History in Structure

Parish Church of St Lawrence

A Grade I Listed Building in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 54.5782 / 54°34'41"N

Longitude: -2.4915 / 2°29'29"W

OS Eastings: 368329

OS Northings: 520442

OS Grid: NY683204

Mapcode National: GBR CH1H.DM

Mapcode Global: WH92Z.P6S3

Plus Code: 9C6VHGH5+7C

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Lawrence

Listing Date: 6 June 1951

Last Amended: 1 November 2019

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1312067

English Heritage Legacy ID: 73615

ID on this website: 101312067

Location: St Lawrence's Church, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Westmorland and Furness, Cumbria, CA16

County: Cumbria

District: Eden

Civil Parish: Appleby-in-Westmorland

Built-Up Area: Appleby-in-Westmorland

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Appleby St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Tagged with: Church building Norman architecture English Gothic architecture

Find accommodation in


Anglican church, C12; porch C13; nave and aisles early C14; restored in the C17 with C18, C19 and C20 alterations. Decorated (interior) and Perpendicular (exterior).


Anglican church, C12; porch C13; nave and aisles early C14; restored in the C17 with C18, C19 and C20 alterations. Decorated (interior) and Perpendicular (exterior).

MATERIALS: coursed sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings; lead roofs, with slate to the vestry.

PLAN: a two-bay chancel and four-bay nave with a three-stage west tower and a south-west porch; full-length north and south aisles with north and south chapels; a vestry to the north west corner.

EXTERIOR: the church is situated within a loop of the River Eden at the foot of the medieval street linking the church and the castle. All window and door openings have hood moulds with label stops, and the glass is mostly leaded. The east end of the shallow-roofed chancel has stepped buttresses, a chamfered plinth and string course, and a central three-light Perpendicular window within a chamfered double-order pointed-arch. A simple pointed-arched cinquefoil window pierces the end of the south chapel and a pointed-arched window with two cinquefoil lights pierces the end of the north chapel. The north and south aisles have a plain parapet above a string course, and square-headed windows of paired trefoil lights alternating with stepped buttresses; there is a pointed-arched entrance to the south chapel, and a pair of two-light, pointed-arched windows lighting the north chapel. A clerestory with an embattled parapet rises above the aisles; it has segmental-headed windows of three trefoiled lights with pierced spandrels above the side lights alternating with buttresses, one of which on the north aisle retains a pinnacle and three on the south aisle retain stumps of others and three carved gargoyles in animal form. The three-stage west tower has thick walls of C12 masonry to its lower and mid sections, and there is a string course to the south and west elevations; the former also has a pair of loops lighting a staircase. The upper embattled stage is of large, ashlar blocks with paired square-headed belfry windows of two trefoiled lights to each face and the partial remains of a string course, with stubs of gargoyles to the corners. There are late-C17 clock faces to the south and east walls, a shoulder-arched C19 doorway to the south wall and a C19 window in west wall. A substantial embattled south porch with a lean-to roof and sundial to the parapet has a wide entrance of three moulded orders in a two-centred arch with truncated hoodmould. The outer two orders are hollowed and the middle order is enriched with dog tooth ornament; the arch rests on jambs of three orders, the central one continuing the dog-tooth ornamentation. Between the orders are the remains of moulded capitals, their shafts missing. The polygonal vestry with a shoulder-arched doorway is set between the north aisle and the tower and has a moulded plinth, stepped buttresses, square-headed windows of three cinquefoil lights with a string course and parapet above, and an octagonal stone chimney stack.

