Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Carlisle Castle

Entering the Gatehouse
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the area, Carlisle is at the western end of Hadrian’s wall in modern day Cumbria, only fourteen miles from the present day border with Scotland. Strategically placed at the northern end of a steep bluff, overlooking the confluence of the Rivers Caldew and Eden at the northernmost tip of Carlisle city centre, the castle has seen 800 years of continuous military use. So close to the Scottish border, it functioned both as the first line of defence against marauding Scottish armies and as a focal point for English military campaigns against the Scots.
Portcullis, Outer Gatehouse
As early as AD 70, there was a turf and timber Roman fort, known as Luguvalium, where the present castle stands. Excavations located parts of the west and south defences of this fort, including a waterlogged and remarkably well preserved timber gateway. In the second and third centuries, the fort extended as far south as Abbey Street and Castle Street. After AD 330, there is little information to be had, though crudely built stone structures dating to the late fourth century have been found on the site of the present day fort's barracks.

The existing castle is built upon the central and northern half of the Roman fort, and I’m recording this information because the castle features in my story!They say William II built a timber and earth construction in 1092 and thirty years later Henry I gave money to fortify the town with 'a castle and towers.' The siege of 1217 damaged it badly but the Scottish wars of Edward I meant that repairs were necessary, and by 1290 they were completed.
The old building work (as opposed to Victorian interventions) consists of two lengths of Carlisle city wall adjacent to the curtain walls of the castle, the towers and outer gatehouse, with the bridge over the moat, and an inner ward with its gatehouse, keep, ditch, and curtain walls. The Main gate was rebuilt circa 1380, and from 1422, Carlisle became the centre of the Western March and sums were allocated to ensure that Carlisle was defensible. The inner gatehouse (or Captain's Tower) went up mid-C14 and the Tile Tower in 1483 (when Richard III was Lieutenant of the North and in charge of Carlisle.)


1 comment:

BlackTulip said...

Hello :D
You really have a wonderful blog, I pop in often to read and watch these marvelous photos. It's always very interesting :) Thanks for that EXTREMELY exciting page of history about Carlisle Castle, your photos are stupendous !!! This Portcullis is a dream ... I am green with envy ... I'd like to be there ... haha ... I miss the Old Europe, nothing like that in Canada !