North East Cumbria: Pt 3 – Brampton

Moving on from the charming village of Wetheral, and it’s famous 14th Century Priory Gatehouse, is the Market town of Brampton, with the Moot Hall dominating the Market Square…

Brampton:

Status: City of Carlisle District, Cumbria (historically Cumberland), Town, England

Date: 08/06/2014

Travel: Car

Eating & Sleeping: N/A

Attractions: Hadrian Statue, Moot Hall, Market Square, St Martin’s Church, Various Listed Buildings, Church House, St Martin’s Hall, Capon Tree Monument, Old Police Station etc

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Our journey began on Front Street, outside St Martin’s Church. Before visiting the Church, we spotted a statue over the road, and nipped over to investigate. The statue in question is of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (76 – 138), who is famous for many things in Rome and Britain, from rebuilding the Pantheon to the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, the historic 73 mile divide between Roman Britain in the North and the Barbarian Lands in Scotland. Building of the great wall began around 118 or 119, and it ran from just West of Carlisle at the Solway Firth, around Carlisle, then in a straight line across what is now Cumbria and Northumberland to the present day city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the East. Various fragments still exist, along with a number of the forts along the route, many of which are open to the public.

Brampton is very close to the ruins of the Wall, hence the reason for the statue’s erection here. A plaque on the statue’s base states that:

“EMPEROR HADRIAN. In this area for the building of the Roman Wall A.D. 122 – 128. This statue was purchased and erected by BRAMPTON CHAMBER OF TRADE for the people of Brampton April 1999”

Hadrian himself has been well looked on by history, and achieved much in his life. The Wall has to be his most famous achievement, and it is mirrored by it’s counterpart, the Antonine Wall which runs from Glasgow through Falkirk to the Firth of Forth in Scotland. The purpose of the new wall was to extend the Roman Empire 99 miles to the North, with the new wall replacing the original in showing the Empires boundary.

Brampton didn’t exist at this time, and it wasn’t until it was formed in the 7th Century as an Anglian Settlement that the town began to grow.

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Behind us, the tall tower of St Martin’s reached for the sky, and stands as one of the tallest buildings in the area.  There has only been a Church in the town itself for around 300 years, as before 1789 the nearest Church was built on the site of a Roman Fort, a mile out of town. In 1789 the first Church in Brampton was built, lasting until the present building replaced it in 1878, designed by Philip Webb (1831 – 1915, English Architect who also built Naworth Castle, not far from here). The Church is the only Church building he has designed, and looks stunning with it’s Pre-Raphaelite style. The building is also adorned by some fabulous stained glass, built by William Morris (1834 – 1896, English Designer) to designs by Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898).

The Tower is the most recent addition, added in 1906, and I particularly like the diamond clock faces around the Tower. It reminds me some what of Arthuret Church in nearby Longtown, although that is much older.

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Off the right of the Church, is St Martins Hall, built as the Church Hall in 1895, by C. J. Ferguson. Clad in red sandstone, as are so many buildings in the town, it was built in memory of Thomas Charles Thompson, who owned Milton Hall and died in 1895. A plaque commemorating this fact can be found inside.

Today the Hall is an Antiques Shop, well known in the area and the home of many varied and interesting collectibles.

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Looking away from the Town Centre from this position, a number of the well laid out buildings in the town are visible. At the far left of the picture, at the back, is the Old Police Station, with the triangular decoration about the main front.  It was originally built in the late 1860’s as the Magistrates Offices and Court, and is again built out of red limestone. In 1902 it was extended  with a new garage section, and the Court Offices became the Police Station with the actual Courts behind.

We only noticed it quite by chance, as the blue door stood out to me and made me think it may have been an important building. Some research soon confirmed this and I found plenty of information about the building on the Listed Buildings Register.

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From St Martin’s Church and Hall, we started walking into the main town centre, around a minute away. On the way we passed a number of colourful old buildings, including this one, on the corner of Front Street and Low Cross Street, just along from the Church. It has a rather distinctive shape, with the left end of the building being much higher than that on the right, with the roof between them.

This is a good example of the rural buildings located in Brampton, and there were plenty more in store as we kept moving.

Bramp 11

The first of these was Church House, located next to the Church itself. Dating from the early 1800’s, it was presumably built as the home of the local Vicar or Reverend, although today it is a private house with a plaque stating “Church House” visible on the right hand side of the black painted door frame.

The building looks as though it would have been a standalone feature when it was built, and differents from many of the other buildings on this street as it appears that the front is faced with wood.

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We soon entered one end of the Market Square, which mainly consists of a large car park and a number of shops. What really peaked my interest about this particular area is that it contains an impressive 9 Listed Buildings,with 2 on the left hand side of the street and the other 7 on the other side.

If you progress through the gap in the buildings at the far side of the square you emerge into the main Market Square, where the Moot Hall/Tourist Information Office stands, but more on that in a minute.

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Pausing a moment to look back the way we had come, we could see the tower of St Martin’s in the near distance, and the metal spire atop it gleaming in the sunlight.

If you look across to the left of the square, an ornate looking sandstone building that towers above its neighbours is visible. This is the Barclays Bank Building, dating to the Mid 19th Century. Again detailed with Red Sandstone, this Victorian building is one of the standout buildings in the square.

