For more information regarding Highlights and the market, go to the Old Courthouse website at

Events | theoldcourthouse.org

For Classic Coaches timetables click here  Kendal – Tebay – Shap – Penrith [Cumbria Classic Coaches 106] April 2021

For the latest copy of Shap Today, click HERE

About Shap…..

Shap is a very ancient place, the oldest proof of people living there are the stone circles and avenues that once formed Shap Stones. These were quite as important as places like Avebury and Stonehenge. There is not much left from the circles and avenue today except a few boulders next to the railway embankment east of the A6 beyond Fell Garage – this is what is left of one circle. There are some big stones in the fields between Shap and Keld, and some of them have special names.

Shap has not always been called that name, the first written records call it Heppe, and this is believed to come from the word ‘heap’ referring to a pile of stones and quite likely to the Shap Stones.

Shap Abbey was begun in 1199, and was very important; it closed in 1540 when all the monasteries and abbeys were closed.

In 1984 when they were laying the gas pipeline near the Shap Granite Pink Quarry they found a 13th century canoe preserved in the peaty ground.

There were two parts to the place, Shap or Heppe round the church and market place, and another little village near the Greyhound Hotel called Brackenber.

The village grew up because of the road that ran through it, this would first have been a track, and people would have walked or ridden horses, then later they would have used wagons then the stagecoaches that took quite a lot of people at the same time, about six or eight people inside in the more expensive seats and people who could not afford that would have had to sit up on the top in all the wind rain and snow. Some of the big hotels like the Greyhound and Kings Arms kept horses so that the stagecoaches could change their tired horses for different ones – a bit like filling your car with fuel at a garage.

In 1844 the railway was begun and opened in 1846; Shap had a station near the Greyhound.

In 1865 Shap Granite Works opened, it had two quarries and a concrete works and was the main place that Shap people worked; the company built a lot of new houses for their workers and filled the gaps between Shap and Brackenber to make one big village. The limestone quarry at Shap Beck opening in the 1930s and Hardendale quarry in 1963.

A workhouse for poor people who had nowhere to live was built in 1877, it then became a children’s home for children with no families, and now it is houses called Brackenber Lodge.

The road was always very busy because it was the main road from England into Scotland and all the traffic came through the village. Because it was a busy place there were quite a lot of shops.

There were two schools one for boys and one for girls, these were made into one school in 1955 using the boys school building, and the girls school became a secondary school then magistrates court, youth centre and is now the library.

Some new council houses (Croft Avenue and Gayle Avenue) were built in 1951 and 1953 and more (West Lane) in 1963. Parkers Croft, Lynchetts and Peggy Nut were built in the 1990s, so Shap is now about four times the size it was in 1950.

The Wet Sleddale dam was built in the 1960s and the M6 Motorway opened in 1970, so Shap became a lot quieter with much less traffic.

Click here for the latest Shap news from the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald.


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15 thoughts on “Home

  1. Well what a brilliant refreshing new look for the village website. Crisp and clear and easy to navigate around. Lots of interesting stuff included as well.
    Well done.

    Stephen Valentine

  2. Does anyone have any old photgraphs of Trainriggs Farm, where my Uncle Edward Hudson farmed,Mersyke, where my other Uncle lived Jack Milray and Meadowside where my Uncle Billy lived also Green farm where my Father Arnold Hudson was born. Thanks David Hudson

  3. Stopped in Shap on way to Scotland for lunch. Cafe was brilliant. Lovely food, particularly the yummy cakes. The staff were amazing and so friendly. We were travelling with a dog and seven month old baby and both were well accommodated. The dog was offered his own water and loved the cool tiled floor to lay on on a hot day. Baby was given a plastic cup to have water from and offered lots of smiles by staff. It made lunch stress free and relaxing. Thank u so much. The Redwoods.

  4. I retired in 2011, but prior to that auspicious date I had many calls to make in Cumbria and further north. Usually, if I could organise myself properly, I’d stay overnight in Shap from my journey up from the Midlands. Without a doubt my favourite overnight stop was the lovely Greyhound Inn. I really, really loved this place. It was, as I’ve heard others say, quite easy to just drive right past, but once you knew it was there…. One thing that really sticks in my mind from those days is the absolutely gorgeous brisket of beef in the Greyhound’s restaurant, I hope they still serve it. More than once on my route north, I found The Greyhound full booked, in which case I could usually find accommodation at Brookfield House B&B, just a couple of hundred yards away. What The Greyhound is to pubs with accommodation, The Brookfield is to B&B’s. Just loved it, One thing that will always stick in my mind is the fresh fruit salads they served. It’s been some time since i was up that way, but I sincerely hope that The Greyhound and Brookfield House are today as they always were in my time….totally wonderful.

  5. My grandparents used to own the Bull Inn at Shap many years ago, they both passed away and my mother lived there for a while. There name was Skerret my mum was Irene Skerrett. I remember going to stay with Lucy Ryland at her B&B and going to the pub across the road.
    I am hoping to return soon could you recommend where to stay.

    Kind regards
    Pam Long

  6. surely the photo of THE OLD COURT HOUSE isnot realy the old one ,i understand the court house was in the old police station, i used to sleep above it !!!!

  7. I’m sure Michael Howes is right .Anyone who went to Shap Girls and Infant School and doesn’t now live in Shap willl recognise the building as the school. In the 1950’s when Michael Howes lived at the Police Station ,Shap had a Police Serseant and !if I remember right, 3 maybe 4 Policemen. Shap must have been like the Wild West to justify that. It

  8. I worked at Shap Wells Hotel in 1984, when it was run by Mr.Simpson on behalf of The Metcalfes. Packed with Shearings and Wallace Arnold coaches, served to the sound of matching music. I was as member of staff. Fantastic memories which have lasted a lifetime. Great staff, full of characters.
    Thank you.


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