Appleby in 1833
APPLEBY, a market town and borough in the county of Westmoreland, of which it is the capital ; 270 miles N.N.W. from London, and 31 S.E. of Carlisle. It is upon the river Eden, which falls into the Solway Firth below Carlisle ; and is by no means of such extent or importance as formerly. It is supposed by some that Appleby was a Roman station, but there is at least no decisive evidence of this ; and no Roman antiquities have been discovered. It was, however, a place of some importance before the conquest, and continued to be so until the time of Henry II, in the 22d year of whose reign it was surprised and utterly destroyed by William, King of Scotland. A second calamity of a similar kind in the 12th year of Richard II, 1388, completed the misfortunes of Appleby. It never recovered from this blow. The greatest part still lay in ruins in the time of Philip and Mary, and on this account the rent due to the crown was reduced from twenty marks annually to two marks, or £1, 6 shillings and 8 pence. Burrals, a small place at the distance of nearly a mile, is supposed to be derived from Burgh walls : and the remains of buildings have been dug or ploughed up two or three miles from where the town now stands.
Appleby contains two parishes, St. Lawrence on the left, and St. Michael on the right side of the river. In St. Lawrence is the greater part of the town ; in St. Michael a few houses only which can be considered part of the town, the parish of St Michael had being an agricultural one. The parishes are separate villages. The high road from London to Carlisle through Brough and Penrith passes through the latter : and a short street and an ancient stone bridge of two arches over the Eden lead into the main street of Appleby, which is irregularly built on the side of a hill. The castle stands on a lofty height rising from the river at the upper end of the main street, and at the lower end is the parish-church of St. Lawrence. The keep of the castle is in good preservation. It is called Caesar’s Tower, but is not of Roman origin, though it is of great antiquity. The principal part of the present edifice was built in 1686, by the then Earl of Thanet, in whose family it still remains. The church of St. Lawrence was nearly rebuilt in 1655, by the Countess of Pembroke. Near the church is the market-house, rebuilt in 1811 in the Gothic style. The town-hall and shambles are incommodiously placed in the middle of the main street : at each end of the town is an ancient stone obelisk. The shire-hall and new gaol are in the parish of St. Michael or Bondgate, in the part ef Appleby which lies on the north-east or right bank of the Eden. Both the Lent and Summer assizes are held here, and the judges when on circuit have from time immemorial been entertained at the castle.
Towards the upper end of the town is an almshouse or hospital, for twelve widows and a superior, or 'mother,’ founded by the above-mentioned Countess of Pembroke ; and near the church is a grammar-school, established in the time of Elizabeth. The income of the school is or was £204, 1 shilling and 7 pence ; the number of free scholars is six.
The market is on Saturday, chiefly for corn and there are several fairs for cattle, horses, sheep, and linen-cloth ; especially a cattle-fair once a fortnight from Whitsun-eve to Michaelmas. The population of the borough of Appleby was, in 1831, 851, and of the township of Bondgate and Langton 645, together 1,496 : but the parishes of St. Lawrence and St. Michael had 1,459 and 1,264 inhabitants respectively.
The corporation consists of a mayor, twelve aldermen, sixteen common councilmen, and other officers. The borough returned two members up to the passing of the Reform Bill, by which it was disfranchised.
Appleby was distinguished by its adherence to Charles I in the contest between that prince and his parliament. The Countess of Pembroke fortified the castle for the king, but it was forced to surrender.