Ivo Taillebois seems to have acquired Kendal and Appleby during the time of King William II's annexation of the lordship of Carlisle in 1092.  After Ivo's death in the period 1094 to 1097, Appleby lordship seems to have passed with his widow, Lucy Bolingbroke (d.1138), first to Roger Fitz Gerold and then around 1098 to her third husband, Ranulf le Meschin (d.1129).  Around the same time as his marriage, Ranulf was invested with the lordship of Carlisle and soon afterwards, possibly around 1106, he founded Wetheral (Wetherhala) priory as a house of St Mary's abbey, York.  The churches of St Michael Bongate and St Lawrence Burgate in his castellum of Appleby were amongst the original endowments.  Around the same time a charter
recording Ranulf's gift mentions ‘my castle of Appleby'.  The early date of the foundation of Wetheral may suggest that Ranulf had inherited the castle, rather than founded it.

On Earl Ranulf of Chester's death in 1120, it is thought that King Henry I (1100-35) resumed Carlisle lordship when he made Ranulf le Meschin earl of Chester in his cousin's place.  However, there is no direct evidence as to when this happened although it was certainly before 1122 when the king went to view his town of Carlisle.  On acquiring the lordship the king is thought to have reorganised the Meschin fief into a northern and a southern sphere, Appleby was apparently subsumed into what was to become Westmorland.  King Henry also made a grant to Wetheral priory of all the pasture between the River Eden and the highway called High Street running from Appleby to Carlisle, both quite obviously being in the king's hand at this time.  The fortress was still in royal hands at September 1129, when someone whose name is unfortunately illegible, rendered 40s and paid 20s so he could be made porter of Appelbi castle.

With the death of King Henry I in December 1135 England slowly collapsed into Anarchy (1136-54).  In this period William Fitz Duncan (d.1152/54), made himself master of the north-west of England under the rule of King David of Scotland (1124-53).  As such William became lord of Cockermouth, Egremont, Lancaster and Clitheroe.  The status of Appleby is unknown and it may have fallen to either King David or Earl William.  After the deaths of King David and his nephew, William Fitz Duncan, King Henry II (1154-89), persuaded King Malcolm of Scotland (1153-65) to return the northern counties to him at Peak castle in 1157.  Presumably at this point Appleby castle reverted to being a royal fortress although nothing is ever recorded of it in the royal records apart from a man, Ulf Appleby, paying 1m (13s 4d) in the lordship of Carlisle in 1163 and an Elias Appleby 2m (£1 6s 8d) in 1172.  Presumably the castle was in the custody of the sheriff of Carlisle, although a local English landowner, Gospatric Fitz Orm (d.1185), seems to have been its constable.  Certainly no expenditure was recorded at the castle under Henry II (1154-89).  As such the sheriff may simply have paid for its maintenance out of hand before the county of Cumberland was actually created.

Gospatric was the grandson of Chetell Fitz Eldred who was apparently lord of Kendal early in the reign of King Henry I (1100-35).  Chetell had at least 2 children and one, Orm Fitz Ketel, married Gunnilda the daughter of Earl Gospatric of Dunbar (d.1074), a onetime lord of Carlisle.  Gospatric held many lands in Allerdale and Coupland and as such witnessed charters for Alan Fitz Waltheof of Cockermouth before 1150 as well as for Prince Henry of Scotland (d.1152).  He also made a grant of Flimby (Flemingby) to Holmcultram abbey to discharge all the services due from the land to both the king and the lord of Allerdale and agreed to do for the monks all foreign and terrene service, viz. noutegeld and endemot to the king and sewake and castelwerke due to the lord of the fee, as well as to answer all pleas and aids, customs and exactions.  Gospatric married Egeliva Engaine before 1153.  She was the granddaughter of Robert Trevers who had been made lord of Burgh by Sands by Ranulf le Meschin (d.1129) when he was lord of Carlisle.  This made Gospatric the grandnephew of Ranulf, the lord of Carlisle until 1120 and lord of Appleby as well as his brother, William le Meschin, lord of Egremont.  It also made Gospatric granduncle to Hugh Morville (d.1201), the lord of Brough castle and possible farmer of Westmorland up to the war of 1173-74.  Gospatric was also half uncle to Waltheof Fitz Gospatric, the lord of Cockermouth.  In short, he was a well connected man.

