Peveril Castle, Derbyshire
Peveril Castle even in its ruinous state is one of the most dramatically situated castles in all of England.
The Peak Distract hilltop site visually commands the valley below and the picturesque town of Castleton.
You can park in the village with consideration on the roadside, outside the stone buildings and welcoming pubs. The castle visitors centre is a short walk, before the real walk begins up the steep slope to the castle itself. Please be aware the path up to the castle is very steep, so good boots and a rest or two on the way is a good idea.
Once you get to the top you'll find the castle itself is on a slope and as you make your way to the keep, as you climb you will see ever more wonderful scenery open up around you. However, the best views to and from the castle can be found at the back of the castle near the keep which falls dramatically below.
The castle is not large in size and is very ruinous, but like many of the castles we have visited, its the location and spectacular views that make their exploration worth the effort of finding them and the climbs that are often involved.
~ History ~
1068 ~ William the Conqueror puts down a Saxon revolt in the Midlands and the North and builds himself a castle at Nottingham, which he entrusts to his loyal Norman commander William Peveril.
1069 ~ William is awarded extensive estates in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, displacing the native Saxon lords and barons.
1086 ~ Peveril castle is built from its begining in stone to defend the key route through the valley.
1100 ~ King Henry comes to the throne and awards Peveril Castle to William to hold as his own to control local revenue and to establish a new lordship and town.
1141 ~ William's son, also named William, backs the wrong side in the bitter civil war between King Stephen and Emperess Matilda, leading to his capture at the Battle of Lincoln. He is later accused by the powerful and influential Earl of Chester that he had tried to poison him.
1154 ~ William makes an enemy of Henry Plantagenet, who becomes King later the same year. Within a year Peveril Castle and its lands are in control of the Crown.
1157 ~ King Henry entertains King Malcolm IV of Scotland at Peveril castle.
1173 ~ During the Baron's revolt King Henry spends £116 on Peveril and Bolsover Castles.
1175 ~ Following the Bastons revolt a further £184 is spent over the following two years on the castle including the building of the keep.
1189 ~ Upon King Henry's death his son King Richard I grants peveril castle and lordship of the Peak, to his brother prince John before setting off on Crusade.
1193 ~ Prince John is forced to surrender Peveril Castle to his brother King Richard after plotting against him.
1199 ~ Upon King Richard's death and King John's ascendance to the throne, in need of funds he sells the lordship of the Peak, but retains control of the castle from the new lord William Ferrer.
1216 ~ King John is finally forced to cede Peveril castle to the Ferrers, Lords of the Peak when faced with civil war with his barons. However King John's castellan Brian de Lisle refused to hand the castle over.
Only upon King John's death under the nine year old King Henry III does Ferrer gain control of the castle following extended negotiations to avoid military action.
1223 ~ Ferrer is forced to return the castle to King Henry III following a stand-off against the Crown.
1235 ~ King Henry III vists Peveril Castle, with repairs to the castle made as a result of his visit.
1248 ~ Provisions from the castle are sent to King Henry's Welsh castles at Dyserth and Degannwy.
1250 ~ Further building work is undertaken over the next two years costing over £60.
1264 ~ During the Barons revolt led by Simon de Montford, Robert de Ferrer is restored to his family's castle until De Montford's death the following year at the Battle of Evesham, when Prince Edward recovers the castle for the Crown.
1272 ~ A further £40 is spent on the castle over the next three years under King Edward I as part of Queen Eleanor's dowry. Sixteen years later a further £151 is spent.
1374 ~ Under John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and post powerful magnet in the country, Peveril Castle is aquired with orders to strip lead from its builds to send to Pontefract castle. This act signals the end to Peveril's importance and over the following centuries its administrative duties are transferred to Tutbury Castle. Officials turn a blind eye to locals stripping the castle of its stone and using it as an animal enclosure. This accelerates the castles decline into ruin.