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Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen, an ancient market town at the head of the Eden valley, possesses an air of historical intrigue. A fine church and busy market square lie at its heart. Narrow, twisting passageways await exploration, and underground passages once provided refuge during Scottish raids (and to smuggle in beer to the ale-houses to avoid paying taxes).

This is a landscape rich in myths and legends, in prehistoric settlements and burial mounds, strategic Roman forts and defensive Norman castles. The rich agricultural land yielded produce for sale in the market towns of Brough and Kirkby Stephen. Drovers' roads brought livestock for sale and packhorse routes carried goods across the Pennines and down the Eden valley and beyond.
Eden Valley
Appleby in Westmorland
Appleby in Westmorland

Appleby-In-Westmorland

The ancient market town and royal borough of Appleby, in the heart of the Eden Valley, is the focal point for many outlying villages and hamlets.
Kirkby Stephen
Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen & Brough

A landscape rich in myths and legends, in prehistoric settlements and burial mounds, strategic Roman forts and defensive Norman castles.
Alston
Alston

Alston

Alston is the highest market town in England and sits at the junction of several Trans-Pennine routes. Surrounding the town is Alston Moor, a beautiful and diverse area known for its rare alpine flora and moorland birds.
Penrith
Penrith

Penrith & Surrounding Area

Located at an important intersection of routes between Scotland and England and a cross-Pennines road, the historic market town of Penrith has reaped the benefits of good transport links for centuries.

Book Your Stay

 
Mossgill Loft

Mossgill Loft

Self-catering with 1 unit, £300-£400 pupw sleeps 2

Welcome to the Lockholme Bed & Breakfast

Lockholme Bed and Breakfast

Bed & Breakfast with 3 rooms, £80 prpnb

Augill Beck Caravan Park

Augill Beck Park

Holiday Park with 9 units, £228-£753 pupw sleeps 1-6

Waitby School

Waitby School

Self-catering with 1 unit, £559-£11775 pupw sleeps 1-7

Things to do

What's on

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There are a variety of events taking place in Kirkby Stephen and the surrounding areas over the year. Why dont you check out the calendar and see what's on while you're here?

For events happening around the county, click below for our What's On page.

Browse All Events

Surrounding Areas

Brough
Mallerstang

Culture and Heritage

Pendragon Catle, Kirkby Stephen
River Eden, Kirkby Stephen
Augill Castle, Kirkby Stephen

This fertile area was settled by early humans. Croglam Castle is the largest prehistoric earthwork in the area, guarding the entrance to the Mallerstang valley. Further north, the Romans built a strategically placed fort at Brough to guard the trade route over the Pennines, as did William Rufus (son of William the Conqueror) who erected his Norman castle over the remains of the Roman fort. Other Norman castles were built at Hartley, Lammerside and Pendragon.

Scottish raids in this area were common, and the castles were repeatedly damaged and rebuilt several times. By the Middle Ages though, Kirkby Stephen and Brough were thriving towns with their own markets and annual fairs. St Luke’s Charter Fair in Kirkby Stephen dates back to 1353 when the main street would be filled with sheep and cattle, market stalls selling local wares, and musicians and jugglers entertaining the crowds.

In 1542 Henry VIII granted the lordship of the manor of Kirkby Stephen to Thomas Wharton after his victory over the Scots at the battle of Solway Moss. The family seat was at Lammerside and then Wharton Hall in Mallerstang. Thomas also founded the grammar school in Kirkby Stephen in 1566. In the 18th century, the Whartons sided with the Jacobites and rebelled against the crown. As a result, their estates were forfeited and sold to the Lowther family.

Kirkby Stephen was one of the centres of the knitting industry in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thousands of home knitters were engaged in making knitted stockings, primarily for the army. A restored spinning gallery can be seen in the centre of the town.

There are a number of attractive villages in the area - Musgrave and Wharton with their prehistoric cultivation terraces (some of the best in the country), Warcop and its narrow medieval bridge, Winton, Brough Sowerby, Kaber, Hartley and Nateby.

 

Kirkby Stephen, Poetry Walk

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