Appleby In Westmorland

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Appleby

Historic Market Town

Appleby-in-Westmorland is a town and civil parish in Cumbria, in North West England. It is situated within a loop of the River Eden and has a population of 3,048.  It is in the historic county of Westmorland, of which it is the traditional county town. The town’s name was simply Appleby, until the local government changes of 1974. When a successor parish was formed for the former borough of Appleby, the council effected a change in the town’s name, to preserve the historic county’s name.

The annual Appleby Horse Fair, held regularly the first week of June, with the main crowds on the weekends. It brings about 10000 Gypsies and Irish Travellers and 30000 other people from all over Britain to the town. The earliest record of the fair, a charter from Henry II, is from the 12th century but it is believed to have a longer tradition.

Appleby was a parliamentary borough, electing two Members of Parliament, from medieval times; by the 18th century it had become a pocket borough, the nomination of its MPs effectively being in the gift of the Lowther family. Its representatives included William Pitt the Younger, who was MP for Appleby when he became Prime Minister in 1783 (although he stood down at the following general election when he was instead elected for Cambridge University). A later member for Appleby was Viscount Howick, subsequently (as Earl Grey) the Prime Minister whose administration passed the Great Reform Act of 1832; but Grey’s history as a former MP for the town did not save it from losing both its members under the Act. As the only county town to be disfranchised, Appleby was one of the more controversial cases in the debates on the reform bill, the opposition making unsuccessful attempts to amend the bill so as to save at least one of its MPs. In 1885, town was granted a new charter.

The town remained a municipal borough, until this status was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972, and superseded by Eden district, based in Penrith. Although having the status of a municipal borough, it was a lot smaller in size and population than most urban districts in the country. It had, however, a larger population than some early Westmorland urban districts including Grasmere and Shap.

Although Appleby was the county town of Westmorland, the former county council sat in Kendal, even though the Assize Courts were in Appleby. town remained a municipal borough, until this status was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972, and superseded by Eden district, based in Penrith. Although having the status of a municipal borough, it was a lot smaller in size and population than most urban districts in the country. It had, however, a larger population than some early Westmorland urban districts including Grasmere and Shap.