INTERIOR: there are whitewashed walls and stone flagged floors throughout, with encaustic tiles to the raised sanctuary floor. The south arcade of the chancel and the chancel arch are double-chamfered pointed-arches with quatrefoil piers; the north arcade is later. The floor has renewed red sandstone flags and a set of late-C19 choir stalls to either side placed in front of an earlier set. There are half-arches either side of the chancel arch, defining the north and south chapels which have exposed roof timbers: a rafter in the south chapel is inscribed: 'ANN CONNTESSE OF PEMBROKE IN ANO 1655 REPAIRED ALL THIS BVILDING' and a rafter in the north chapel records her initials and the date. Beneath the north chapel there is a vault reached by a set of stone steps, containing Lady Anne's lead coffin, shaped to her body. The five-bay nave has early-C14 north and south arcades which are double-chamfered and supported on quatrefoil piers, the foils more than semi-circular and with fillets. The nave has a flat plaster ceiling with Gothick panelling and roses with a decorative cast-iron truss at the west end. The tower arch at the west end is off-centre and also of early-C14 date, as is the west bay of the south aisle. The tower was not inspected but is understood to retain medieval fabric and six bells. The south aisle has a lean-to timber roof supported on two sets of corbels of C16 and C17 date. The western end of the south aisle has a heavy half arch of two chamfered orders, with filleted round shafts like those of the nave and chancel arcades; the bases of the arch are buried beneath the raised C19 century floor. The south porch has stone benches to each side and a C17 timber roof structure comprising three plain chamfered and cambered tie beams and short wall posts carried on stone corbels. The inner north arch doorway of the south porch has shafted jambs and a high segmental pointed arch of two chamfered orders with moulded hoodmoulds.

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS: traceried screens with trefoiled ogee heads occupy the north and south chancel arcades. Those to the western arches are thought to be C18 and that to the eastern arch of the south arcade is at least C16; the latter of four bays with an opening, above which are the heads of a further two bays, has large moulded mullions and a moulded and embattled middle rail and door head. A four bay screen also occupies the half-arch of the south chapel. There is an octagonal C19 font of Frosterly Marble and an octagonal C19 iron-worked pulpit and an oak-eagle lecture. C19 box pews fill the nave and aisles, and at the front on the north side of the nave are the 'Corporation Pew' and the 'Castle Pew' dating from about 1720, each with a carved panel with a coat of arms and its supporters. The Corporation Pews incorporate C18 timber detail including a Foliate Man with dragon, possibly re-used from the original organ case. In the nave above the east chancel arch is a painted board of C17 or C18 date containing the Royal Coat of Arms of Charles II. The organ within the tower arch at the west end comprises three turrets with three cherubs' heads below the cornice, surmounted by the arms of three chief benefactors, Viscount Lonsdale, Colonel Graham and Sir Richard Sandford. All of the stained glass is C19 apart from two fragments of early stained glass in the north chancel aisle east wall. Three windows in the south aisle are by Heaton, Butler & Burne and others are by William Wailes (including a depiction of St Lawrence) or Wailes & Sons.

MONUMENTS: Lady Anne Clifford's altar tomb and reredos in black and white marble is situated against the north wall of the north chapel. It comprises a black marble slab with moulded edges and a panelled base with an inscription in black, set in a plain white frame; the reredos has 24 shields of arms standing in relief. Beneath the Lady Chapel there is a vault containing the lead coffin of Lady Anne Clifford, shaped to her body. Also in the north chapel is the tomb of Margaret Countess of Cumberland: her effigy is shown resting on a base of black marble and alabaster bearing the coats of arms of her ancestors and inscriptions recording her virtues. There are several C18 tablets to the South Chapel walls and south porch.


The Church of St Lawrence was founded by Ranulph de Meschines in the early C12 as part of the ‘new town’ of Appleby. Several C19 sources suggest that the church was burned down or badly damaged during the sacking of the town by the Scots in 1174, and that it was reconstructed by 1178 on the orders of Henry II. During the relative prosperity of the C13 it is thought that the church expanded, and at around the same time a Lady Chapel was established in the south aisle; a second chapel in the north aisle was created in the early C14. In 1388 Appleby was sacked and most of the town destroyed by fire; it is thought that the church suffered significant damage during this raid. It was reconstructed in the C15 when a Perpendicular clerestory was raised over the Early English nave, and an upper stage added to the Norman tower; at the same time the Lady Chapel was also altered and extended. In the later C15 oak parclose screens were added to the chancel and a stall-front to either side.

