|Businesses in Brampton (Carlisle)||Towns and Villages of Cumbria|
(See also Birdoswald Roman Fort)
The market town of Brampton, in northeast Cumbria, was founded in the 7th century. The thorny shrubs growing in the area's sandy soil give a clue to the origin of the town's name-possibly from the Old English ‘brambles’, meaning thorny bushes. A wide and partly cobbled main street was ideal for the market, first held in 1252, its charter granted by Henry III. James I also granted a charter in 1606, a copy of which is at the Moot Hall. In addition to the markets, four annual fairs were held.
The octagonal Moot Hall, built in 1817 by the Earl of Lancaster, graces the market place. Pointed windows, a square turret and external stairs remain, but the open arcaded market area below-a former poultry, butter and egg market-was enclosed in 1896. It's now occupied by the Tourist Information Centre. The building replaced a 1648 one, once used by Cromwell to house prisoners. A bull ring in front of the Moot Hall is a reminder of the bloody sport of bull baiting.
Historic buildings, many of local red sandstone, decorate the town's streets. The 1603 Oulton House was home, in the 18th century, to a violin making family. Eden House and the Howard Arms survive from the early 19th century. Other buildings of note include the 1790 White Lion Hotel, the 1860's police station, and the 18th century coaching inn, the Scotch Arms. The home where Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed, one of the oldest in the town, dates from 1603 and was the site where he received the keys to Carlisle upon its surrender. Now a shop, his headquarters are marked with a plaque on the wall.
In 1758 a road from Newcastle to Carlisle helped put the town on the map. Cotton weaving for Carlisle manufacturers-there are rows of old weavers' cottages in the town-and coal mining brought prosperity.
In the 1800's there were as many as 45 pubs in the town for only 3000 people. Two breweries in the town kept supplies close to hand. A statue of the 7th Earl of Carlisle stands on the Moat-possibly the site of an old castle, 135 feet high. Hadrian's Wall is only a stone's throw away. A statue to Hadrian stands in the town centre.
Only the chancel remains of a 17th century parish church on the edge of town on the site of an old Roman fort. Like many buildings in the vicinity of Hadrian's Wall, it took advantage of the wall's stone for building purposes. It is thought that an earlier church stood here.
In the town itself, the almost-square St Martin's Church, designed by the Pre-Raphaelite architect Philip Webb and built of sandstone in 1874-8, is important because of its stained glass windows made in William Morris's studio. The windows weredesigned by Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898). The windows' themes are worship, the Good Shepherd, heroes of the Bible, virtues, childhood, and paradise.
A cemetery has a worn gravestone of an early 19th century “white witch”, Lizzie Batey, known as the “Brampton Witch”. A windstorm on the day of her funeral was reputedly caused by her supernatural powers.
A memorial, the Capon Tree Monument, outside the town centre, was the scene, in 1746, of the hanging of six of Bonnie Prince Charlie's supporters (left behind at Carlisle Castle when he fled the scene) by the Duke of Cumberland. A French sword and bonnet (now at the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle) were found in the Half Moon Inn, and were purported to be owned by the French ambassador representing France on Charlie's behalf. The tree on the spot of the Capon memorial was the site of picnic lunches by circuit judges on their court rounds.
Brampton had a railway, nicknamed the Dandy, that started as a number of wooden wagonways hauled by horses. It was laid by the Earl of Carlisle in 1775 to transport coal. When the Newcastle-Carlisle line was laid, a new line to Brampton was built, opening in 1836. Brampton's first stationmaster, Thomas Edmondson invented the first machine printed passenger rail tickets. The rail line served both passengers and coal until 1923 when the coal depot was permanently shut.
Two miles southeast of Brampton lies the 65-acre Talkin Tarn, a 10000-year-old glacial lake, now a country park, surrounded by farm and woodland. Walkers enjoy its trails, and boaters use the water to good advantage.
Grassland, trees, and scrub constitute an RSPB nature reserve located above the river Gelt ('Mad River' from the Norse ‘Geilt’) at the site of a former Roman rock quarry. Inscriptions carved in the 3rd century by the Romans into the rocks were discovered at the quarry. The river is fast flowing and has a number of narrow gorges.
Brampton is surrounded by rolling hills (the result of glacial action during the Ice Age), hedgerows and woodland. The town is full of history, and the countryside is one of beauty.
Nine miles east of Carlisle Near Carlisle airport on the B6243 Brampton Junction Railway Station is 1¾ miles Exit 44 on M6, following A69
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