Pendragon Castle, Cumbria

Commanding an impressive view over the Eden Valley, stand the remains of Pendragon castle, thought to be constructed during the reign of William II in the twelfth century by Ranulph de Meschines, Although the the keep dates to Norman times, the Garderobe Turret (toilet) dates from the fourteenth century.

Pendragon Castle Viewed from the Road

Pendragon Castle Viewed from the Road

 

 

Legend suggests that a much earlier Pendragon Castle on this site belonged to Uther Pendragon, father of  the legendary King Arthur. According to the legend, Uther had attempted to re-route the River Eden to create a moat for the castle.

An ancient rhyming couplet reads;

“Let Uther Pendragon do what he can, Eden will run where Eden ran.”

Other stories tell of tragedy, when Saxon invaders poisoned the well, leading to the death of Uther Pendragon and a hundred of his men.

No archealogical evidence has been found to suggest Dark Age settlement, although a couple of Roman coins have been discovered on the site.

Doorway to Pendragon Castle

Doorway to Pendragon Castle

The castle is now a ruin with evidence of the spiral staircase to the left of the doorway and other rooms off to the right.  Most of the first floor has collapsed showing only traces of where the floor would have been with a few windows and doorways.  The 14th century garderobe still stands.

 

 

Over it’s lifetime, the Castle has had many famous and infamous owners, one being Hugh de Morville, a knight responsible for the murder of St. Thomas A’Beckett at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.

Robert de Veteripont became the next owner and then Lady Ideona de Veteripont who also founded the nearby church of St. Mary at Outhgill. A later inheritance saw the castle passed on to Robert de Leyburn before becoming the property of  the wealthy Robert de Clifford, who acquired a licence to the crenalate the castle in 1309. When he was killed at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 the castle passed to his son, Roger.

One of the small archways

One of the small archways

 

 

In 1341 the castle was destroyed by a raiding Scottish army but was rebuilt in 1360. Disaster struck again in 1541, when fire left Pendragon castle in ruins.  It was not until the mid seventeenth century that the castle was restored to it’s former glory by Lady Anne Clifford. Following Lady Anne’s death in 1676, the Earl of Thanet, removed anything of value, including the lead from the roof and again left the castle to the ravages of nature.

 

The first floor had virtually collapsed by the 18th Century

The first floor had virtually collapsed by the 18th Century

Some recent work has been carried out to prop up some of the structure and to install a set of wooden steps to lead to what is left of the first level.

If you visit this site, please be aware that it is on private land and that animals are grazing around the castle.

 

OS Grid Ref:- NY 782025





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