Gospatric survived the transfer of Cumberland and Westmorland to the control of King Henry II (1154-89) in 1157 and so appeared in the pipe roll of 1158 under Carlisle barony when he owed and paid the county 20s.  He was then a fairly regular debtor in the local pipe roll, although he was not mentioned anywhere in relation to Appleby.  However, he was certainly commanding the fortress in July 1174 when he surrendered it without resistence to King William of Scotland (1165-1214).  For this act of treachery to Henry II (d.1189) he was fined, when the war was over in 1176, 500m (£333 6s 8d) for his misdeed in surrendering the king's castle of Appleby to the Scottish king.  Although Gospatric was obviously the garrison commander, he was not the only person found guilty of this crime for 23 other men were also charged with advising the surrender of the fortress.  Presumably this was the entire garrison and clearly most were of different social status as their fines varied.

Fantosme tells the sorry story of the fall of Appleby castle told so briefly in other chronicles.  After Robert Vaux (d.1194) had successfully beat King William (d.1214) away from Carlisle the king returned and forced Robert to send a messenger to King Henry II (d.1189) stating that he must surrender if not relieved by a certain time.  At this King William set off for Appleby where:

There were no people in it: therefore he took it speedily.
The king had very soon the castle of Appleby;
There were no people in it, but it was quite unguarded.
Gospatric Fitz Horm, an old grey-headed Englishman,
Was the constable; he soon cried mercy.
The king had then forgot his sorrow
When he had the castle and tower of Appleby.

With the fortress surrendered King William with Roger Mowbray (d.1188) set some sergeants in it and appointed 3 constables before setting off for Brough castle.  From this tale told by a contemporary it can be seen that the attack on Appleby was hardly a surprise as attacks had been going on in the North for months.  Similarly, a defence, though rather half-hearted, was put up at Brough, though again the fortress seems to have been rather surprised.  After the fall of both castles Robert Vaux is said to have commented in a message to the justiciar, Richard Lucy (d.1179, the father of Reginald Lucy (d.1200) of Egremont):

That Appleby has been taken in the morning,
and the castle of Brough, which is not much worse.
I have now from no part either aid or succour,
and I think well that the king (William) will give me hard treatment.

This in itself brings some question of doubt into Fantosme's story for Appleby is 30 miles from Carlisle and although a cavalry force could do that distance in a morning, an infantry force moving at some 2 miles an hour would take a good day and a half unless they marched hard well into the evening.  However, as Brough is under 7 miles from Appleby it is quite feasible that one surrendered in the morning and the other fell before nightfall.  That said there must have been sufficient warning for garrisons to reach both castles from the surrounding lands and the fines levied for the fall of Appleby suggest that a garrison was within the fortress and that they decided not to fight.  It also appears apparent that both castles belonged to the office of sheriff of Carlisle and therefore that both were under the control of Robert Vaux.  The collapse of their resistence would therefore suggest that Robert was let down as well as the king and that the surrender may have been premeditated.

Whether the fall of Appleby was planned or accidental, Gospatric's treachery seems to have upset at least one other local lord, for in 1176, William Fitz William [probably the lord of Kendal] fined 30m (£20) for having a duel against Gospatric in Yorkshire.  It is to be presumed that Gospatric used a champion for the fight, for he certainly survived any conflict and finally died in 1185 when he was at least 56 years old, which would hardly have made him a grey-headed warrior in 1173.  With Gospatric's disgrace in 1174 it has been suggested that the king passed the custody of Appleby castle to Robert Stuteville of Cottingham (d.1186), although there appears no contemporary source to back this claim. 

