Pendragon castle is located just north of Outgill in the vale of Mallerstang, Cumbria. Access is easy as it is next to the B6259 and is open to the public though it’s on private land. At the time of writing it is closed to public due to maintenance being carried out.
There really isn’t a whole lot to see apart from the ruined tower and parts of the moat. The keener eyes will notice that one of the walls contains an opening where a gate may have existed. Within the castles walls the uneven ground consists of rubble accumulated from the upper floors.
The thick tower walls still contain some well-preserved vaulted chambers which are the highlight of the architecture as it is now.
Legend relates the Pendragon castle to Uther Pendragon and his son King Arther who allegedly died here. Though the castle dates 500 years after King Arthur died, so it’s more likely that a previous building was here most probably a wooden structure; since it was the Normans that introduced the stone castle to England after 1066.
Pendragon castle was built in the 12th centuary by Ranulph de Meschines, during the reign of King William Rufus.
One of the most notable owners was Sir Hugh de Morville, Lord of Westmorland – one of the four knights who murdered St Thomas Beckett in 1170. A nearby high-point on Mallerstang Edge is named after him, as Hugh Seat. Another owner was Lady Ideona de Veteripont who, after the death of her husband, spent much of her remaining years living in the castle, until her death in 1334. Lady Ideona founded the church of St Mary in the nearby hamlet of Outhgill, ca 1311.
Pendragon castle was attacked by the scots during a raid in 1341 and set on fire. It was 20 years later before it was repaired. It was nearly two centuries later in 1541 that fire once again left the castle in ruins. It was not until 1660 that when ownership passed to Lady Ann Clifford it was rebuilt again; as she did with many of Cumbria’s castles. She added a brewhouse, bakehouse, stables and a coach house, though where these were is now difficult to tell. Maybe they were in an adjoining field. The castle is said to have been one of her favourites until her death in 1676 at the age of 86 years.
After her death, her successor the earl of Thanet has no use for Pendragon castle and removed anything of value from it, including the roof. By the 1770’s much of the building above the second floor had collapsed and has since gradually decayed further to how we see it today.
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