Shap Market Cross
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Shap is on the route of the Coast to Coast Walk.
Early (12th and 13th century) forms such as Hep and Yheppe point to an Old Norse rendering Hjáp of an Old English original H?ap = "heap", (of stones), probably referring to an ancient stone circle, cairn, or to the Shap Stone Avenue just to the west of the village.
Although Shap is geographically a small village, it is legally a market town with a charter dating from the 17th century. The parish was, between 1905 and 1935, administered by an urban district council. At one time, the granite works (which are situated about a mile outside the village) was in itself a separate community, with its own Co-op. Shap polished pink granite can be found in many buildings in the UK, including outside St Paul's Cathedral in London
The village has three pubs, a small supermarket, a fish and chip shop, an antique book shop, a butcher's shop, a primary school, a newsagent's, a coffee shop, a ceramic art studio called Edge Ceramics, a fire station, a shoe shop (New Balance factory shop) an Anglican church and 3 B&B/ Hostels. There is also a small library, this is in the process of being relinquished from local council control and being adopted by the community as part of a budget cutting measure.
Shap Summit is located on the motorway at and the railway at . Shap Fell used to be notorious for the difficult and dangerous stretch of A6 for drivers, and it includes a well-known section of the West Coast Main Line. It has a 1:75 gradient for trains heading north, and in the days of steam locomotives banking engines from Tebay were often used to assist trains. It has been popular with railway photographers and there have been many pictures published taken in the area, most notably at Scout Green which lies on the southern approach to the hill.
A scene in Robert Neill's historical novel Crown and Mitre is laid in Shap. In 1659 the book's protagonist Hal Burnaby, a young Royalist, rides through the village on a clandestine mission connected with the restoration of King Charles II. Shap also appears in Anthony Trollope's novel Can You Forgive Her? as the nearest village to Vavasor Hall, the ancestral home of the heroine Alice Vavasor.
The civil parish of Shap (formerly Shap Urban Parish) includes the hamlet of Keld and parts of the granite works and limestone works, and has a population of 1,221, increasing to 1,264 at the 2011 Census. The parish shares a joint parish council and an electoral ward with Shap Rural. The total population of the electoral ward taken at the 2011 census was 1,394.
The Lancaster and Carlisle Railway (now part of the West Coast Main Line), opened on 17 December 1846, and runs along the eastern edge of the village. Shap railway station was closed in 1968, though there have been calls for its re-opening.Penrith is the closest railway station and is situated on the West Coast Main Line.
The people of Shap speak a variant of the Penrithian dialect, which is itself a variant of the Cumbrian dialect spoken around the Penrith and Eden district area.