Appleby Flooding

Posted 30th December 2015 by Maggie Clowes

Rumour has it that following the horrific flood on December 5th the bridge linking the two parts of the town will be closed since it is said to have shifted Until the coming of the Normans the only way to cross the Eden was by the ford at Bongate. Once the Norman lord arrived and built his castle a bridge was needed.

It is not clear whether this first bridge was timber or stone but certainly by 1382 Appleby boasted a ‘stanebrig”, 13’ wide with two arches, built of sandstone. References to repairs occur at regular intervals. There was a gatehouse at the town end which housed a chantry chapel . After the Reformation this was converted into a gaol where the Quaker, Francis Howgill was imprisoned.

By 1888 the bridge had been damaged by so many floods that it needed to be replaced. There were the usual arguments - was it to be an iron bridge or a stone bridge, who was going to pay - the County Council or Appleby Corporation. In the end the county paid and the new bridge was built - of stone - but not before another flood washed away the foundations. I have a feeling that the contractor got washed away as well but that information is held in our archive which is on the other side of the bridge!