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


Carlisle Castle Cumbria

Carlisle Castle

 

CARLISLE
CASTLE
Location:
OS ref
NY398564
Sheet 85
In Carlisle.

 

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The city of Carlisle a few miles south of the border with Scotland, has had a bloody history and Carlisle Castle bore the brunt of the frequent Scots attacks on the city.

King William II was responsible for its erection in 1093, initially an earth and wood construction, quick to put up and cheap to build. The Castle was rebuilt by Henry I, but fell into Scots hands in 1135. By 1157 when Henry II recovered Cumberland the Castle was rebuilt in stone and remained the property of the Crown until 1216 when the Scottish King Alexander II retook it.

During the period 1173-1461 the castle was attacked nine times, Alexander's being the only successful attempt. Constant attacks took their toll on the fabric of the castle but not until1542 were repairs of any real worth undertaken, including provision for cannon. Even so, the castle fell again into disrepair, the costs of upkeep being comparatively high. In 1568 Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner in the castle, and in the same year some repairs were carried out.

The English Civil War took its toll on both the castle and the city. An eight month siege from October1644 by the Roundheads, ended after all food had run out. The castle was then occupied by a Scottish garrison.The Royalist forces regained the castle in 1648.

In 1745 the Jacobite army of "Bonnie Prince Charlie's" campaign for the English throne swept into England, passing through Carlisle taking the castle on its way south. The Duke of Cumberland re-took it a few weeks later in December from a Scots garrison of 400 left as a rearguard by the fleeing Prince Charles. The Duke had those of the garrison who had survived the battle and who had then surrendered put to death by having them hung and disembowelled on nearby Capon Hill.

The battle for the castle caused a great deal of damage to the already dilapidated building. It was left in this condition until the next century when much work was done in the 1800s to bring the castle up to the standards demanded by a modern Victorian army.

The castle has been in the hands of the military without break for 800 years and is now also home to the museum of the Kings Own Border Regiment and the Border Regiment. The largest castle in Cumbria, it is also one of the best preserved and is under the stewardship of English Heritage.

 

 

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