In 1177 it was specifically recorded that Gospatric Fitz Orm had committed a misdeed when he surrendered the king's castle of Appleby to the Scottish king.  This therefore shows that the castle was considered a royal fortress between 1157 and 1177.  Similarly in 1179, it was recorded under Northumberland that the burgesses of Appelbia paid 40m (£26 13s 4d)  for having a charter of liberties the same as those held by York.  This again shows that the manor and therefore the castle were in the royal prerogative.  That Hugh Morville (d.1201) held a major interest in the custody of Westmorland up to 1173 is suggested by the pipe roll entries after the Young King's war of 1173-74, particularly the statement in the latter year that the sheriff had accounted for the stock of Hugh Morville in the land of Westmorland.  Similarly in 1176 it was recorded that Robert the dapifer of Hugh Morville owed the Crown 100s for his part in rendering Appleby castle to the king of Scots.  Presumably Robert or Gospatric was Morville's constable of the castle and such a division of office may account for the Scots placing 3 constables in the castle on its capture.  It was only in the next reign of Richard I (1189-99) that this Hugh Morville, the cousin of the Hugh who helped killed Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, regained some of his old power and influence in Cumberland and Westmorland.  Quite obviously several local lords suffered an eclipse due to their actions in the war of 1173-74.

After its fall to the Scots Appleby castle was soon surrendered back to royal representatives, in this case Ranulf Glanville who seems to have held Westmorland from at least 1175 until March 1190.  On 13 July 1174, it had been to Ranulf personally that King William of Scotland had surrendered.  Possibly this surrender left Ranulf as lord of Westmorland with Appleby and Brough castles as a reward.  Glanville attended the coronation of the new King Richard I (1189-99) on 3 September 1189, but around the same time was forced to pay £15,000 for the king's goodwill presumably as he had so assiduously served King Henry II in his wars against Richard.  In any case Ranulf accompanied the royal crusade, but died a natural death at Acre on their arrival there before 21 October 1190. 

After Ranulf Glanville's 1190 removale fromWestmorland the was granted to 1190 resumption by the Crown, Appleby castle appeared in 1194 and 1198 when £2 was spent on works at the fortress on both occasions.  Similarly 8s was spent on the houses of Appleby in 1195.  Presumably these were within the castle.  In 1197 £2 was spent on repairing the castle bridge.  These are the first royal monies known to have been spent on the castle and obviously show that no building work was undertaken by royal command during the reign of Henry II (1154-89).

When King John assumed the throne in May 1199 he was somewhat fearful of relations with the Scots.  Consequently the garrisoning of potentially vulnerable castles was undertaken in the North.  This resulted in £80 being spent on the supplying of the northern castles of Appleby, Carlisle, Pontefract and Bamburgh.  A further £5 was spent on repairs to Appleby castle.  The next year, 1200, £22 15s 1d was spent on repairing Appleby and Brough castles by the view of Thomas Fitz Gospatric, Ivo Johaneby and Hugh Fitz Gernagan.  A further amount was spent on 9 tons of wine and 100 bacons of which the bacons and 6 tons of the wine stayed at Appleby at a cost of £28 16s 8d.  Later the same year a further 10m (£6 13s 4d) was spent on repairs to both castles.  In 1201 the strengthening of Appleby and Brough castles cost £19 176s 5d through the view of William Denton and Robert Newby.  With that royal expenditure on the castles ceased.

On 21 February 1203, the king informed his lieges that he had given to Robert Vipont (d.1228) ‘custody of our castles of Appleby and Brough with all purtenances...'  Before this Robert had been one of King John's staunchest supporters in Normandy, having been present at the battle of Mireabeau where Prince Arthur was taken.  Later in the year he took custody of Arthur at Rouen before his disappearance in early April.  This seems hardly coincidental with King John announcing on 21 February 1203 that he had given custody to Robert both Appleby and Brough castles and on 31 March 1203 adding to this all the bail of Westmorland.  Was the barony of Appleby given to Robert as his price for keeping quiet over the death of a prince?  The grant was converted to a grant in fief on 28 October 1203.  Robert then held the castle for the rest of his life, dying a little before 1 February 1228.  On that date the king granted the ward of the land and heir of Robert Vipont to Earl Hubert Burgh of Kent and commanded the constables of Pendragon (Malverstang), Perlethorpe (Peverelthorpe, Notts), Appleby, Brougham (Bruham) and Brough (Burgh) to give them up to the earl's men.  The heir, John Vipont, came of age on 14 February 1233, but died just 8 years later, aged 29, leaving yet another young son.  Consequently, a writ was issued on 4 August 1241 that committed Appleby and Brough castles to royal constables.  Two months later by 15 October 1241, John's mother Idonea Builli was also dead.  The next year on 1 May all John's castles and lands were granted to Bishop Walter Mauclerk of Carlisle for 600m (£400) pa until the heir came of age.  Further, the marriage and custody of John's heir, was granted to John Fitz Geoffrey for 200m (£133 6s 8d) .  John then proceeded to marry his daughter, Isabel (d.1301), to the young Robert Vipont (d.1264).  Towards the end of Robert's minority an inquisition was ordered into the waste committed to the lands formerly of John Vipont by the prior of Carlisle, while he was guardian of the heir.  Concerning Appleby this found that:

