THE EDGE
VACATION & HOLIDAY GUIDE TO
CUMBRIA & THE LAKE DISTRICT


Piel Castle Cumbria

 Piel Castle Cumbria

 

PIEL
CASTLE
Location:
OS ref
SD233636
Sheet96.
On Piel Island
in the entrance
to the harbour
at Barrow in
Furness.
Ferry from Roa
Island 4mls/
6km from
Barrow on the
A5087.

Appleby
Castle

Brough
Castle

Brougham
Castle

Carlisle
Castle

Dacre
Castle

Dalton
Castle

Egremont
Castle

Kendal
Castle

Muncaster
Castle

Pendragon
Castle

Penrith
Castle

Sizergh
Castle

Workington
Hall

Piel Castle stands on an island in the entrance to Barrow harbour. A licence to crenelate was granted in1327 to John Cockerham, Abbot of Furness Abbey, to fortify his house on the island in Barrow harbour. In 1403 the pele tower was dismantled by Abbot John de Bolton, because of the high cost of its upkeep. This destruction was in contravention of an agreement between Abbot Cockerham and King Stephen. The King had specified that a fort be built and maintained on the island in order to protect the harbour. When the tower was dismantled the Crown took possession of the island, and did not return it to the Abbey until1411. Repairs were made to what remained, but the castle was never again an effective defence for the harbour.

In 1487 a man called Lambert Simnel landed on Piel Island with an army of 8,000 men, mostly regular German soldiers plus a complement of Irish. The army had been paid for by Duchess Margaret of Burgundy, and led by Martin Smart. Their purpose was to put Simnel on the English throne in place of Henry VII. Soon they joined forces with Sir Thomas Broughton, who had a grievance against Henry. The attempt ended with Smart, Broughton and their commander all dead, Simnel was spared and died in 1525.

By the time of the English Civil War Piel Castle was still in decline, and not considered worth improving. The Royalist forces considered but rejected the option of occupying the Castle and rebuilding the fortifications. In 1688 the Castle was given over to the Duke of Buccleuch, and remains in that family's possession today. Restoration continues in an attempt to stay the forces of nature: much has been washed away in the past, but much still remains and the Castle is well worth a visit.

You can get to the Castle by ferry between 12.00 noon and 6pm Easter to October, tel for more details

 

 

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Copyright EDGE 2001