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Penrith Castle

Hob Uid: 11975
Location :
Cumbria
Eden
Penrith
Grid Ref : NY5126029910
Summary : The ruins of the 15th century Penrith Castle together with a 14th century pele tower possibly built by Bishop Strickland. The pele tower has external dimensions of 10 metres by 8.8 metres width walls 2.3 metres thick and over 1 metre high. A doorway in its south western side gives access into a substantial yard measuring 36 metres square internally which is enclosed by a high barmkin or curtain wall. This wall still stands virtually to its full height on the south east and much of the south west sides but is considerably reduced in height elsewhere. The yard would have contained timber buildings associated with the pele tower. The buildings of the later castle were constructed within this yard and against the curtain wall, thereby creating an inner courtyard, and survive as low stone walls. These internal buildings included a great chamber, a chapel, a private chamber and great hall, kitchens, and the White Tower. The castle was later extended beyond the north west wall of the barmkin and there are foundations of a garderobe turret, guard chambers flanking an elaborate entrance, and remains of the Red Tower at the northern corner. Surrounding the castle on all sides except the north west where it has been lost, is a dry moat up to 15 metres wide and 6 metres deep. There are foundations of a bridge abutment and later gatetower giving access across the moat's north eastern arm. In 1397 William Strickland obtained a licence to strengthen and crenellate his pele tower. Two years later a further licence was granted to build the barmkin. In the early 15th century Richard II gave the town and manor of Penrith to Ralph Nevill, Earl of Westmorland, and the new owner added the Red Tower, and began construction of the internal buildings in stone. In 1471 Richard, Duke of Gloucester, continued the internal building and added a substantial outer gateway on the north western side, enlarging the structure into a royal castle. The moat was added in the late 15th century.
More information : (NY 51342973) Penrith Castle (NR) (Remains of) (NAT) Well (NR) (1)

Penrith Castle, surrounded by a terrace and a dry ditch, circa 50ft wide (3), and with a well situated in the inner courtyard (4).

Grade I (5).

In 1397 Bishop Strickland applied for permission to fortify his pele-house (2) and in 1399 he applied for a license to "dig stone in Penrith Felles within the Forest of Inglewode in order to complete the fortalice" (3). A further license was granted to him in 1399 to build a curtain-wall around the dwelling (4) and in 1471, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, added a second tower and enlarged the pele into a royal castle (6). In 1565 it was in a ruined state although the two towers were still standing. Soon after 1648 it was partly dismantled and Strickland's tower fell between 1739-78 (5). Excavations were carried out by the MOW before 1939. See plan (7). (5-8)

Earthworks resurveyed at 1:2500. (9)

The first murage grant for Penrith was received in 1346 (10), and a second in 1391 (11). There are no remains and it is not certain how much work may have been done. (12)

Red sandstone ruins. Licence to crenellate 1397. Square plan with gateway on north-east. Circular well in courtyard. Additions of circa 1470. South wall and east tower remain to a considerable height, also tunnel vaults, Perpendicular windows, and pointed arched fireplace flues. Gatehouse ruins on north-west. AM. (13)

Additional reference. (14)

NY 51262992 Strickland's Pele Tower and Penrith Castle. This monument includes the sandstone remains of the 14th century pele tower and barmkin, a fortified yard probably containing timber buildings, built by Bishop Strickland and the 15th century Penrith Castle. The 15th century buildings constructed for the castle in the yard and against the wall include a great hall, chapel, a great chamber and the White Tower at the western corner of the barmkin. The castle is surrounded by a dry moat up to 15m wide and 6m deep; scheduled. (15)

Listed by Cathcart King. (16)

Listed with plan and illustrations. (17)

There is some debate as to whether the documentary evidence referring Bishop Strickland's "chamber in Penrith" actually means Penrith Castle or alternatively Hutton Hall. An alternative builder at Penrith Castle may have been a member of the Neville family. (18)

A brief history and description. (19)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1957
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cal Pat Rolls 1396-99 66 12.2.1397
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Town defences in England and Wales: an architectural and documentary study AD 900-1500
Source details :
Page(s) : 499
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Town defences in England and Wales: an architectural and documentary study AD 900-1500
Source details :
Page(s) : 109
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Eden, 09-FEB-1983
Page(s) : 67
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1000
Source Number : 14
Source : Cumberland and Westmorland
Source details :
Page(s) : 175
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 11-Jul-94
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 89-90
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Jan-83
Source Number : 17
Source : The medieval fortified buildings of Cumbria : an illustrated gazetteer and research guide
Source details :
Page(s) : 212-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : vol.29
Source Number : 18
Source : English Heritage Historical Review
Source details :
Page(s) : 35-36
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3, 2008
Source Number : 19
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in the North West
Source details :
Page(s) : 38-39
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cal Pat Rolls 480 10-2 1399
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cal Pat Rolls 524 2.4.1399
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : J F Curwen
Page(s) : 174-88
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 18, 1918
Source Number : 6
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : CML Bouch
Page(s) : 219-20
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 47, 1947
Source Number : 7
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : F Hudleston
Page(s) : 13-26
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 30, 1930
Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Provisional list for Penrith UD, SEPT-1947
Page(s) : 9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RWE 20-AUG-65
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cal Pat Rolls 66
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C14 (until 1397)
Monument End Date : 1397
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Pele Tower
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Licence to crenellate in 1397
Monument End Date : 1397
Monument Start Date : 1397
Monument Type : Pele Tower
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Licence granted in 1399
Monument End Date : 1399
Monument Start Date : 1399
Monument Type : Barmkin, Curtain Wall
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C15
Monument End Date : 1500
Monument Start Date : 1401
Monument Type : Castle, Chapel, Kitchen, Great Hall, Tower, Postern
Evidence : Ruined Building, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C15
Monument End Date : 1500
Monument Start Date : 1467
Monument Type : Moat
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : From 1471
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1471
Monument Type : Castle, Gatehouse
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 363
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 3
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 23649
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 72957
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 159
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : PC10892
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 52 NW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 52 NW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-08-20
End Date : 1965-08-20
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE SITES IN CUMBRIA
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, PENRITH STATION
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT PENRITH STATION
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT PENRITH CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT CASTLE PARK
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2013-12-31