There’s a wall in Appleby – the former county town of Westmorland – that always intrigues me. It’s situated in Bongate – the oldest part of the town – across a quiet lane from the oldest church in the place, sadly now a private home.
And, at some point in its history, long before it was converted, some pieces from the church were taken from the building and incorporated into the neighbouring wall. And there they are to this day, evidence of the church’s past. A couple at least of the stones look like medieval grave slabs.
Why this was done I have no idea.
Bongate gets its name from Bondgate, the area of the town where, in medieval times, the bonded men and women – bound as workers to the rich, would live.
Appleby itself was almost certainly founded by the Vikings, though there may have been a Roman signalling station by the River Eden. It was harried and burned several times by the Scots, and was indeed once part of Scotland – one reason it doesn’t feature in the Domesday Book.
The wall is a bit of the past we often walk past.
(c) Text and pictures John Bainbridge