Pendragon Castle, Cumbria
Pendragon is a 12th century castle located on the east bank of the River Eden. This Norman castle's history however dates back to Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, who legend has it tried to divert the River Eden around the mound upon which his earlier castle was built, hence the ancient ryhme 'Let Uter Pendragon do what he can, Eden will run where Eden ran'. Much of the stone work we see today is of 14th century by Robert de Clifford who was one of the many knights killed by the Scots at the battle of Bannockburn.
On our first visit to this gorgeous little castle, we were able to get access to the site and explore. On our second visit some years later, there is now restoration work underway and so no public access is allowed. A real shame for any would be explorer as Pendragon Castle is the perfect example of a forgotten castle this web-site is dedicated to and one we thoroughly enjoyed exploring and researching.
However, any restoration or repair works on any castle is fabulous news, and so we're really pleased that interest and care is being shown on this wonderful building.
Therefore, please do respect the
No Access signs clearly displayed.
You will still be able to take photo's from the roadside over the fence where you can park with consideration.
Hopefully one day the site will once again be open for exploring.
~ History ~
1160 -The Norman knight Hugh de Morville builds his castle of stone on the long lost ruins of a much earlier castle.
1170 - The castle is confiscated by King Henry II from Hugh de Morville for his part in the murder of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.
1203 - The castle is restored to Hugh's nephew Robert de Vipont.
1296 - Pendragon passes through marriage to Robert de Leyburne.
1308 - Robert de Clifford aquires on the death of his mother's sister the vast lands of the Vipont's, including Pendragon, to become one of the most powerful Baron's of his age. He is also Lord Warden of the Marches, defending the English Border with Scotland. As a soldier he had fought the Scots with King Edward I at the Battle of Falkirk in which William Wallace was finally defeated and he is rewarded with Governorship of Nottingham Castle. He is also earned great renown for the siege of Caerlaverock Castle.
1309 - As counsellor to King Edward II and now Lord of Skipton, Robert is granted a license by Kind Edward II to crenellate his tower at Pendragon.
1312 - Robert joins forces with the Earl of Lancaster against King Edwards's favourite, Piers Gaveston, besieging him in Scarborough Castle.
1314 - The castle is barely complete when Robert is killed at the Battle of Bannockburn by King Robert the Bruce's Scottish forces against the English King Edward II.
1323 - Edward II confiscates Pendragon castle from Roberts son Roger, who is later executed after being captured at the Battle of Boroughbridge, in which Roger's ally the powerful Earl of Lancaster, is also captured and then executed following defeat against Edward's Royal forces. Pandragon Castle is soon restored to the de Clifford family.
1333 - King Balliol of Scotland is entertained at the castle by the two co-heiresses, Idonea and Isabella.
1341 - The Scots return to Pendragon but this time as a rebellious raiding party to burn the castle in an attempt to annoy their King.
1360's - Further building and restoration work is undertaken at the castle.
1541 - The Scots again return to Pendragon to lay waste to the surrounding farms and burn the castle.
1660 - Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery, a great landowner and renowned benefactor, at the ripe old age of 70, orders repairs to be made in order that the castle can be re-inhabited. Well known at the court of King James I, Lady Anne's repairs were only possible after a lengthy legal battle to inherit the Clifford estates.
She often stayed at Pendragon along with other castles she had repaired including; Appleby, Brough, Brougham, Skipton and Barden tower, arriving over the fells in a coach driven by six horses with a retinue of men servants on horseback and met by many tenants and landed neighbours.
1676 - Upon the death of Lady Anne at the age of 86, the castle is inherited by her grandson Nicholas, Earl of Thanet.
1685 - Nicolas son and heir, also Nicolas Earl of Thanet, has the castle dismantled rather than paying for the upkeep of the estate of castles. Timber, lead off the roof and stone were sold off or used at Skipton Castle.