in Appleby manor there is a much deteriorated tower with its timber rotten because the prior refused to distrain the pledges the carpenters had given to John Vipont for repairing the tower and who ought to have rebuilt it.  Also the knights' chamber which was weak in the time of John, fell in the time of the prior and the timbers have reduced to nothing.  Finally the jurors believe that of the 50m (£33 6s 8d) the queen assigned for the improvement of the castle less than £10 was spent.

Robert Vipont seems to have come of age by 15 June 1252.  He subsequently took the cause of the reformers and rebelled against King Henry III (1216-72) in 1263, as was noted in royal records on 17 October 1263.  By 7 June 1264, Robert was recently dead, possibly from wounds received at the battle of Lewes on 14 May, when he was certainly in opposition to the king.  Consequently, his unnamed castles and lands were granted to John Fitz John (d.1275), his brother in law, for keeping.  Despite his treason his testament was allowed to stand.  Meanwhile his 2 heiresses were granted to royal favourites.  Roger Clifford of Eardisley (d.1282) was granted the wardship of the lands falling to the elder daughter, Isabel Vipont (d.1292), together with her marriage, while Roger Leybourne (d.1284) received the marriage of Idonea (d.1333) with her lands.  The inquest post mortem of these 4 individuals suggest that the castles were divided amongst them with Clifford having Brougham with its tower together with lands in Appleby and Brough, but these castles were not mentioned.  Conversely Leybourne was recorded as having Brough and Pendragon castles, but not Appleby.  The lack of any mention of the fortress would suggest that it was held by Clifford who also held the sheriffdom and was, of course, married to the eldest daughter.  This point is brought home with the inquest into the lands of Isabel on her death.  On 14 May 1292 a writ was issued ordering an inquest into her land holdings as one of the daughters and heirs of Robert Vipont.  In Westmorland this found that she held Appleby castle with a moiety of the county profits which was insufficient to maintain the castle, sheriff, clerks, constables and other ministers.  This rather reinforces the 1280 inquest into affairs at Appleby which found that:

While Appleby castle and the county and the town were in the hands of the king's predecessors, few writs and pleas came there and the jurors believe that the burgesses never had return of writs or other things belonging to the Crown; but after the castle and county of Westmorland were given to Robert Vipont... some bills and summons and writs were delivered to the said burgesses.

It can also be seen that the problem over Appleby was appreciated by the Crown as long ago as 11 Sept 1275, when simple protection was granted to the burgesses of Appleby for as long as the plea lasts between them and Roger Clifford Junior and Isabella as well as Roger Leybourne and Idonea his wife.  The divided lordship of Westmorland quite simply did not provide enough income for 2 lords with 4 castles to support in such a poor area and as was noted in 1282 ‘the knight fees, free tenants, or advowsons... had yet to be divided between her [Isabella Clifford] and Idonea the wife of Roger Leybourne, the other heir of Robert Vipont'.  Possibly as a consequence of this lack of funds the lordship was reunited in the next generation.