On the left hand side, almost out of view, past the second lamp post and the tall building directly behind it, are another set of Listed Buildings, starting with the shorter building on the far side of the tall building behind the Lamp Post:

1) Brampton Sports, Flat above and Antique Shop

Built in the late 17th Century, with later alterations in both the 19th and 20th centuries. Built as a house, it was converted into shops and a flag, across 2 1/2 storeys.

2) Rockingham Coffee House, Brampton

Late 18th Century building with alterations 100 years later, with a modern glass window front.

3) Lorne Terrace, Brampton

Again built in the 18th Century, part of a set of terraced houses. Alterations in the 19th/20th centuries resulted in it’s present appearance.

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Moving through towards the main section of the Market Square, looking back in the direction we had come a new set of fine buildings were visible.

On the corner of the road, at the far left of the picture is “Jobson’s Chemists and Midlank Bank” which was opened in 1883, and was built by C. J. Ferguson for the Cumberland Union Bank Company. Together the two sections make up numbers 16 and 54 Brampton Market Place South Side and consist of the Chemists Shop where “The Brampton Pharmacy” is located today, with the right side of the building containing the Bank on the bottom floor and the Bank Offices above that.

Back in the section of the square we had just come from you can spot 2 of the three Listed Buildings located there. Just jutting out from behind the Bank Building are two tall buildings, one in light pink and one in light blue.

The pink building is “E and D Young, Jewellers, T & M Savage, Freezer Food Centre and Flat Above, Brampton” which was once the Eden Hotel. The Listing covers the flats at the top of the building along with the shops at the bottom, all together dating back to around the late 1700’s.

Next door to that in blue is the Howard Arms Hotel (again from the late 1700’s), which probably formed it’s neighbour out of business. It began life as Coaching Inn and was most likely one of the original buildings here, much as the Graham Arms Hotel in Longtown was the first major building that constitutes the modern town, a coaching stop for travellers on the road to Scotland.

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Above are two very different looking buildings, that seem to fit together so well. The first is the tall stone building on the left, which is Number 4 Market Place, built in the Mid 19th Century as a Bank/Offices. Today it is a Doctor’s Surgery spread across the the 2 1/2 storeys, looking out across the Market Square.

Next to it is “Flat Fruit Shop The Old Bakery” which makes up a block from number 16 to number 33 High Cross Street. The Listed sections are:

Number 5 – Flat

Number 7 – Fruit Shop

Number 9 – The Old Bakery

All of these are shops, although they were built as houses in the Late 18th Century, being changed to shops in the 19th when alterations were made to the ground floors. There is such a wide variety of architecture in this area of the town, and there are over 50 Listed Buildings in the wider parish of Brampton.

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Our journey culminated in a visit to the central area of the main Market Square, where the Moot Hall is located. On the bottom floor is the Tourist Information Office, and although there was a large “Open” sign in the window, which you can spot on the picture, it was in fact closed, which is a shame and it would have been interesting to see inside the building.

Brampton was granted its Market Charter back in 1252 under the reign of King Henry III, becoming one of hundreds of Market Town’s across the country. The Moot Hall however didn’t appear until much later, when it was built in 1817 by the Earl of Carlisle, on the site of an earlier building from 1648 that, during the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) used to hold prisoners. The purpose of the building was as a meeting place, sort of an early Town Hall.

Behind the Moot Hall stands numbers 12-22 Market Place which backs onto the Masonic Hall. Together they form one large property built in 1819 as a Mansion for Reverend Thomas Ramshay, the local vicar. Today numbers 12-22 are shops and a restaurant with flats above that, whilst the rest of the Mansion forms the Masonic Hall and is still close to it’s original condition.

Elsewhere in the town, not far outside of the main town centre, stands a monument called the Capon Tree Monument, in the form of a tall stone cross. It stands in memory of the six supporters of (Bonnie) Prince Charlie (1720 – 1788) who were hanged here in 1746. A year earlier, the Prince stayed in Brampton and the Mayor of Carlisle arrived to surrender the City to him as he continued his advance Southwards from Scotland and down into England. His army of 6000 men made it as far as Derbyshire before giving up the campaign and returning to Scotland, but he and his Jacobites were ambushed at Culloden by the English Redcoats. His ultimate goal was to lead an uprising against the British Monarch and put his own family on the throne, whom he believed to be the rightful heirs, and himself the true King.

Brampton is a fascinating little town, full of historic buildings and located near so much history, from the Romans to the Jacobites. There is a train station just outside the town, on the Carlisle – Newcastle Line with direct trains to both cities, via Hexham and Gateshead, with some services continuing on to Glasgow via Kilmarnock, Dumfries, Annan and Gretna Green, as well as Whitehaven via Maryport and Workington. The town’s proximity to Carlisle gives good access to the M6 Motorway, North for Scotland and South for Penrith and the North of England.

Brampton has much to explore, and hopefully we shall return when the Moot Hall is open sometime. This was the end to our short road trip around North East Cumbria, from the ancient Wetheral Priory Gatehouse to Wetheral Village to Brampton, it was an adventure indeed.

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