Brough Castle

Brough Castle, Cumbria

~ History ~

1092 - William II builds Brough castle in stone.

1174 - The castle is captured and destroyed by the Scots under William the Lion.

1180's - Henry II builds the keep at Brough castle.

1199 - King John repairs the castle between 1199 and 1202.

1204 - The castle is granted by King John to Robert de Vipont.

1228 - Robert de Vipont's son, as a minor succeeds his father and so the castle is held by the Justiciar, Hubert de Burgh, acting as guardian.

1245 - Under new ownership of the Clifford family substantial repair work is carried out on the castle, including the rebuilding of the central section of the north curtain wall and the provision of a new gatehouse on the south side.

1314 - Following the English defeat at Bannockburn, where the 1st Lord Clifford is killed, the Scots burn the adjacent town. The castle suffers only superficial damage.

1319 - The Scots return and again burn the town but once more the castle holds out.

1322 - The 2nd Lord Clifford is hanged as a rebel, although the family later regain their estates.

1350's - The 5th Lord Clifford builds a new hall block between the gatehouse and Clifford's Tower.

1461 - The 9th Lord Clifford known as the 'butcher', a Lancastrian noted for his severity towards the Yorkists, is killed in the battle of Towton. The castle is later held by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, "The Kingmaker". The 10th Lord Clifford is raised in secret as a shepherd on his father's former estates and only regains Brough after Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Bosworth.

1521 - The castle catches fire during a Christmas feast and remains in ruins for the next hundred years.

1659 - Lady Anne Clifford, Countess Dowager of Pembroke, Dorest and Montgomery, begins the three year restoration of the castle, including the rebuilding of Clifford's Tower.

1666 - Clifford's Tower is again gutted by fire and the remainder of the castle is abandoned shortly after, with materials being removed for reuse at Appleby castle.

1695 - A survey records the keep being roofless and the castle ruinous.

1714 - The remaining domestic fittings are sold. Fifty years later the stone from Clifford's Tower rebuilds Brough Mill.


Brough, S.E. of Penrith


A685 / A66   


Nr CA17 4EJ

The ruins of Brough Castle occupy a lofty site in the Vale of Eden, overlooking Swindale Beck and commanding a crossing of the Pennines, on the main road between Appleby and Barnard Castle.

The strategic importance of the site was first exploited by the Romans, who built a substantial fort, Verterae, here. When William II came to construct a royal castle, parts of the Roman building were incorporated. Some Roman earthworks are still visible, and there is a stretch of Norman work in the north wall; otherwise, nothing remains of these early fortifications. The Norman castle was destroyed by William the Lion, King of Scotland, during his invasion in the 12th century. The castle was later rebuilt and, a century later, came into the possession of the formidable Clifford family.

A car park is provided near the castle making acess very easy. There is plenty to see of the ruined curtain walls and towers from a stroll round the grounds with fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. Little now remains inside the castle of interest. A great little castle well worth the visit on a blue-sky summers day.