button to main menu  Capper's Topographical Dictionary 1808

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  Kirkby Stephen
     KIRKBY STEPHEN, a market-town and parish in East ward, Westmoreland, 4 miles from Brough, and 265 from London; containing 200 houses and 1141 inhabitants, of whom 285 were returned as employed in various trades, &c. It is seated on the west bank of the river Eden, and consists chiefly of one large street, indifferently built, opening to Helbec mountain at one extremity, and Wildbore at the other. The parish church is large and handsome, having a lofty tower, and several ancient monuments; adjoining it a large and elegant parsonage house, and a good free school that has two exhibitions. It formerly had a large open market place, 70 yards wide, and nearly 100 long, but it has been lately built upon. The market has a very good connection with the surrounding country, although the situation is bleak and mountainous. The stocking manufacture is carried on here, but the chief traffic of the inhabitants consists in grazing and supplying the Liverpool market with cattle. Near the town are the ruins of Penpragon (sic) castle, anciently the seat of the Cliffords. It was of amazing strength, the walls being four yards thick, with embattlements; but little remains at present, except a square tower, apparently of more modern date, as it appears to have been repaired by the countess of Pembroke after it had lain in ruins for nearly two centuries. Its situation, as a place of strength, was badly chosen, being in a deep dell entirely overlooked by mountains; on the opposite side of the dell are the traces of an entrenchment and fortification. Market on Monday. Fair St. Luke's Day. The living is a vicarage value 48 l. 19 s. 2 d. - Burn's Westmoreland.
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