh, a farm which is held independently of the manor, except the payment of 2s. cornage. The Earl of Thanet is lord of this manor, which, in 1327, was found by inquisition to be worth nothing, for want of tenants, there being only four cottages and a water-mill in the whole manor. The church, county gaol, and other public buildings in the township of Bongate and Langton are already described.

CRACKENTHORP township contains many rich pastures, and some good corn land, and has a neat village two miles N.W. of Appleby, on the Penrith road, and near the river Eden. The Hall now occupied by Mr. Joseph Wilson, was once the seat of the ancient family of Machel, who are said to be descended "from the Catuli amongst the ancient Romans," and were resident here "longer than any one family of note at any other place in the same county." Roger Machel, who was lord keeper of the seal, in the reign of Richard I, was drowned as he attended that King to the Holy Land. The Rev. Michael Machel, M.A., who, in the seventeenth century, was for several years rector of Kirkby-Thore, was a profound antiquary, and employed himself with great assiduity, during the principal part of his life, in collecting materials for a history of Westmorland and Cumberland, the manuscripts of which were bound up after his death in six folio volumes, and lodged in the library of the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle. These manuscripts were all concentrated in the "History and Antiquities" of the two counties, published by Dr. Bum and Joseph Nicholson, Esq., in two vols. 4to., A.D. 1777. Some branches of this family, which was "particularly remarkable in all generations, for a brave and martial spirit," are still resident in various parts of the kingdom, but their hall and estate here were sold several years ago to one of the Earls of Lonsdale. At Chapel Hill in this township, are ruins of an ancient chapel, which was dedicated to St. Giles. Near the road which leads from Crackenthorp to Kirkby Thore, on the south side of the great Roman way, is the site of an encampment 300 yards long, and 150 broad, having three entrances on each side and end, with bulwarks before them. Near it is a small fort called Maiden Hold, which Mr. Machell considers was a watch tower belonging to the camp. Rateable value, 1141.

HILTON is an extensive township containing 4,259A., of which 2,878A. 3R. 3P., are unenclosed, a great portion of which is a moorish and mountainous district. It has a large village, three miles E. of Appleby. In this township are some rich lead veins which have been worked for a number of years by the London Lead Company, who have also a smelt mill here. The manor of Hilton, or, as it is called in old records, Helton Beacon, was long possessed by the Hiltons, who at different times enfranchised the tenants, and in 1696 sold both the demesne and manor to Sir John Lowther, whose descendent, the Earl of Lonsdale, is the present owner. There was formerly a chapel near the village, but no vestige has been seen for several years. For Coupland Beck, which is partly in this township, see Sandford township in the parish of Warcop. Christopher Bainbridge, L.L.D., who was born here in the latter part of the reign of Henry VI, was promoted to the see of York, in 1508, and afterwards advanced to the dignity of Cardinal of Saint Praxis, in Rome, by Pope Julias II. He died at Rome, July 11th, 1514, and was buried in the church of St. Thomas, in that city.

MURTON township has a small village two and a half miles E. by N. of Appleby, situate at the foot of a lofty conical eminence, called Murton Pike. In 1283 it was found that the manor-house of Murton was worth 2s. a year, and the demesne, which consisted of 120 acres of land, 8d. per acre, yearly, and that there were in the manor six free tenants and nine bondmen. It was held by the Musgraves from 1315 till 1614, when it was sold by Sir Richard Musgrave, of Hartley Castle, to Thomas Hilton, Esq., of Hilton, whose successors sold part of the demesne to the Fletchers, of Strickland, and the rest, with the manor, to Sir John Lowther, ancestor of the present Earl of Lonsdale. Murton Hall, the ancient manor-house, and residence of the Hiltons, is now occupied by a farmer, and the site of a Chapel of Ease, which formerly stood in this township, is no longer distinguishable. The methodists have a chapel at Murton, and here is also a school endowed with land now let for 7 a year, and a rent charge of 10s. The manor is nearly surrounded by fells, and here too are lead mines, worked by the London Lead Company. Both the Hilton and Murton mines are very productive, the average quantity of lead raised yearly being about 700 bings10, every 4 bings yielding one fother of pure lead. Murton township contains 2,316A. 2R. 13P., and its tithes were commuted in 1843, for a yearly rent charge of 80, viz., vicarial 33, and rectorial 27.


* "The disorder of leprosy seems to have prevailed in certain counties, and at certain times, more than others. Anciently, in this realm, there was a legal provision for removing them apart from the rest of society; there being in the Register of Writs, the form of one, de leproso amovendo. Perhaps the cleanliness of modem times has contributed towards the abatement of this distemper; as also the change of food, by the disuse in a great measure of salted provisions. At the time when institutions such as the Hospital of St. Leonard were founded, there were few or no inclosures, except for deer, and no hay or other provender laid up for the feeding of cattle in winter; the natives killing and salting their sheep, &c., at the beginning of winter, before they became lean upon the common pasture."

C.C. in the first line is said to mean circum; F.F. in the fourth, funditus (?); and the last F. fuit. The whole has been thus translated. Appleby, round which flows the Eden, was in Roman times the station of the Mauri Aureliani. It was laid waste by William, King of Scots, in 1176; the plague raged here so violently in 1598, that the market was removed to Gilshaughlin.

Mannix & Co.,History, Topography and Directory of Westmorland, 1851




1. An astonishing suggestion - the Roman Wall is about 35 miles to the north-west. Aballava is indeed the 14th fort of the wall, according to the surviving copies of the Roman document "Dux Britanniarum", and is identified with Burgh-by-Sands.
2. Surely not Prime Ministers? I would appreciate clarification on this point.
3. Most of these terms, and similar ones elsewhere, are explained in the glossary.
4. This is as written, but must be an error for commune.
5. Surely this must be ever.
6. Regularly referred to as "Ranulph de Meschines" in Mannix & Whellan.
7. See Aikton parish for a short discussion on the historical accuracy of the claim of Sir Hugh's involvement in the assassination.
8. Gate is common in Cumberland and Westmorland, meaning street, and derives from the Norse gata.
9. Exhibition - a scholarship.
10. For lead mining terminology, see Alston parish.

19 June 2015


Steve Bulman