Businesses in Brough Towns and Villages of Cumbria


(See also Brough Castle)

Brough Clock Tower Monument and Street By Graeme DougalBrough is a twin village. The southern part, Church Brough (once called Upper Brough), lies on a former Roman road and was the setting for the Norman Brough Castle (once the site of a Roman camp). The northern area, Market Brough (formerly Lower Brough), is sited on a medieval road. The difference in the two villages relates to the functions they once served-Church Brough's houses stand around a market square decorated with a maypole (formerly a cross stood in the square), while Market Brough boasts a wide and long main street.

Brough Swindale Beck By Graeme DougalAlthough a bridge at Market Brough crossed Swindale Beck in the 14th century, the village's claim to fame lies in its 18th-19th century importance as a coaching town for the England-Scotland run. More than ten inns catered to the stagecoach trade. Although none of the medieval buildings still stand, 17th and 18th century ones remain. A market cross atop a clock tower and the late-Georgian Golden Fleece Inn stand in the centre of the town.

Brough Monument 1331 By Graeme DougalMarket Brough's name incorporates its other function, that of a weekly market. Its charter was granted in 1330 to Robert Lord Clifford by Edward III, for the markets. Just south of the village, an annual fair, Brough Hill Fair, was a popular spot, notably in the 1700's, for drovers to sell their horse, sheep, and cattle. Much of the fair was devoted to the buying and selling of fell ponies, and the name “Brough ponies” soon became their name by which they were referred.

Brough St Michael's Church exterior By Graeme DougalAlthough Brough's St Michael's Church dates from 1150 and has a Norman doorway, most of the building is from the 1500-early 1700's. Its four-belled steeple was built in 1513. The stained glass windows were “modernized”. There is an inscription in the chancel dedicated to the memory of the Reverend Francis Thomas, a vicar of 1702. A chapel was established in Market Brough in 1506, and it eventually became a grammar school.

An ancient custom, the Twelfth Night Holly Tree, was celebrated in the town. Originally it was a Christian Christmas celebration, and the holly tree branch guided the “wise men” to the manger. It subsequently evolved into a procession of men going from one pub to another, drinking their fill along the way. The use of holly comes from the Norse who believed it guarded them against evil spirits and witchcraft.

Brough 1847 sun dial By Graeme DougalClose to St Michael's church lies Brough Castle, built c1095, but mostly destroyed in 1174 by the Scots, then rebuilt, then restored by Lady Anne Clifford in the 17th century. It now lies in ruins.

About 6 miles east of Brough, beside the road, is the Rey Cross. This marks the ancient English-Scottish border. There was once a hospice for travellers and pilgrims here. Sitting on the road that opens into the green Vale of Eden, Brough reminds us of its past importance.

Photos courtesy Graeme Dougal

Brough is 4 miles north of Kirby Stephen.

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