Carlisle Castle

BookCarlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle

A survey and documentary history

English Heritage


February 15th, 2013

Access Token




In 1092 a castle, presumably of earth and timber, was first built at Carlisle, on an elevated site to the north of the city. Converted into stone during the course of the twelfth century, and substantially increased in size, it has occupied the same spot ever since. The buildings have witnessed dramatic events on the Anglo-Scottish border, which are fully documented in this account, as well as periods of concentrated building activity, and years of decline and neglect. The castle today is one of the major properties in the care of English Heritage: this study traces the stages through which the use of the castle has gone in both war and peacetime up to and including its present state. The historical account of the castle is preceded by a full survey of the standing buildings, including many accurate scale drawings of the keep, the Captain's and De Ireby's Towers, and other main elements. The volume is intended as a comprehensive statement and record of this important castle.

Author Information

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half-Title Page2
Title Page3
Copyright Page294
List of illustrations6
List of tables7
Section 1: Description and discussion of the castle buildings10
1. The setting10
The location of the castle10
The geology of Carlisle by B Young11
The topography and early history of Carlisle13
2. Introduction to the castle17
The analysis and the source material17
The layout of the castle19
The earliest castle20
3. The defences21
The outer bridge and the outer ditch21
The outer bridge21
The outer ditch23
The curtain walls24
The inner ward24
The outer ward29
Description of the outer gatehouse (De Ireby's Tower)40
The exterior40
The interior46
The inner gatehouse59
The external elevations59
The interior62
The half-moon battery, breastwork, inner ditch and inner bridge68
The city walls and the Tile Tower73
The north-east city walls73
The western city walls and the Tile Tower (exterior)73
The interior of the Tile Tower75
4. The buildings of the inner ward78
Access into the inner ward78
The keep and forebuilding78
The keep: external elevations78
The forebuilding: external elevations84
The keep: interior84
The ground floor84
The first floor (Fig 73)88
The second floor and other features (Fig 74)91
The third floor (Fig 74B)95
The parapet96
Queen Mary's Tower and the passage to the Dacre postern gate105
The external elevations105
The internal layout of the tower (Fig 101)106
The passage to the Dacre postern gate107
The Elizabethan or Governor's range109
The south elevation109
The west elevation112
The Regimental Museum114
External elevations114
The internal elevations116
The Magazine and the Militia Store120
5. The buildings of the outer ward122
Description and discussion122
The Officers' Mess122
Ypres block122
Gallipoli block122
Arroyo block122
Arnhem block124
Alma block125
The garrison cells and Regimental offices125
Section 2: The history of Carlisle Castle from 1092 to 1962127
6. Early developments 1092–1217127
The Normans and their castles127
Henry I, David I and the beginnings of building in stone128
Henry II and the reordering of Carlisle's defences130
Carlisle and the war of 1173–1174131
Carlisle and the extension of royal control 1174–1189133
The reign of John and the siege of 1216134
7. Carlisle Castle 1217–96136
Recovery and renewal 1217–23136
Peaceful neglect 1223–1256136
The report of (?)1256 and the thirteenth-century castle137
Carlisle Castle in the Barons' Wars 1258–67139
The late thirteenth-century castle 1267–96140
8. The castle from 1296 to 1378142
The beginnings of the Scottish Wars 1296–1311142
The years of crisis 1311–1323144
Neglect, decay and uproar 1323–1345148
Partial restoration 1346–1378151
9. Rebuilding and renewal, 1377–1399155
The new gatehouse155
Other building works158
War and peace in the borders159
Techniques and workforce161
Organisation and finance163
10. The period of Warden control, 1399–1537166
The Percies and the Nevilles 1399–1426166
The period of Neville dominance 1426–1461167
Carlisle and the Wars of the Roses 1461–1470169
The rule of Richard of Gloucester 1471–1485170
The Wardenship of Thomas Lord Dacre 1485–1525171
Carlisle Castle in 1529174
Repair and rebellion 1529–1537178
11. The Tudor castle: 1537–1603180
Modernisation and renovation 1537–1550180
Renewed stagnation 1550–1563184
The Certificate of Decays and the crisis of the late 1560s186
The Wardenship of Lord Scrope 1570–1592189
The organisation of the sixteenth-century works194
The Tudor castle, its functions and its occupants196
The last years of Tudor Carlisle 1592–1603198
12. 1603–1745203
The Union of the Crowns and its aftermath 1603–1639203
The Civil Wars and Interregnum 1639–1660204
The Restoration castle 1660–1688211
Reports and repairs211
Dissenters and Covenanters213
Carlisle Castle in the reign of Charles II214
The Reign of James II and the Glorious Revolution217
Stagnation and disuse 1688–1745219
13. 1745–1815223
Carlisle and the '45223
Declining into picturesqueness 1746–1793228
Foreign war and civil disturbances 1793–1815232
14. Radicalism and reconstruction, 1815–1848239
15. 1848–1962; from regimental depot to ancient monument255
The mid-Victorian castle255
Closure and reoccupation 1860–1890260
The beginnings of dual control 1890–1918266
'Preserving the amenities' 1918–1962269
Appendix 1: selected documentary sources274
Appendix 2: Pictorial sources for Carlisle castle277
Works referred to282
Public Record Office Classes Cited282