Brough Castle lies just outside the village of Brough off the A66. The castle is now looked after by English Heritage and entry is free.
Though the castle is quite ruinous there is still a lot to see as the castle was quite large, especially after visiting Pendragon castle. The keep is quite large and much remains as does much of the moat.
Brough castle was built over the Roman fort Verterae to protect a key route through the Pennine Mountains around 1092 by William Rufus. The Mott and Bailey castle that was originally built by William was destroyed by a Scottish raid in 1174 during the great revolt against Henry II. It was rebuilt after the war where the Stone keep we see today was built and the rest of the castle was converted to stone.
The Clifford family took over the castle after the Second Barons War of 1260. They built Cliffords tower and a series of other renovations creating a fortification typical of northern English style.
In 1521 Henry Clifford held a Christmas feast after which a fire broke out which destroyed the property. From here the castle was abandoned until Lady Anne Clifford restored it between 1659 and 1661. The structure of the castle, must have been basically sound, for the work began in 1659, and in the following year was sufficiently advanced for Lady Anne to be able to make a brief visit, staying in Clifford’s tower for a night and two in the keep. An inscription recording her restoration was put up at the end of 1663, so the work was probably finished by then. But although she spent eight days in the castle to following year, she made no lengthy stay until 1665, when she arrived on 10th November and stayed until 19th April the following year. She was to make extended visits on a further three occasions, always occupying the chamber at the top of Clifford’s tower.
Lady Anne made some substantial additions to the fabric of Brough. As well as restoring the existing buildings, she built the block of stables between the gatehouse and the keep, and also the row of service buildings at the east end of the north curtain wall.
After Lady Anne’s death, Brough like Brougham, was neglected. Minor repairs to keep the roofs secure were made until 1715 when the roofs along with fittings were sold for £155. Brough castle quickly fell into a sharp decline and was stripped of any remaining assets and then its stonework. The castles masonry began to fall early in the 1800’s.