History of this 12th-century castle...


Romans built a signal station on the cliff overlooking the ford on the River Eden, close to the road from York (Eboracum) to Carlisle (Luguvallium).


Romans left Britain.


Urien, King of Rheged, was lord of the valley of Lyvennet, a few miles west of Appleby.


Part of the Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. An independent British kingdom of Cumbria remained in the northern Lake District.


Over-run by Danes under Halfdan. Orm settled at Ormside nearby.


Appleby founded as a Danish settlement, the name meaning ‘apple-place’.


Granted to King of Scotland by King Edmund of England, following conquest of all Cumbria.


King William Rufus of England occupied Cumbria and installed Ivo Taillebois as first Norman Lord of Westmorland. Ivo began building first motte and bailey castle earthwork.


Ranulf le Meschin completed earthworks and probably built first stone keep.


Ceded to Scots. Hugh de Morville and his son, also Hugh, in succession granted Barony of Westmorland.


Henry II regained Appleby and confirmed the grant to the younger Hugh de Morville – one of the knights who later murdered Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury.


De Morville supported a rebellion by Henry’s son, who allied himself with the Scots.


King William the Lion of Scotland captured Appleby Castle in a dawn raid, aided by the garrison. The castle and tower were recorded by Jordan Fantosme in his chronicle, showing both were present. The constable, Gospatric, son of Orm and grandson of Gospatric, a Scottish Earl, was fined five hundred marks for surrendering. Hugh de Morville’s estates were forfeited. Appleby returned to the Crown.


Henry II granted the castle and the Honour of Westmorland to Ranulph de Glanville, Sheriff of Yorkshire. Some time between 1175 and 1189 the keep was raised, the curtain walls rebuilt in stone, and a great hall was built at the eastern end of the bailey.


Richard the Lionheart took the castle back into royal possession and rebuilt the bridge over the moat in 1198.


King John gave the Barony of Westmorland, including the castle, to his henchman Robert de Vipont, nephew of Hugh de Morville, whose family held it for 100 years. The round tower on the north side dates from this period.


The second Robert de Vipont took part in Simon de Montfort’s rebellion against Henry III. He died a rebel in 1264 and his estates were seized by King Henry III. His daughters Isabella and Idonea were placed under the King’s guardianship.


Wardship of Isabella was granted to Roger Clifford the elder – who obtained pardon for treason of his ward’s father.


Roger Clifford the younger, who married Isabella de Vipont by 1275, was in possession of Appleby Castle and the manor of Brougham, while Roger de Leyburn, husband of Idonea, held Brough and Pendragon.


Edward I visited Appleby, lodging at the friary.


Robert Clifford, first Lord Clifford, one of the English commanders, was killed at Bannockburn.


During Scottish raids, Appleby town was burnt - the castle held out against Scots in four attacks.


Roger, second Lord Clifford, rebelled against King Edward II and was wounded and captured. He escaped execution but his lands were forfeited. Appleby Castle was briefly held by Andrew de Harcla before his execution for treason.


King Edward II was overthrown and succeeded by his son King Edward III. Peace with Scotland. Robert, 3rd Lord Clifford, brother of Roger, was restored to family estates, including Appleby Castle.


Death of Idonea de Leyburn without children. Her lands passed to Robert Clifford, who entertained King Edward Balliol of Scotland at Brougham.


Roger, fifth Lord Clifford inherited the castle and carried out further works there.


During major Scottish raids, Appleby town laid waste, but the castle seems to have held out and not been captured, though it was described as ‘ruinous’ in 1391.


Thomas Clifford, son of Roger, died on crusade. Appleby Castle was said to be “ruinous”.


John, seventh Lord Clifford, built the great gatehouse and probably restored the rest of the castle.


John Clifford fought at Againcourt. Castle was used as court and prison.


John Clifford was killed at the Siege of Meaux.


Thomas, 8th Lord Clifford, undertook major building works at the castle, reconstructing the great hall, kitchen, chapel, great chamber and other main rooms in the eastern range and building square towers at either end of the range.


Thomas Clifford was killed at the 1st Battle of St Albans, possibly by Richard Neville Earl of Warwick (‘Warwick the Kingmaker’).


John Clifford assumed his father’s lands and titles, becoming a major Lancastrian leader in the North.


There were further Scots raids. No assizes (Royal Court sessions) at Appleby.


John Clifford killed the Duke of York and his young son, the Earl of Rutland, earning the nick-name ‘The Butcher’.


John Clifford was killed in battle. Lancastrian cause was destroyed at Towton. John Clifford was attainted (declared traitor) by Yorkist King Edward IV.


Lordship of Westmorland was held by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III). Appleby Castle was probably in the hands of Sir John Parr of Kendal.


Battle of Bosworth. Yorkist Richard III was defeated, Tudor Henry VII restored the castle to Henry, 10th Lord Clifford, known as the ‘Shepherd Lord’.


Shepherd Lord, Henry Clifford died.


Henry, 11th Lord Clifford, was made 1st Earl of Cumberland by his childhood friend, King Henry VIII.


Rebellion in the North known as ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’. Henry Clifford defended Skipton and his son, Sir Thomas, defended Carlisle.


Appleby was described by Leland as “a poor village, having a ruinous Castle wherein the prisoners be kept”.


Lady Anne Clifford was born at Skipton, the only surviving child of George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland, famous sea-captain and champion to Queen Elizabeth.


George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, died leaving estates to his brother the 4th Earl. Lady Anne was disinherited.


Lady Anne Clifford married Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset.


There was a furious dispute over Westmorland estates. King James I confirmed Lady Anne’s dispossession.


Earl of Dorset died.


Lady Anne married Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery.


Lady Anne inherited the Westmorland and Yorkshire estates on the death of her cousin, the 5th Earl of Cumberland. However, she was unable to visit them because of the Civil War.


Lady Anne at last travelled to Skipton and onwards to Appleby following a lull in the Civil War and the execution of King Charles I.


Lady Anne began the restoration of Appleby Castle, inserting a cross-wall in the keep and adding the corner turrets. Civil War flared up and the castle was occupied by a Parliamentary army under the Regicide, General Thomas Harrison.


Lady Anne continued building work in Appleby, completing the Hospital of St Anne and restoring St Lawrence’s Church.


The restoration of King Charles II was celebrated in Appleby, with Lady Anne the ‘great lady’ of Westmorland.


Lady Anne Clifford died at Brougham Castle.


The main eastern range of the castle was rebuilt by Lady Anne’s grandson, Thomas 6th Earl of Thanet, fourth son of her daughter Margaret.


The castle was the country seat of the Earls of Thanet (3rd Earl married Lady Anne’s eldest daughter).


The 11th and last Earl of Thanet died, unmarried, in France. The castle and estate were passed to his illegitimate son, Richard Tufton, born in 1813, who became a British subject and was made a Baronet in 1851.


Henry Tufton, son of Sir Richard, was created first Baron Hothfield (of Hothfield in Kent) and became closely involved with Appleby.


Hothfield family sold the castle to a private buyer.


Castle was sold to Ferguson International plc who used it as their headquarters. Castle opened to the public.


Castle was sold to a private buyer.


Public enquiry into plans for development of the castle. Foot and Mouth ravaged Cumbria.


Castle was owned solely by Mrs Nightingale – the first female owner since Lady Anne Clifford.


Castle re-opened for guided tours, conferences and weddings.