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


Pendragon Castle Cumbria

Pendragon Castle Cumbrian English history King Arthur Uther Pendragon forts defences

 

PENDRAGON
CASTLE
Location:
OS ref
NY 782026
Sheet 91.
4mls/6km
south of Kirkby
Stephen on the
B6259.

 

Appleby
Castle

Brough
Castle

Brougham
Castle

Carlisle
Castle

Dacre
Castle

Dalton
Castle

Egremont
Castle

Kendal
Castle

Muncaster
Castle

Penrith
Castle

Piel
Castle

Sizergh
Castle

Workington
Hall

This, according to legend, is the site where Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, died. The story goes that Uther, also a King, had his capital at Carlisle, and his Round Table at Eamont Bridge, just to the south of Penrith. The castle ruins are in a dramatic spot in the Mallerstang Valley: the young River Eden flows close by the castle, and above is the forbidding Wild Boar Fell.

It is thought that Hugh de Morville built the castle that the present remains are based on around 1173, possibly fortified at a later date. The castle was given to Robert de Vipont along with the castles at Appleby and Brough in 1203, and later passed to Robert de Leyburne, and later still to Robert de Clifford. A licence to crenelate was granted in 1309 while in the Cliffords' ownership and it is possible that the castle was enlarged at this time. Robert de Clifford met his death on the battle field at Bannockburn in 1314 and the castle went to his son Roger.

Roger chose to support the Earl of Lancaster in his rebellion, was taken prisoner at the battle of Boroughbridge and executed in 1322. The castle then passed to Andrew de Harcla, Earl of Carlisle. A year later the castle was returned to the Clifford family after de Harcla was himself executed. In 1341 the Scots burnt the castle so severely that it was abandoned.

Rebuilt in 1360, the castle was lived in until1541 but another fire (this time accidental) ruined the building, and it stayed in this condition until in 1643 Lady Anne Clifford took an interest in it.

Lady Anne began her great campaign of restorations in 1660 and Pendragon benefited from her efforts. The building work took over a year to complete, but in 1676 Lady Anne died and the castle eventually became a ruin once more. What remains is being worked on to prevent further decay. Pendragon is not open to the public, but I have included it in these pages because it is easily seen from the road only a few yards away and there is a place to park your car. Please don't block any gates though.

 

 

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