In the early C17 Margaret Countess of Cumberland and mother of Lady Anne Clifford was buried in the chancel; her alabaster tomb is attributed to the Royal sculptor Maximilian Colt. In 1655 the church underwent a significant period of rebuilding/restoration by Lady Anne Clifford: this included work to the north and south chapels, the nave arcades, the buttresses and the roofs. This phase of restoration/rebuilding is recorded in inscriptions on rafters in the south and north chapels. In 1657, during her lifetime, Lady Anne installed her own burial monument by Thomas Stanton in the north chapel above a purpose-built vault created for her; she was buried in 1676, her body encased in lead. It is understood that in 1683 the organ in Carlisle Cathedral of 1661-2 by Roger Preston of Skipton, was gifted to the town of Appleby for use in the church. The interior of the church was remodelled during the late C18, including the installation of a west gallery, the possible installation of the gifted 1661 organ in about 1722, work to the aisle windows and new pews.

Early to mid-C19 alterations included a plaster nave ceiling in 1831 by Christopher Hodgson, a new set of six bells in 1833, significant alteration to the organ case, the addition of ten stone Gothic heads to the nave arcades, and a doorway was inserted to the south chapel. A major, but piecemeal restoration occurred between 1861 and 1863. Externally this included the restoration of all windows including those to the north and south aisles, and the building of new buttresses. Internally the columns and arches were cleaned of whitewash and the stone dressed, the nave arcade and chancel arch were underpinned and the church floor raised, re-flagged and re-seated (the C18 Corporation and Castle pews were retained). The chancel floor was raised, a new east window inserted, and the west tower was opened out and a west window inserted. The church was re-opened by Bishop Waldegrave on 24 April 1863.

Later C19 changes included the removal of the Countesses tomb from the chancel to the north chapel, revealing the burial slab of Robert Baynes, vicar in 1379. Additions included a new pulpit and a carved oak lectern, new carved choir desks, installed to the fronts of the existing choir stalls, and encaustic tiles to the chancel. In the mid-1880s a baptistery was formed in the former vestry at the west end of the church and a new font and wooden screens installed. The organ underwent major renovation and reconstruction by Holditch in 1891. C20 alterations to the church were relatively minor but the organ underwent further restoration including in 1975-6, and in 2003 it was significantly restored by Nicholson & Co under the advice of expert adviser Stephen Bicknell.

Anne Clifford, countess of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery (1590-1676), was born at Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire, the daughter of George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland and his wife Margaret. She was educated by her mother and her tutor Samuel Daniel, developing a love of literature, history, the classics and religious works. After her father’s death she spent much of her life in a long and complex legal battle to obtain the rights of her inheritance. Her fascinating story is known through her diaries and can be told through several historic places. In 1643 Anne did regain the Clifford family's lands after the death of her cousin. After the Civil War, in 1649, when she was 60 years old, Anne moved back to the north. She spent the next 26 years of her life restoring the mostly ruinous family castles to their former glory (Skipton, and the Cumbrian castles of Pendragon, Appleby, Brough and Brougham). She also restored several churches in the region including St Lawrence, Appleby, and after she was widowed a second time in 1650 she decided to make provision for other widows who were prevented by age or infirmity from supporting themselves, and built an almshouse in Appleby. Lady Anne died in 1676 at Brougham Castle, in the room where her father had been born and was buried in the vault she had built for herself in the Church of St Lawrence, Appleby.

Reasons for Listing

The Church of St Lawrence, C12 with C13 and C14 additions, restored in the C17 with C18, C19 and C20 alterations, is listed Grade I for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* an early-C12 foundation that retains significant original fabric including a reset Norman entrance and the lower parts of a defensive west tower;
* it exhibits a clear sequence of medieval phases in different architectural styles including Norman, Decorated and Perpendicular;
* taken together the handsome church evidences a long and complex structural history that is readily apparent within its historic fabric;
* it retains a variety of notable fittings including medieval traceried Gothic screens, a post-medieval organ, the fine early-C18 Castle and Corporation pews and an early-C19 plaster Gothick nave ceiling;
* high quality funerary monuments of Lady Anne Clifford and Margaret Countess of Cumberland, the former by the respected sculptor Thomas Stanton and the latter a particularly fine tomb and effigy by Royal sculptor Maximilian Colt.

Historic interest:

* a strong association with Lady Anne Clifford who undertook the mid-C17 restoration, and in which both herself and her mother are interred.

Group value:

* occupying a prominent position at the north end of the planned new town of Appleby, it benefits from a spatial group value with large numbers of listed buildings including Appleby Castle.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.