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Appleby-in-Westmorland shown within Cumbria
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Penrith and The Border|
Appleby-in-Westmorland is a town and civil parish in Cumbria, in North West England. It is situated within a loop of the River Eden and has a population of approximately 2,500. It is in the historic county of Westmorland, of which it was the county town. The town's name was simply Appleby, until the local government changes of 1974. When a successor parish was formed for the former borough of Appleby, the council effected a change in the town's name, to preserve the historic county's name.
St Lawrence's Church is the parish church. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. Appleby Castle was founded by Ranulf le Meschin at the beginning of the 12th century. It was placed under siege during the Second English Civil War, during which Thomas Harrison was wounded.
Appleby is overlooked by the (privately owned) Appleby Castle, a predominantly Norman structure, which provided the home for Lady Anne Clifford, in the 17th century. The closure of Appleby Castle during the summer months means that this peaceful backwater remains somewhat quiet almost all year round. Its main status — with very little industry in Cumbria — is to sell goods to the farming communities round about. Many residents commute to jobs elsewhere. The bypass around the town does not help, as potential passing trade does not often enter the town. However, the annual Appleby Horse Fair, held regularly in early June, earliest record since the 12th century with a charter made by Henry II (however it is thought to have a longer tradition), brings Gypsies from all over Britain to the town.
Appleby railway station is on the Settle-Carlisle Line and was opened by the Midland Railway in 1876. Appleby East station, built by the North Eastern Railway was nearby; it closed in 1962 but retains the potential for connection to the Eden Valley Railway.
Appleby was a parliamentary borough, electing two Members of Parliament, from medieval times; by the 18th century it had become a pocket borough, the nomination of its MPs effectively being in the gift of the Lowther family. Its representatives 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 when he was instead elected for Cambridge University). 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 for the town did not save it from losing both its members under the Act. As the only county town to be disfranchised, Appleby was one of the more controversial cases in the debates on the reform bill, the opposition making unsuccessful attempts to amend the bill so as to save at least one of its MPs. In 1885, the town was granted a new charter.
The town remained a municipal borough until this status was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 and superseded by Eden district, based in Penrith. Although having the status of a municipal borough, it was a lot smaller in size and population than most urban districts in the country. It had, however, a larger population than some early Westmorland urban districts including Grasmere and Shap.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Appleby in Westmorland.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Appleby in Westmorland.|
- Cumbria County History Trust: Appleby (nb: provisional research only - see Talk page)
- Town Council and Tourist Information Centre
- Visit Eden: Appleby information, history, attractions and events
- Appleby Horse Fair Appleby is the site of the celebrated horse fair.