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Sedbergh (pronounced Sedber or even, by the locals, Sebber) is a small town in Cumbriamarker, Englandmarker. It lies about 7 mi (11 km) east of Kendalmarker and about 10 mi (16 km) north of Kirkby Lonsdalemarker. The town lies just within the Yorkshire Dales National Parkmarker. It lies at the foot of the Howgill Fellsmarker on the north bank of the River Rawtheymarker which joins the River Lune about 2 mi (2 km) below Sedbergh.

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Sedbergh has a narrow main street lined with shops. From all angles, the hills rising behind the houses can be seen. Until the coming of the railway in 1861, these were remote places were reachable only by slogging over some fairly steep hills. The railway to Sedbergh was closed in 1965.

George Fox, a founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), spoke in St. Andrew's Church (which he called a "steeple house") and on nearby Firbank Fellmarker during his travels in the North of England in 1652. Nearby Briggflatts Meeting House was built in 1675. It is the namesake of Basil Bunting's lauded long poem, Briggflatts (1966). Sedbergh School is a co-educational boarding school in the town.

History

Sedbergh's parish church, St Andrew's, dates from the 12th century, though restored periodically since then. There is at least one house dating from the 14th century, and there are the remains of a motte and bailey castle believed to date from Saxon times.

Sedbergh's main industries for many years were Sedbergh School (founded 1525), farming, and the production of woollen garments.

Wool sheared from the many sheep was taken to local mills where it was turned into yarn from which people in their homes, would knit clothing, including hats and socks. The garments were then sold by local merchants to, among other places, the coal miners of the North East of England. This trade has long since disappeared. It is remembered at Farfield Mill, just outside the town, where there is an exhibition of weaving equipment, and workshops for a number of artists and crafts workers.

Economy

Income now comes from a range of sources: the schools are still the main employer in the town, but Sedbergh has recently become England's book town (see Hay-on-Wyemarker and Wigtownmarker) with six independent bookshops and many more dealers who operate from the Dales and Lakes Book Centre. It is now possible that the turnover of small to medium manufacturing and wholesale companies matches or exceeds that of the schools - a growing feature of the economy. Other major sources of income are farming, retail and tourism. It is hoped that tourism will increase after the efforts of Sedbergh to find a twin town were featured in a BBC documentary, The Town That Wants A Twin during January 2005 (the winning town was Zrečemarker in north eastern Sloveniamarker).

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