Grid Ref : NY 612271
Temple Sowerby is a village between Penrith and Appleby, lying next to the A66 trunk road which has bypassed the village since 2007, allowing it to return to a peaceful slumber and its reputation as the “Queen of Westmorland Villages”.
It is a village set around a village green, and gets its name from the Knights Templar, who once owned Sowerby Manor, though later the Knights Hospitallers were lords of the manor until the middle of the 16th century. The village, in which mid-16th century rubble-and-thatch buildings intermingle with 18th and 19th century buildings, is one of few Westmorland villages retaining a maypole.
On the edge of the village is Acorn Bank garden and Acorn Bank Mill, which is now owned by the National Trust, and whose herb garden contains the largest collection of some 250 species of cullinary and medicinal plants in the North of England. West of Acorn Bank is Mill Rigg House Farm – with a 15th century pele tower.
Near Acorn Bank flows the Crowdundle beck, which formed the original County boundary. Close to its confluence with the River Eden, is one of the largest bridges in the Eden Valley, spanning the river on four arches of red sandstone.
The Temple Sowerby House Hotel – “one of Cumbria’s finest small hotels” – is situated in the middle of the village. It stands in 2 acres of walled gardens, has 12 bedrooms and has been awarded the prestigious AA Three Silver Stars, together with Two Rosettes for the quality and creativity of the food in the Restaurant, which is also open to non residents. Booking is essential. See Temple Sowerby House Hotel website (external link).
The A66 road through Temple Sowerby is laid on the site of a Roman road from York to Brougham. A Roman milestone (see gallery), 4.5 feet high, and now enclosed by a fence, stands at the side of the road on the boundary of the Kirkby Thore parish. A Roman mile was about 1437 metres, and along the length of Roman roads each mile was marked by a stone, which indicated distance to the next significant place. This stone is one mile from Kirkby Thore, where there was an important Roman Fort, Bravoniacum. To the West was the Fort Brocavum, now known as Brougham. The stone is now badly eroded, and there is no sign of the markings that would have been on it.
There were railways running north and south of the village – to the north passes the famous Carlisle to Settle Railway, and to the south, the now disused path of the Penrith to Appleby line, on which is the fine Temple Sowerby Station building.
There are several interesting villages around Temple Sowerby, including the medieval fortified village of Milburn, three miles north. To the south is the preserved hamlet of Morland, in which St Lawrence’s church has the only Anglo-Saxon tower in the County. Just over the Eden River bridge is Winderwath Gardens.
The village has a church, dedicated to St James, and built in 1754.
Little remains now of the Eden Valley Railway which passed the village on its way from Appleby to Penrith. The photo above show the Lyvennet tributary joining the River Eden at Temple Sowerby, and the remains of the embankment of the railway. The old railway station has been preserved and is now a private residence.
After many years of campaigning, on 18th October 2007 the Temple Sowerby by-pass finally opened.
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