Cumbria County History Trust has published a "Jubilee Digest" for the township of Appleby
Magna Britannica et Hibernia.Volume 6: Westmorland by Thomas Cox (Vicar of Bromfield, Essex) 45 pages, printed in 1731.
Transcription by Sarah Reveley, Joan Fisher and Lisl Schoenwald. (Rootsweb Westmorland Listmembers) (c) 2003
"APPLEBY, a small Market Town, memorable for nothing but its Antiquity and Situation, otherwise little superior to a Village. Its Market is kept weekly on Saturday, and Fair yearly on Whit-Monday. The Antiquities of it are, That it is situate on a Roman military Road, still visible by its high Ridge; and tho' in the Itinerary and Notitia, it is called Aballaba, and it is contracted into Appleby, yet the Derivation is so plain and almost entire, that there is no Room left to dispute, whether it be the same, as also that under the Romans it was the Station of the Mauri Aureliani, a Band of Soldiers so called, because they were sent hither by the Emperor Aurelian, to secure the Borders of his Empire in these Parts.
The Situation of this Town is in a pleasant Field, almost encompassed with the River Eden, but it is but thinly peopled, and the Houses and other Buildings are so mean, that if Antiquity did not set it above the other Towns of the County, and the Assizes were not held in the Town Hall, as they were formerly in the Castle, which in Part made the common Gaol for Malefactors, but that's now removed to the End of the Bridge, it would be of little more Note than the best Villages. What is most remarkable in it is the Corn Market, which is the best in all those northern Parts, and a beautiful broad Street, which runs from North to South with an easy Ascent, at the Head of which is the Castle, which is almost surrounded with the River, and Trenches, where the River comes not.
This Castle is now the Seat of the Earl of Thanet. But as mean as it at present is, it has several Testimonies of its antient Splendor, King Hen. I, endowed it with Privileges equal to the City of York; the Charter of this latter (as 'tis said) being granted in the Forenoon, and that of this Town in the Afternoon. King Hen II. Granted it another Charter with the like Immunities, and King Hen. III (in whose Time there was an Exchequer here, called Scaccarium de Apleby) a third; all which are every Way conformable to that of York, and have been confirmed by the succeeding Kings of England, even almost down to the last Century. When it was first governed by a Mayor doth not appear; but is evident that in the Reign of Kind Edw. I, it had a Mayor and two Provosts (who seem to have been then Men of principal Note, i.e. Sheriffs, or at least such as we now call Bailiffs, who signed the publick Acts of the Town together with the Mayor, though at present their Office is nothing else, but to attend the Mayor with two Halberds). Brompton makes Mention of Apelby shire, which seems to imply, that it then had Sheriffs of its own, as most Cities had, tho' they are now called Bailiffs; for 2 Edw. I in a Confirmation Charter of Shap-Abbey we find this Subscription, Teste Thoma, filio Johannis tunc Vice Comite (i.e. Sheriff) de Apelby, unless we should say that Westmorland was called the County of Apelby or Apelby-shire, as Brompton seems to intimate, and may perhaps be more clear from this. That in the Returns of the most antient Writs for summoning Parliaments, bearing Date 26 Edw. I, only the Name of the County is specified, not the Town, which may imply, that the Shire had its Nomination common with the Town. This seems confirmed by this, That we never meet in our antient Histories of the Barony of Westmorland, but with the Barony of Apleby often, including all the Villages of the North Part of the County; and when it lost the Name of Aplebyshire and took that of Westmorland, the Barony also was so called, otherwise 'tis hard to imagin, how this Barony should take the Name of the County.
In the Scotch Wars this Town suffered so much, that it was reduced to a very low Condition, for 22 Hen. II it was set on Fire by the Scots, and again 11 Rich. II. Insomuch that of 2200 Burgages (by a due Computation of the Fee farm Tenants ) there remained not above a tenth Part, as appears by the Inquisition then taken, and yet preserved in the Town Chest. From these Desolations it hath never recovered it self, but hath ever since lain, as it were dismembered, and separated one Street from another at such a Distance, that one would believe them so many several Villages, nor indeed is it to be know but by the Records, that they ever belonged to the same Body. For though Burghgate is mentioned above as the principal Street, yet Bongate, Battleburgh, Dungate and Scattergate, are all of them Parts of it, and probably the Burrals also, which may be an Evidence, that the Whole was once walled round (the Word signifying Borough Walls) and so much the more, because at Bath in Somersetshire, they call the Town Walls, Burrals:
To confirm our Relation of the low Condition and Misfortunes of the Place, we esteem it necessary to set down the following Inscription, which is set up in the Garden belonging to the Schoolhouse, of which we shall speak presently.
ABALLABA, QUAM <> C.C. <> i.e. Circum FLVIT ITVNA, STATIO FVIT RO. TEMP. MAVR. AVREL. HANC VASTAVIT (cross) F.F. (cross sign) i.e. Funditus GVIL. REX SCOT. II76. HIC PRESTIS SAEVIT 1598. OPP. DESERT MERCATUS AD. GILSAVGHLIN * F. * FVGIT. Or fuit DEVM TIME.
By this Monument we may understand both the Excellencies and Decay of this Town; the former is expressed in the Situation, and in this, that it was a Roman Station in the Time of Marcus Aurelius; the latter befell it by the Desolation brought upon it by William, King of Scots, in the Year 1176, by the Plague, which raged here in 1598, when the Market was removed from it to Gilshaughlin, a Town lying four or five Miles distant from it on the North-West.
