(Formerly Westmorland)

Grid Ref: NY 514 299
Date: 7 September 2014



Penrith Castle
The Curtain Wall on a September morning
Penrith Castle
The corner of the wall
Penrith Castle
A more general view across the site
Penrith Castle
Detail of the arch

Penrith Castle is in the care of the English Heritage and has its own website. Pevsner tells us that Penrith Castle is different from all others in Cumberland. A licence to crenellate was given to William Strickland who became Bishop of Carlisle and later Archbishop of Canterbury in 1397 and 1399. His castle has four ranges around a courtyard with one tower on the E side and one on the N side. Next to this was a gatehouse built in the 1470s. At the time of the building there was frequent confict between the English and Scots in Northern England and Scottish borders.

Wikipedia gives additional information "At one time it was thought to have been built by William Strickland, who became Bishop of Carlisle from 1400 until his death in 1419. Strickland was one of the commissioners who negotiated peace with Scotland in 1401. However, the date of the first reference to the castle in 1437 suggests it may have been built by Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, a prominent Yorkist during the Wars of the Roses. Whether he built anew or modified the earlier work of Stickland is not known."

Following Salisbury's death in 1460, Richard, Earl of Warwick, the 'Kingmaker,' inherited the Castle and Lordship, but was himself killed at the Battle of Barnet without leaving a male heir, so they reverted to the crown. They were granted in 1471 to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who eventually became King Richard III in 1483, by his brother King Edward IV. The Duke of Gloucester used Penrith as a base against the Scots. It was at the same time that the duke was appointed sheriff of Cumberland five consecutive years, being described as 'of Penrith Castle' in 1478. The castle was deliberately "slighted" by Parliament after the Civil War to prevent it being used again.


Buildings of England, Westmorland & Cumberland, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin Books, 1967, reprinted 1973, ISBN 0 14 071033 7

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