APPLEBY, a market town and municipal borough, and the county town of Westmorland, England, in the Appleby parliamentary division, 276 m. N.N.W. from London, on the Midland and a branch of the North Eastern railways. Pop. (1901) 1764. It is picturesquely placed in the valley of the Eden, which is richly wooded, and flanked on the north-east by spurs of Milburn Forest and Dufton and other fells, which rise up to 2600 ft. On a hill above the town stands the castle, retaining a fine Norman keep and surrounded by a double moat, now partly laid out as gardens. The remainder of the castle was rebuilt as a mansion in the 17th century. It was held for the royalists in the civil wars by Sir Philip Musgrave, and was the residence of Anne, countess of Pembroke, the last of the family of Clifford, which had great estates in this part of England. St Ann's hospital for thirteen poor women (1654) was of her foundation. The grammar school (1453) was refounded by Queen Elizabeth. The modern incorporation dates from 1885, with a mayor, four aldermen and twelve councillors. Area, 1876 acres.
Appleby is not mentioned in any Saxon records, but after the Conquest it rose to importance as the head of the barony of Appleby which extended over the eastern portion of the present county of Westmorland. This barony formed part of the province of Carlisle granted by Henry I. to Ranulf Meschin, who erected the castle at Appleby and made it his place of residence. Appleby is a borough by prescription, and the old charter of incorporation, granted in the first year of James II., was very shortly abandoned. In 1292 we find the mayor and commonalty claiming the right to elect a coroner and to have tolls of markets and fairs. In 1685 the governing body comprised a mayor, aldermen, a town clerk, burgesses of the common council, a coroner and subordinate officers. An undated charter from Henry II. conceding to the burgesses the customs of York, Was confirmed in 1 John, 16 Henry III., 14 Edward I., and 5 Edward III. John granted the borough to the burgesses for a fee-farm rent. The impoverishment caused by the Scottish raids led to its seizure by Edward II. for arrears of payment, but Edward III. restored it on the same terms as before. Henry VIII. reduced the fee-farm rent from 20 marks to 2 marks, after an inquisition which found that Appleby was burnt by the Scots in 1388 and that part of it still lay in ruins. The town, however, never seems to have regained its prosperity, and 16th and 17th century writers speak of it as a poor and insignificant village. Appleby returned two members to parliament from 1295 until disfranchised by the Reform Act of 1832. The market and the St Lawrence fair are held by prescription. James I. granted an additional fair on the second Thursday in April. In the early 18th century Appleby was celebrated for the best corn-market in the country.
See Victoria County History, Westmorland; W. Hewitson, Appleby Charters (Cumberl. and Westm. Antiq. and Archaeol. Soc., Transactions, xi. 279-285; Kendal, 1891).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)