Cumbria CA10 1SP
The main road access to the northern Lake District is through the lovely Eden Valley along the A66 just south of Penrith. The valley is dotted with historic little villages and small streams joining the River Eden on its way to Ullswater Lake.
A Collection of mid 16th Century cottages
Temple Sowerby was one of the most important and busiest of the valley's villages but since a by-pass has moved the A66 away from the village centre, it is now a delightful, peaceful collection of mid-16th century cottages, and 18th and 19th century houses set around a village green with a permanent maypole.
On the edge of the village is the renowned 17th century National Trust herbarium Acorn Bank Garden & Watermill.
Order of Knights Templar
The village got its unusual name in the 13th century when the Manor of Sowerby was acquired by a member of the ancient Order of Knights Templar. In honour of the Society the Manor’s name was changed to ‘Temple Sowerby’.
The houses reflect the historical wealth of the area, particularly Temple Sowerby House (built 1727) which rivalled Acorn Bank Manor House as the principal residence in the area. It is now an hotel with an award-winning restaurant.
In the centre of the village are St James’s church and a Wesleyan Chapel. Before the chapel was built, John Wesley visited the village in the 1780s to conduct an open-air service. He was not a tall man and had to stand on a boulder so the throng could see and hear him. The chapel was built beside the spot and the boulder has now been moved to Maypole Green, opposite the King’s Arms Coaching Inn, as a memorial to the great preacher.
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Roman Mile Stone
The Eden Valley was always an important route to Scotland through the north of England. The A66 is laid on the site of the major Roman road from York to Brougham - now just another delightful village with a medieval castle. Brougham Castle stands on the remains of the Roman Fort Bravoniacum.
The only visible evidence of the Roman road is a stone milestone marker, 4.5 feet high, and now enclosed by a fence, which stands at the side of the road about a mile from Kirkby Thore village.
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. The milestone is badly eroded but an information plaque details the information that was inscribed on the stone.
Eden Valley Heritage Railway
A number of railways have run through the valley including the Eden Valley Heritage Railway, a short section of which has been preserved at Warcop just off the A66 between Appleby and Brough. The magnificent Temple Sowerby Station is now a private home.
Magnificent Crowdundle Viaduct on Carlisle - Settle Railway
The famous scenic Carlisle - Settle railway line bounds through the valley on impressive viaducts. The magnificent Crowdundle Viaduct has 4 arches, is 55 feet (17 m) high and 86 yards (79 m) long. It can be viewed at close quarters from a public footpath which runs beside the beck. The viaduct crosses the beck near the little village of Newbiggin.
Newbiggin (CA10 1TB) is little more than a hamlet but has a really ancient church. The Church of St Edmund’s, Newbiggin was rebuilt in the 14th century and still retains some of its original 12th century structure. Next door is the Newbiggin Hall with remains of a 14th century pele tower.
Contact & Further Information
- By Car
Six miles (9.7 km) east of Penrith, one mile (1.6 km) from A66.
Google Maps - Temple Sowerby