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Appleby-in-Westmorland is a market town and civil parish in the Eden district, in the administrative county of Cumbria, in North West England. The parish had a population of 3,048 in 2011.[1] It lies in a loop of the River Eden in the historic county of Westmorland, of which it was the county town. Its name was simply Appleby until the local-government changes of 1974. When a successor parish was formed from the former borough, the council changed its name to record that of the historic county.[2]

Appleby Market Square.jpg
Appleby-in-Westmorland is located in Cumbria
Location within Cumbria
Population3,048 (2011)
OS grid referenceNY6820
Civil parish
  • Appleby-in-Westmorland
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCA16
Dialling code017683
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
54°34′37″N 2°29′06″W / 54.577°N 2.485°W / 54.577; -2.485Coordinates: 54°34′37″N 2°29′06″W / 54.577°N 2.485°W / 54.577; -2.485

Appleby is 13.7 mi (22 km) south east of Penrith, 32.2 mi (52 km) south east of Carlisle, 27.2 mi (44 km) north east of Kendal, 45.2 mi (73 km) west of Darlington, and 61.2 mi (98 km) west of Middlesbrough.


St Lawrence's Parish Church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.[3] Appleby Castle was founded by Ranulf le Meschin in the early 12th century. It was placed in the Second English Civil War under siege, during which the Regicide Major General Thomas Harrison was wounded.[4]


Appleby is overlooked by the privately owned Appleby Castle, a largely Norman structure that served as home for Lady Anne Clifford in the 17th century. Appleby's main industry is tourism, due to its history, remote location, scenery and closeness to the Lake District, the North Pennines, Swaledale and Howgill Fells.

From 1973, Appleby Castle was the headquarters of Ferguson Industrial Holdings Plc.[5][6][7]

WA Developments Limited, now Stobart Rail Limited, was long based in Appleby as a civil engineering company founded by Andrew Tinkler and William Stobart and specialising in railway maintenance.[8]


Gypsy horses in the River Eden

Appleby and its surrounding villages host several ancient annual events. The most notable are Warcop Rushbearing, dating back to at least 1716[9] and Appleby Horse Fair, a four-day event held in the first weekend of June. The earliest record of the fair, a charter from Henry II, is from the 12th century, but it is believed to have a longer history.[10] Appleby Agricultural Society, established in 1841.][11] hosts the annual Appleby Agricultural Show. More recently, the town has held an annual themed carnival. Other events in and around Appleby are described on the town's community website.[12]


Appleby was a parliamentary borough from medieval times, electing two Members of Parliament. By the 18th century it had become a pocket borough, the nomination of whose MPs was effectively in the gift of the Lowther family. They included William Pitt the Younger, who was MP for Appleby when he became Prime Minister in 1783, although he stood down at the following general election in favour of a Cambridge University seat.

A later member for Appleby was Viscount Howick, subsequently (as Earl Grey) the Prime Minister whose administration passed the Great Reform Act of 1832, but Grey's history as a former MP did not save it from losing both its members under the Act. As the only county town to be disenfranchised, Appleby was one of the more controversial cases in the debates on the Reform Bill, the opposition making unsuccessful attempts to amend the bill and save at least one of its MPs. It was granted a new charter in 1885.[13]

The town remained a municipal borough until such a status was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972, and was superseded by Eden district, based in Penrith. Despite its municipal-borough status, it was far smaller in size and population than most urban districts, although still larger population than some early Westmorland urban districts such as Grasmere and Shap.

Appleby was the county town of Westmorland, though the former county council sat in Kendal. The Assize Courts were in Appleby.

Modern eraEdit

Appleby today is in the parliamentary constituency of Penrith and the Border. Rory Stewart is its Member of parliament.

For Local Government purposes it is in both the Appleby and Bongate wards of Eden District Council and the Appleby Ward of Cumbria County Council. Its own parish council is known as Appleby-in-Westmorland Town Council.[14]


Appleby railway station on the Settle-Carlisle Line was opened by the Midland Railway in 1876. Appleby East station, built by the North Eastern Railway was nearby. It was closed in 1962, but retains the potential for connection to the Eden Valley Railway.

Notable peopleEdit

  • Thomas Barlow (1607/1608–1691), an English academic and clergyman who became Provost of Queen's College, Oxford and Bishop of Lincoln, was born at nearby Orton and attended Appleby Grammar School.
  • Lady Anne Clifford (1590–1676), played a major part in shaping Appleby by restoring the castle and refurbishing the town churches. Her memorial stands beside that of her mother in St Lawrence's Church in Boroughgate, where both are buried.
  • Gavin Skelton (born 1981), football coach.
  • Helen Skelton (born 1983), TV presenter, attended Appleby Grammar School.
  • William Stobart (born 1961), director and shareholder of Appleby based WA Developments Ltd.
  • George Washington's father and two half-brothers, born in Virginia, were nonetheless educated at Appleby Grammar School. He would have followed, but in 1743, when he reached the age at which the two older boys had made the voyage from Virginia, his father died suddenly. George Washington never made the Atlantic crossing nor acquired the classical education offered by schools like Appleby.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011" (PDF). Eden District Council. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  2. ^ Kelner, Simon (23 April 2013). "Eric Pickles's championing of traditional English counties is something we can all get behind". The Independent.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Parish Church of St Lawrence, Appleby-in-Westmorland (1312067)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  4. ^ Maurice Ashley (1954), Cromwell's Generals, London: Cape, OCLC 798976
  5. ^ "Industrialist who first opened Appleby Castle". Cumberland and Westmorland Herald. 26 October 2002.
  6. ^ Hurst, John (2000). Come Back to Eden: Lakeland's Northern Neighbour. Sigma Leisure.
  7. ^ Holmes, Martin (1974). Appleby Castle. Ferguson Industrial Holdings Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne.
  8. ^ "2,000 job companies prepare to quit Eden". Cumberland and Westmorland Herald. 21 January 2006.
  9. ^ Willcock, Richard (14 November 2015). "Episodes from Rushbearing at Musgrave and Warcop".
  10. ^ "Appleby Horse Fair". Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  11. ^ de Silva, Carrie (2013). "A Short History of Agricultural Education and Research". Newport, Shropshire, UK: Harper Adams University. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ "Appleby and Eden Valley Events: What's on in Appleby-in-Westmorland". Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Appleby" in Chambers's Encyclopædia. London: George Newnes, 1961, Vol. 1, p. 491.
  14. ^ "Appleby-in-Westmorland Town Council".
  15. ^ "George Washington and Appleby Grammar School". Cumberland and Westmorland Herald. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2019.

External linksEdit