Appleby Castle, a battle between Royals, Barons and Parliament.

By Oliver Swann, Editor      

When Ivo Taillebois was granted the Barony of Kendal in 1092 by William II he was given a chunk of Westmorland where in Appleby, as Lord of Westmorland, he built a ringwork-and-bailey fortification. Ivo's decision where to build was not entirely one of his own making since the site had been a Roman signal station on the York-Carlisle road a thousand years earlier.

The castle's keep, as we know it today, was not built by Ivo but rather by Ranulf le Meschin around 1100. After lots of intrigue, back stabbing, power struggles and battles, David I of Scotland took control of Westmorland and the settlement at Appleby later granting the castle to Hugh de Morville around 1138.

Westmorland had seen the Scottish English border pass over its lands like tides on a shoreline. In 1157, somewhat like Cnut trying to turn back the tide, Henry II of England forced Malcolm III of Scotland to restore the northern English territories back into English control. It didn't last long..


1173 brought more toing and froing at the border when King William the Lion of Scotland invaded northern England making a dawn raid on Appleby Castle which immediately surrendered, only to be recaptured a year later by Henry II. Henry kept the castle until 1179 when he granted it to Ranulph de Glanville, Sheriff of Yorkshire. It was either Henry II or Ranulph who heightened the walls of the keep and replaced the wooden rampart with a stone wall.

Now, with the castle is firmly in English hands, its ownership bounced between royalty, barony and briefly the people (the Round Heads).


In 1189 King John gained control of the castle and passed it on to three generations of the de Vieuxpont barony ending with Isabella de Vieuxpont who married Rodger Clifford.

Four generations of the Cliffords owned the castle from the late 14th century to the mid 17th century, with a bit of a hic-up in between when it was taken by Edward IV and granted to Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Anne Clifford restored the castle and built other Appleby landmarks like the almshouses on Boroughgate.

In 1651 England was invaded by a Royalist army headed by Charles II and accordingly Appleby Castle was occupied by a


Parliamentary force under General Thomas Harrison. The invasion crisis was short-lived and came to an end when the Royalists were defeated at the Battle of Worcester (1651). Lady Anne Clifford was able to reoccupy the castle and continue her restoration work until her death in 1676.

After Lady Anne the castle went to the Earls of Thanet who rebuilt the eastern range between 1686 and 1688 using material plundered from the nearby Brough and Brougham castles. In 1849 the castle passed to Richard Tufton and it remained with his descendants until 1962 when it was sold with most of the homes on Boroughgate to private buyers.