Clifford died in 1282 and Leybourne in 1284, both leaving heirs of their bodies by their Vipont wives.  Isabella died young in 1292 and on 14 July 1308, John Cromwell and his wife, Idonea Vipont, granted in fee to Robert Clifford [their nephew], Brough castle with the manors of Appleby, King's Meburne, Kirkby Stephen and Mallerstang [Pendragon] with appurtenances in the county of Westmorland.  By this act the old barony of Robert Vipont (d.1228) in Westmorland was virtually recreated in Clifford hands with Appleby at its head.  The castle was still obviously defensible, for after the battle of Bannockburn at midsummer 1314, Edward Bruce invaded England via Berwick and progressed far beyond Richmond although he attacked no castles.  On their return they burned the towns of Brough and Appleby and Kirkoswald... and the people of Copeland fearing their return and invasion sent envoys to appease them with much money.  Appleby town was apparently burned 3 more times before 1322, although the castle withstood any assaults.  In 1322 Appleby was confiscated by the Crown after the execution of Roger Clifford and the failure of the Lancaster rebellion.  Clifford's brother, Robert (1305-44), was restored by the Mortimer government of Edward III (1327-77) when he came to power.

Back in Clifford hands Appleby continued as caput of Westmorland barony, being described as 'the castle with the barony pertaining to the castle... together with the castles of Brougham and Pendragon and also the castle of Burgh under Staynesmore... held by the service of 4 knights' fees'.  The Cliffords do not seem to have maintained their castles well during the rest of the fourteenth century.  On 3 December 1383, the sheriffs of Cumberland and Westmorland were ordered:

to take stonecutters, masons and other labourers for the repair of certain castles and fortlets of Roger Clifford.... near the march of Scotland which are useful as a refuge...

This resulted in much work at Brougham and Brough, but nothing can be seen for certain at Appleby.  That nothing was done to Appleby castle at this time is implied both by the town being burned again during border raiding in 1388 and the castle being described as ruinous in 1391.

The Vipont inheritance remained in Clifford hands until the death of Lady Anne Clifford in 1676, with a brief exception during the Wars of Roses when the Nevilles intruded on the lands of their political enemies.  Lady Anne commented in her diary that Lord Thomas Clifford (1414-55) ‘built the chiefest part of [Appleby] castle towards the east, as the hall, chapel and the great chamber were then fallen into great decay'.  If true Appleby was apparently the only castle in the district upgraded during the fifteenth century.  By 1539 the castle was again recorded as ruinous when Leland rode by.  The final indignity came in 1569 when the fortress was deroofed to stop its potential use by the rebels so that ‘not one chamber [remained] habitable' according to the Lady Anne.  She had acquired the castle in 1649 and soon began substantial modifications.  These involved stabilising the keep by inserting a crosswall, adding corner turrets to the structure as well as apparently demolishing the ringwork wall towards the outer bailey and filing in its ditch.  After occupation by Parliamentary troops in 1651 and possibly the destruction of the east gatehouse by slighting, Anne reoccupied the castle and continued restoration works.  Later in 1686-88 the eastern range was rebuilt with materials plundered from Brough and Brougham castles.  Today the castle is used as a hotel.


Appleby occupies a defensive position in a loop of the River Eden, making its position somewhat like Durham 40 miles away, Warkworth 65 miles away, Roxburgh 70 miles away and Shrewsbury 150 miles away on the Welsh borders.  At Appleby the loop of the river is wide with the neck being 1,100' across at its narrowest, but 1,600' where the castle is, further up the neck.  The castle earthworks themselves only cover some 700' of that 1,600' gap, the rest supposedly covered by the Doomgate Syke, a muddy stream.  At Durham the neck is only 700' wide and the castle covers some 400' of that.  At Warkworth the neck is nearly 700' across, but the castle has its bailey projecting out of the neck, rather than across it.  At Roxburgh the neck is some only a little over 400' across while there is no motte, merely a ridge end site running into the neck and about 200' across.  At Shrewsbury the gap is 800' while the castle covers 400'.  In all 3 cases the castles cover about 50% of the river neck.

Appleby would appear to be a pre-Norman settlement with its parish church on the north-east side of the River Eden centred on St Michael's church.  When the Normans arrived they founded a new linear borough in the loop of the river, based on the twin pillars of St Lawrence's church towards the head of the river loop and the castle to the south, half blocking the river neck.  Presumably this was the work of Ivo Taillebois (d.1094/7), the castle being planted on a slight rise of ground which is claimed to be the site of a Roman station of some description, although the castle stands some 2/3 of a mile south of the Roman road from Brough to Brougham.  In 1967 a square Roman well was uncovered in the east range basement, though whether this was part of a settlement or fort is debatable.

