Appleby-in-Westmorland was the historic county town of Westmorland, and an important market centre during the Middle Ages. It is still an attractive market town, but is best known for the Appleby Horse Fair.
Appleby sits on the western edge of the North Pennines, looking across the Eden Valley towards the Lake District. The town is just missed by the A66, which passes to the north-east, and is also on the Settle to Carlisle Railway. One sign of our changing attitude to new railways is that when the news that the railway was coming reaching Appleby in 1869 the church bells were rung in celebration!
The town had two MPs until the reform act of 1832, when both were removed.
The old town sits is a loop in the River Eden, which surrounds it to the west, north and east. The main street is very attractive. The road itself it lined with lime trees planted in the 1870, and is separated from the houses on both sides by a wide grassy verge. The main street runs up hill from the parish church towards the castle, at the southern end of the town. The modern town has expanded west around the loop and east on the far side of the Eden.
Appleby was one of the many places to benefit from the activities of Lady Anne Clifford, one of the wealthiest women of the early seventeenth century. She restored Appleby Castle and founded the Hospital of St. Anne, alms-houses that are still in use. Lady Anne is buried in the parish church of St. Lawrence.
Appleby is most famous for the Horse Fair, now Europe's largest gathering of gypsies and travellers (with an estimated 10,000 attending, along with 30,000 tourists). The fair is officially named the Appleby New Fair, and dates back to 1685 when King James II granted the town a second charter allowing it to hold a fair (the 'old' fair was based on a thirteenth century charter). The Horse Fair takes place early in June, normally ending on the second Wednesday.
Directions: Appleby sits on the A-66
Grid Reference: NY 685 203