Pendragon Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Eden (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 78183 02635


Pendragon Castle.

Reasons for Designation

Tower houses are a type of defensible house particularly characteristic of the borderlands of England and Scotland. Virtually every parish had at least one of these buildings. Solitary tower houses comprise a single square or rectangular `keep' several storeys high, with strong barrel-vaults tying together massive outer walls. Many towers had stone slab roofs, often with a parapet walk. Access could be gained through a ground floor entrance or at first floor level where a doorway would lead directly to a first floor hall. Solitary towers were normally accompanied by a small outer enclosure defined by a timber or stone wall and called a barmkin. Tower houses were being constructed and used from at least the 13th century to the end of the 16th century. They provided prestigious defended houses permanently occupied by the wealthier and aristocratic members of society. As such, they were important centres of medieval life. The need for such secure buildings relates to the unsettled and frequently war-like conditions which prevailed in the Borders throughout much of the medieval period. Around 200 examples of tower houses have been identified of which less than half are of the free- standing or solitary tower type. All surviving solitary towers retaining significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally important.

Pendragon Castle is highly representative of its period and is reasonably well-preserved as both upstanding structural and buried remains. The monument has a complex life history of construction and demolition and partial excavation has revealed that evidence relating to these different episodes will be preserved as buried archaeological deposits. Accordingly, the monument greatly reflects the tumultuous history of the Borders region and provides insight into the continued importance of fortified residences from the medieval period to the 17th century.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 March 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the remains of a fortified tower house and its earthwork defences, situated on a knoll overlooking the River Eden. The knoll on which the tower stands has been scarped and raised and is contained on the north and east sides by a 3m deep ditch with two causewayed entrances. The tower measures about 20m by 20m with walls 2.5m thick and is preserved as upstanding masonry and buried remains. It has a staircase in its north west angle, a garderobe tower projecting from its south west angle, small rooms in its south west and south east angles and an entrance on its north side leading into a vaulted basement. Partial excavation has revealed intact architectural features as well as deposits relating to the 18th century collapse of parts of the structure.

The original tower on the site was founded in 1180 by Sir Hugh de Marville in order to protect the Mallerstang Valley. It was enlarged in about 1309 by Robert de Clifford, burnt by the Scots in 1341, rebuilt 1360-1370 and destroyed again by the Scots in 1541. In 1660 a curtain wall and outbuildings were rebuilt by Lady Anne Clifford who occupied the gatehouse from 1663-1674. The tower was finally dismantled in 1685 by the Earl of Thanet. Pendragon Castle is a listed building Grade I.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
CU 357
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:- 14759


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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