The main defence of Appleby castle was initially a ringwork about 190' in internal diameter, the eastern portion of its ditch supposedly being infilled by the Lady Anne Clifford (d.1676).  This ward was attached to the river bluff to the east by a large rectangular bailey approximately 220' east to west by 160' north to south.  The whole was protected by a ditch up to 30' deep from the berm and which surrounded the site apart from to the east where the river line provided the defence.  The northern front of the castle was protected by 2 further outworks, all protected by ditches up to 15' deep that were probably originally water filled moats.  To the north-east lay an eye shaped enclosure, or middle ward, which connected directly to the outer ward lying north-west of the ringwork.  There was a further raised glacis protecting the south side of the outer ward, ringwork and inner ward.

The Keep
Lying roughly centrally in the ringwork, the keep, in modern times called Caesar's Tower, stands 45' square with 4 pilaster corner buttresses and walls about 7' thick.  In its current form it is about 80' high.  The original work had 3 stories and its parapet is now fossilised under a later upper storey.  In 1651-53, to stop the collapse of the structure, Lady Anne had a crosswall added to increase the structural stability.  Even so several large cracks can be seen in the ashlar walls.  These themselves consist of the smaller, squarish blocks that appear in several Northern castles.

The basement and first floor are predominantly built of red sandstone ashlar with some grey sandstone.  Above the chamfered first floor offset the work becomes mainly grey ashlar with some red.  Despite this, the similarity of the rectangular twin windows set within Romanesque arches suggests that the whole is of one build, or the design was standardised at a later date.  The positioning of the loops would indicate that the tower basement has been partially buried after its construction.  Certainly there is now no trace of a batter which would normally be expected to be visible at the base of any tower.

The basement has 2 narrow, Romanesque double splayed loops equidistantly set in the north and south walls, although the western loop in the north wall has been destroyed to make way for a doorway.  The west wall is blind, but in the east wall are 2 openings.  That to the north would appear to have been a loop, but it has been much altered.  To the south is what looks like an original, if heightened entrance door.  Like the windows in the floors above, externally it has a fine Romanesque arch.  All these features appear to be original.  At this level a spiral stair begins in the south-east buttress, leaving very thin walls to the turret.

The first floor is entered from the east via a narrow doorway some 6' above the current ground level.  This has been lowered in height as can be seen from the infilling above the late arch.  There is no trace of a forebuilding and although the arch has been replaced the door jambs appear original.  Against this is the fact that this doorway does not have a recessed Romanesque arch like the windows or the ground floor doorway.  Possibly this is an insertion.  As this doorway is in place where a window should have been - they are set in pairs in all the other walls of this floor and in all the walls on the floor above - it again seems possible that this doorway is a later insertion, although the arch of the door is several feet beneath where it should be if there had been a window here earlier. 

The keep windows in the first and second floors all have 2, apparently original, twin rectangular windows set in Romanesque external wall recesses.  This style is unique to Appleby, although some windows in the keep at Scarborough show similar external wall recesses, but with different style windows within.  The spiral stair from the basement exists into this room via a short mural passage.  This corner and that of the south-west corner are chamfered off to allow more space for the two vices set within.  Why there are 2 stairways in this keep is unknown, for this is unusual for such a small keep, although they do turn in different directions.  Perhaps one stair was planned for counterattack if the lower floor fell to an attacker, but this would have been a lot of effort for a small keep.  The south-western vice is accessed via the embrasure of the westernmost of the south wall windows and a garderobe is set in the north-east buttress.

The second floor appears similar to the first, but with a full suite of 8 identical window embrasures, with none of the windows offset, which occurs in the floor below.  These 3 floors marked the extent of the accommodation within the original tower, although the walls were carried up for some distance to cover the original twin pent roof, of which some creasings remain in the more modern floors above.  Originally there were no fireplaces, but these have been added into the seventeenth century crosswall.  Once more the southern corners of the room have been chamfered off to give more room for the vices, but here both stairs exit into the window embrasures in the east and west walls.  Externally the vices are lit by Romanesque lancet windows which cease before the original battlements are reached.

