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Castles in Cumbria and the Lake District.Places to visit in Cumbria and the Lake DistrictHistoric places of interest in the Lake District and CumbriaThe history of the Lake District.


Appleby Castle in Appleby

Appleby Castle, Appleby, Cumbria.
Appleby Castle Keep.


Welcome to the EDGE Guide to Appleby Castle. Ranulph le Meschin probably began building Appleby Castle around 1100 passing it to the hands of the Crown when le Meschin was made Earl of Chester in 1121.

The Scots took the castle in 1136 and it was not regained by the English until 1157. Appleby was then given to Hugh de Morville, with Brough Castle not far to the south east, that had been recaptured from the Scots at the same time.

de Morville was probably responsible for the Keeps at both castles. They were then confiscated by the Crown in 1173 and kept until 1179 when Theobold de Valoines was given both castles.

In 1190 the crown again took possession. In 1203 they were given to Robert de Vipont, (a relation of Hugh de Morville), who seriously neglected both.

Both Appleby and Brough Castles changed hands again in 1269, passing to the Clifford family.

The two castles remained in Clifford control for the next 400 years, (except for the years 1461-1485 during the Wars of the Roses, when they were confiscated by the Crown). The Clifford's made many improvements to Appleby Castle, and in 1454 it was rebuilt - a very expensive undertaking.

By 1540 the castle was in 'ruinous' condition, and Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, further damaged the structure to deter the Scots from trying to take and use it as a base from which to launch further raids.

The Civil War in the 1640s inflicted further damage.

It was not until Lady Anne Clifford (a saviour of many buildings of interest on her estates), took an interest that the reconstruction work began in 1651.

Appleby Castle, Appleby, Cumbria.
The C17th facade built by Thomas Tufton.

Lady Anne died in 1679 and her grandson Thomas Tufton, Earl of Thanet, became owner of both Appleby and Brough Castles.

Appleby Castle was the subject of improvements and alterations over the period 1686-8 while Brough Castle was allowed to fall into ruin, indeed stone was taken from Brough Castle and Brougham Castle and used for the maintenance of Appleby Castle.

Map of Castles in Cumbria.

An entire holiday could be spent touring the castles of Cumbria.