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The ruins of Kendal Castle dominate the town from Castle Hill, which offers great views of the hills and the town itself, across to Castle Howe – possibly the site of Kendal’s first castle. No one’s sure exactly when Kendal Castle was built –it was probably constructed after 1183 for the first Baron of Kendal, Gilbert Fitz-Reinfrid. There are the remains of a good-sized stone curtain wall, surrounded by a deep ditch, or moat. Inside are what is left of the great hall, kitchen complex and cellars. Most buildings would have been made of wood and no trace of them is visible. The most famous owners of Kendal Castle were the Parr family, whose most famous daughter, Catherine Parr, was the last wife of Henry VIII. However, it is thought that Catherine never visited Kendal. The castle and its surrounding park were seized by the Crown in 1553 from Catherine’s brother, William, who was declared a traitor for supporting Lady Jane Grey. By 1572, the fortress was reported to be ‘ready to fall down with age’. Further decay inevitably followed, until the town council acquired the castle and opened it to the public in time for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. These days, the site is frequently used for recreation by local families and visitors. There are various paths to it.