The keep is an unusual affair, but bears some resemblance to the tower-keeps at Brougham, Carlisle 65 miles away and
and Helmsley.  It is possible, judging from the splayed basement windows and the apparently original ground floor entrance, that the tower was initially a single floor hall which was then extended upwards.  A similar occurrence happened with the conversion of an early hall into a keep at Portchester castle.  The possibility of the keep being of 3 separate building stages is enhanced by the chamfered offset above the first floor marking a possible change in style.  The window recesses above are slightly taller and the stone has more grey than red.  Regardless of whether the first tower consisted of 2 or 3 floors originally, at some point in the middle ages the keep was increased in height and later still the upper stage was divided into more unlit rooms, although 4 small rectangular windows were inserted, probably in the seventeenth century, to north and south.  The 2 spiral staircases in the 2 southern buttresses rise to battlement height, exiting from shoulder-headed turret doorways which suggest a date of 1250-1350 for the heightening of the keep and the building of the 4 garrets.  The current looped merlons are probably seventeenth century.

The Inner Ward
The inner enceinte forms an irregular polygon around the keep.  This consists of a wall about 8' thick having a diameter of some 190' standing as it does atop the ringwork.  Most of this wall is now gone, but the section from the fifteenth century northern buttress survives to the west turret as an ashlar wall topped with later seventeenth century work.  After this the wall is rubble work, which is possibly a seventeenth century rebuild.  Another fragment exists to the south-east where it continues eastwards as the southern curtain of the outer ward.  The section of wall between these 2 original pieces was probably replaced by Lady Anne Clifford who is also claimed to have destroyed the eastern section and filled in the ringwork ditch on this front.  Presumably there was once a gateway here too, although it should be noted that Clitheroe has a somewhat similar layout, but the ‘inner ward' section appears never to have been more than 3/4 enclosed just like Appleby is now.

The Outer Ward
The outer ward contains some more fragments of early castle, the bulk of which consists of elements of the much damaged south curtain wall.  The east end of this was much altered, both in the fifteenth century and by the Lady Anne in the seventeenth, and would suggest the original enceinte covered much the same ground as today.  The south curtain contains much ashlar facing similar to that found in the north-western section of the inner ward, although there is much rubble patching and replacement.  A plan of 1754 had 2 D shaped towers on this front, their positions still being marked by doorways in the curtain and some slight remains of the central, westernmost one.  The more eastern tower may be fantastical as the doorway here appears later and there are no further traces of stonework, unlike at the site of the central tower which appears to have had a diameter of some 22'.  East of the possibly fantastical tower was an internal building built against the curtain.  Some corbels and a window remain of this.

The only other fragment of early work in the outer ward would seem to be the postern and a fragment of associated walling to the north.  The postern consists of 2 slight buttresses thrusting beyond the line of the curtain and allowing a portcullis with Romanesque arch to be positioned before the main Romanesque gateway.  The masonry is a rubble build tending towards ashlar, while the associated ashlar to the north consists of more smaller, squarer blocks, all made of red sandstone.  The curtain also has a single chamfered offset which is lacking on the postern.  Possibly they are of 2 different builds, with the gate being younger than the curtain.

There was probably once a main gatehouse centrally in the north curtain wall where a causeway now crosses the ditch.  A great gatehouse was mentioned in 1422, but was probably destroyed in the seventeenth century.  Half way between the gatehouse and the rectangular fifteenth century north-east tower stands a much altered D shaped tower.  This is 28' in diameter, was ashlar faced and had a sloping plinth.  The small, blocked crossbow loop to the east would suggest a late twelfth or early thirteenth century date.  Presumably both (or all 3) D shaped towers were part of the same construction phase.

The Main Block
In the fifteenth century the east curtain was remodelled into an L shaped block set between 2 square towers.  Possibly this was the work of Thomas Clifford (d.1455), but the idea that it was built in 1454 seems unsupported by documentary evidence.  This residence was rebuilt by Lady Anne in 1651-3 and then largely rebuilt again in 1686-88 as well as in 1695 with materials being brought from Brough and Brougham castles.  The block was once again refurbished in the nineteenth century.


Copyright©2021 Paul Martin Remfry