The restoration of two historic crosses that are iconic landmarks in Appleby could be the precursor of more improvements to give the town a lift.
The High and Low crosses that stand at either end of Boroughgate, and mark the original boundaries of the town’s market, have been refreshed and restored to reflect how they looked when they were originally installed in the 17th Century.
Layers and layers of modern black and white paint that had been applied to the crosses over the last 50 years and had “damaged the integrity of the pillars” have been removed and the crosses now have a yellow hue, the colour they would have been when erected.
The work, using materials of the era, has been paid for by Historic England, under the guidance of architects Crosby Granger, as part of its Historic Action Zone project.
“It is a new and bold aesthetic, yet all part of the plan to refresh the town,” said Appleby mayor Gareth Hayes. “The last thing we want is to get too used to tired buildings fading because of the recent floods and the anxious mood caused by the ongoing COVID-19 story.
“More properties, like our Moot Hall, are in urgent need of attention and it is time to get things ship-shape. More flowers, more cosy corners and more colour is our way of lifting the spirit of residents and making visitors to Appleby keen to return year on year.
“There is an ambiguity about how we feel and the mood needs to be improved with an air of newness. We are also future proofing the town for the next generation.”
An interpretation board explaining the history of the crosses is to be sited close to Low Cross.
“This is part of the redefining of our architectural heritage and making people aware of what we have to offer,” said Mr Hayes.
The High Cross is situated outside the entrance to Appleby Castle and is believed to date from the time of Lady Anne Clifford and marks the site of one of the “stately scaffolds” from which the restoration of King Charles II was hailed.
It bears the inscription Retain your Loyalty; Preserve your Rights.
It is not known when the Low Cross was erected but there is a reference to it in 1712 in the corporation minute books. The Low Cross was rebuilt in 1817 and the High Cross “likewise re-edified” in 1818.