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Penrith Castle was built by Ralph Neville (1364-1425), 1st Earl of Westmorland, possibly on the site of a Roman fort.  Neville was granted the manor of Penrith in 1396 and, as warden of the West March, he was responsible for the defence of this area against the Scots.  The castle was built shortly after Neville’s appointment; his son, Richard, 5th Earl of Salisbury (1400–60), made it his headquarters, probably building the so-called ‘Red Tower’, the remains of which dominate the ruins today, as well as improving the entrance defences.  After the death of Richard Neville (‘the Kingmaker’), 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury, in 1471, the castle came into the hands of Richard, Duke of Gloucester (1452–85), later King Richard III.  Richard was Sheriff of Cumberland and resided at the castle from time to time.  He improved the residential wing, adding large windows and other luxuries.  By the mid-16th century, the castle was partially decayed, though it was used briefly during the Civil War in 1648 as headquarters of the Parliamentary General John Lambert.  Afterwards, it fell into further disrepair.  It now sits opposite Penrith Railway Station, in Castle Park, with a bowling green and tennis courts nearby.

Location/Address: Castle Park
County: Cumbria
Post Code: CA11 7EA
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Link to featured article: The castle at Penrith
Tip/Nearby: Eamont Bridge, Brougham Castle, Clifton
Primary Management: English Heritage
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