At the lower End of the Town stands the Church, which now is but one, but it seems that here was antiently two Churches; for we find that Ranulph, Earl of Chester, who died Anno 1129, 29 Hen. I. gave to the Abbey of St. Mary's at York, the Church of St. Michael, and the Church of St. Laurence, belonging to his Castle of Appleby in Westmorland. Near the Church stands the School, built at the Expence of Robert Langton, LLD. A Native of this Town, who by his Last Will and Testament bequeathed to Queens College, Oxford, Two hundred Pounds to purchase Lands, and thereon to build a School-house in this Town, which being endowed with several Benefactions since by Dr. Thomas Smith, Bishop of Carlisle, and others it is become a famous School, and hath had divers learned Men, Masters of it. Mr. Cambden mentions one of them, viz. Mr. Reginald Bainbrigg, with very great Respect.
This Town, after it was taken by William, King of Scots, by Surprise, remained some Time in his Hands, but was at length recovered by King John, and by that Prince given to John de Vipont, or de Veteri Ponte, as a Reward of his many good Services; but we are not to understand this Gift of the King to include the Borough of Appleby, but the Castle and Barony only; for the former had been before granted to the Burgesses there by King Hen. II and been confirmed to them by King John himself, Reg. I. Nor was the Grant of the Barony, a Gift too little for a King; for to it belonged not only the Castle of this Town, but that of Burgh also, and many Manors, Forests, and Chases; all which, together with the Sheriffwick and Services of the Tenants of other Lordships, which held of it by Cornage, made up a large and noble Jurisdiction. The Viponts enjoyed the Barony and Sheriffwick divers Successions, till Robert de Vipont, joning with Monfort, Earl of Leicester, in a Rebellion against King Hen. III was slain in the Battle of Evesham, and his Estate being seized, was given to Roger Clifford and Roger de Leyboure, who married his Daughters Isabel and Idonea, and afterwards deserved so well of the King, that he totally remitted the Forfeiture of their Father.
Upon the Division of the Vipont's Estate, the Barony fell to the Cliffords (the Ancestors by Mother side of the Earls of Thanet) who have been Lords of the County, and flourished at this Place for above 500 Years; but Issue Male failing in George Lord Clifford, the Inheritance of this Barony, and all his Castles and Lands descended to his only Daughter and Heir Anne, who had thereby the honourable Titles of Clifford and Westmorland vested in her. This noble Lady, who was and Example of true Piety and Charity, may not be passed over without a special Notice of her Benefactions to this Town, without digressing to those of other Places, viz. Anno 1651, April 23. she laid the first Stone of an Hospital, which she founded in this Town, for a Governess and twelve other Widows, commonly called now, The Mother and twelve Sisters, which she finished in three Years following; and for the Endowment thereof of she purchased the Manor of Brougham, and certain other Lands called St. Nicholas's near this Place. And not long after purchased Lands of eight Pounds a Year at Temple Sourby in this County, which she settled on the Town to keep up the Repairs of the Church, School-house, Town-Hall and Bridge of this Town: She also rebuilt a great Part of the Church at Appleby, which was become ruinous, and made a Vault at the North-East Corner of the Chancel for her own Burial, and over it erected a stately Monument of black and white Marble for her self; and dying in the eighty-sixth Year of her Age, Anno 1675 was deposited in it. She likewise totally rebuilt the Church at Bongate (which we have before said to be a Part of this Town) and the Chapel of Brougham.
This Town hath given Birth and Education to several Men of great worth, viz.
Dr. Christopher Potter, Provost of Queens College, Oxford, Prebendary of Windsor, and Dean of Worcester, a Person of great Learning and a devout Life, comely in his Person, and exemplary in his Behavior. When the Troubles began, he was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, in which Office he was much disturbed by the factious Party of the University and Town; and when the Civil Wars broke out, he sent all his Plate to the King, saying, He would drink as Diogenes is said to do, in the Hollow of his Hand, before his Majesty should want, though he had Reason to fear, he should be stript of all his Preferments by the Enemy. One Knot, a Jesuit in his Time, published a Book which he intitled, Charity Mistaken. This Book our Doctor ansered in a Treatise, which he named, Want of Charity justly charged on all such Romanists, as affirm that Protestancy destroys Salvation Oxford 1633. Knot answered this Book in a Tract he called, Mercy and Truth, or Charity maintained by Catholicks, Anno 1634. The Doctor finding (as he said) that Controversies could no more be ended by Writing than a Fire be quenched with Oil, refused to reply, and so Mr. Chillingworth undertook Knot, and hath excellently confuted him. He died March 3 1645, and was buried in the Chapel of his College. He was nominated Dean of Durham a little before his Death, by his Majesty, but never was installed.
Christopher Bambridge, Doctor of Laws of Queens College in Oxford, Dean of York, Bishop of Durham, and at length Archbishop of York; he was sent Ambassador by King Hen. VIII to Rome, where he so managed Affairs, that he procured his Master to take Part with the Pope, against Lewis, King of France, for which Piece of Service the Pope took himself so much obliged to him, that he created him Cardinal of St. Praxis; but he enjoyed this Honour but a small Time; for falling out with his Steward Rivaldus de Modena, an Italian, and caning him for his Faults, the revengeful Italian poisoned him, and so he died July 14, 1511 and was buried at Rome.
Thomas de Appleby, who was legally chosen Bishop of Carlisle by all, that had any Right of Election, but was so timerous, that he durst not own the Choice, till he had obtained his Confirmation from the Court of Rome, and then being consecrated, Anno 1363. sat thirty-three Years in it, for he deceased December 5 1395. Roger de Appleby, who went over into Ireland, and there became Prior of St. Peter's near Trimme, which House was founded by Simon de Rupe sorti, Bishop of Meath. He was at length preferred by the Pope to the Bishoprick of Ossory in that Kingdom, and died Anno 1404."