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PENRITH CASTLE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  STRICKLANDS TOWER
DESCRIPTION + /

The ruins of the 15th century Penrith Castle together with a 14th century pele tower possibly built by Bishop Strickland. The pele tower has external dimensions of 10 metres by 8.8 metres width walls 2.3 metres thick and over 1 metre high. A doorway in its south western side gives access into a substantial yard measuring 36 metres square internally which is enclosed by a high barmkin or curtain wall. This wall still stands virtually to its full height on the south east and much of the south west sides but is considerably reduced in height elsewhere. The yard would have contained timber buildings associated with the pele tower. The buildings of the later castle were constructed within this yard and against the curtain wall, thereby creating an inner courtyard, and survive as low stone walls. These internal buildings included a great chamber, a chapel, a private chamber and great hall, kitchens, and the White Tower. The castle was later extended beyond the north west wall of the barmkin and there are foundations of a garderobe turret, guard chambers flanking an elaborate entrance, and remains of the Red Tower at the northern corner. Surrounding the castle on all sides except the north west where it has been lost, is a dry moat up to 15 metres wide and 6 metres deep. There are foundations of a bridge abutment and later gatetower giving access across the moat's north eastern arm. In 1397 William Strickland obtained a licence to strengthen and crenellate his pele tower. Two years later a further licence was granted to build the barmkin. In the early 15th century Richard II gave the town and manor of Penrith to Ralph Nevill, Earl of Westmorland, and the new owner added the Red Tower, and began construction of the internal buildings in stone. In 1471 Richard, Duke of Gloucester, continued the internal building and added a substantial outer gateway on the north western side, enlarging the structure into a royal castle. The moat was added in the late 15th century.

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