Appleby Castle

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Appleby Castle from above

Appleby Castle is in the town of Appleby, Cumbria overlooking the River Eden (grid reference NY685200). It consists of a 12th-century castle keep which is known as Caesar's Tower, and a mansion house. These, together with their associated buildings, are set in a courtyard surrounded by curtain walls.[1] Caesar's Tower[2] and the mansion house[3] are each designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. The uninhabited parts of the castle are a scheduled ancient monument.[4]

History[edit]

Caesar's Tower

The castle was founded by Ranulf le Meschin at the beginning of the 12th century. In about 1170 the square stone keep known as Caesar's Tower was built. The castle was in royal hands when the Scottish king, William the Lion, invaded the Eden Valley in 1174. The constable of the castle surrendered without a fight.[5]

In 1203 the castle was granted to Robert de Vieuxpont by King John.[6] In 1269 it came into the possession of Roger de Clifford and remained in the ownership of the Clifford family for nearly 400 years, and was responsible for the restoration of the castle.

The north wall of house and the west part of north wing with the round tower date from the 13th century. The eastern part of the house was built in 1454.

In the mid-17th century, Lady Anne Clifford made the castle her home. The castle was partly dismantled following a siege by roundhead forces in 1648, during the Second English Civil War. However, it was restored by Lady Anne Clifford in 1651–53. On her death the castle passed to the Earls of Thanet. They were responsible for converting the hall block into a classical mansion house.[5] The upper parts of Caesar's Tower were altered in the 17th and 18th centuries.[2] The house was largely rebuilt in 1686 and the northwest wing was added in 1695. In the 19th century it was again restored and sash windows were inserted.[3]

In 1972 the castle was purchased by Ferguson Industrial Holdings (FIH PLC) and became the primary residence of Denis Vernon, the CEO of the company, and his family. The Vernons lived at Appleby Castle until 1990. Vernon, a passionate conservationist, established a rare breeds survival centre.[7] Considerable improvements were made to the fabric of all the buildings, not least the 12th century keep. During this period, the castle was the headquarters and training centre of FIH PLC and for those running the conservation centre. Documentary and movie director Susannah White featured Denis Vernon and Appleby Castle in her 1998 BBC documentary The Gypsies Are Coming on Appleby Horse Fair.[8]

Appleby Castle is now a private residence. Parts of the castle were opened to the public in September 2013 for small private tours which can be booked via Appleby Tourist Information Centre.[9]

Structure[edit]

Caesar's Tower is built in grey stone rubble and ashlar.[3] It is about 80 feet (24 m) high and has four storeys.[6] The main house is in two wings which are at right angles to each other. A semicircular round tower protrudes from the north wall of the north wing and a large square tower is at the south end of the east wing.[1]

Other features[edit]

East range of Appleby Castle in 2002

The gateway to the castle courtyard and two adjoining cottages are listed Grade I. The gateway is in grey stone and battlemented, dating probably from the 17th century.[10] In the grounds of the castle is Lady Anne's Beehouse, which was built by Lady Anne Clifford in the middle of the 17th century. It is a square stone building in two storeys with a pyramid roof and a door on the lower level. The upper level has a pointed arched window on each of three sides and a door on the fourth side. It is also listed Grade I.[11] Two stretches of the sandstone outer walls to the castle dating mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries are listed Grade II,[12][13] as is the battlemented North Lodge which dates from the 19th century.[14] The grounds around the castle are listed Grade II*.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Appleby Castle, Visit Cumbria, retrieved 2007-11-30 
  2. ^ a b "Caesar's tower at Appleby Castle", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  3. ^ a b c "Main Building of Appleby Castle", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  4. ^ "Appleby Castle, uninhabited parts", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  5. ^ a b "Appleby Castle". Castle Explorer. 
  6. ^ a b Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1980). The David & Charles Book of Castles. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 178–179. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3. 
  7. ^ "Industrialist who first opened Appleby Castle". Cumberland and Westmorland Herald. 26 October 2002. 
  8. ^ The Gypsies Are Coming at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ Victoria Brenan (11 September 2013). "Appleby Castle Opens to Public for First Time". News and Star. 
  10. ^ "Castle Moat Cottage, Gatehouse Cottage, gateway to Appleby Castle", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  11. ^ "Lady Anne's Bee-house in copse to northeast of former stable block at Appleby Castle", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  12. ^ "Outer wall to Appleby Castle grounds, from South Lodge to the river", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  13. ^ "Outer wall to Appleby Castle grounds, from North Lodge to South Lodge", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  14. ^ "North Lodge to Appleby Castle", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 
  15. ^ "Appleby Castle", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, retrieved 8 May 2011 

External links[edit]

Media related to Appleby Castle at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 54°34′27″N 2°29′20″W / 54.57423°N 2.48878°W / 54.57423; -2.48878