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Moated site of Dacre Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Dacre, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6305 / 54°37'49"N

Longitude: -2.838 / 2°50'16"W

OS Eastings: 345999.863898

OS Northings: 526477.983533

OS Grid: NY459264

Mapcode National: GBR 8GMW.CV

Mapcode Global: WH819.CWT1

Entry Name: Moated site of Dacre Castle

Scheduled Date: 1 March 1963

Last Amended: 9 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011680

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23757

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Dacre

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Dacre St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the outer banks, moat and moated island upon which Dacre
Castle stands. It is located in the village of Dacre on a spur of high ground
between Dacre Beck to the south and a small ravine to the north. The
sub-rectangular island measures approximately 73m by 55m and contains Dacre
Castle on its eastern side. The island is surrounded on all sides except the
east by a partly waterlogged moat measuring 9m-15m wide by up to 4.5m deep. On
the west and south sides an earthen bank up to 9m wide by 1m high flanks the
outside of the moat, and on the south west and south sides there is a second
and parallel outer bank of similar size with a dry ditch separating the two

Dacre Castle was built soon after the licence to crenellate was granted to
William de Dacre in 1307. It has been suggested that the castle was
constructed within an earlier moated site, but this has not been confirmed and
the surrounding moat may be contemporary with the castle. Documentary sources
of 1354 indicate that Margaret de Dacre, daughter-in-law of William de Dacre,
lived in the castle. Documentary sources also indicate that the East Tower was
built at some time before 1485 by Humphrey de Dacre. By the latter half of the
17th century the castle was derelict, but soon after Thomas Lennard, Earl of
Sussex, undertook extensive repairs to make it habitable. A engraving by Buck
in 1739 depicts vegetation on the castle roof and the outworks demolished,
suggesting the castle may again have become run down. This view is enhanced by
Gilpin who, in 1786, depicts the castle as a roofless ruin. Three years later
Clarke describes it as `an old tower, though pretty entire.' Alterations and
improvements were made during the 19th and 20th centuries. The castle is a
Listed Building Grade I.

Dacre Castle, its cellars, a garage, a telegraph pole, all field and garden
walls, fences and gateposts and the surfaces of all paths are excluded from
the scheduling but the ground beneath all these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The moated site at Dacre Castle survives reasonably well, its earthworks in
particular remaining well preserved. The waterlogged parts of the moat will
preserve organic material. Additionally information about the relationship
between the moated site and the castle will be preserved.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Curwen, J E, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Extra Series' in Castles And Towers of Cumberland And Westmorland, , Vol. 13, (1913), 269-72
Curwen, J F, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Extra Ser.' in Castles and Towers of Cumb, West and Lancs N of the Sands, , Vol. 13, (1913)
Cumbria SMR, Dacre Castle, The Earthworks, (1987)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
FMW Report, Crow, J, Dacre Castle, earthworks of, (1991)
Hasell-McCosh, R B,
SMR No 2949, Cumbria SMR, MPP Monument Evaluation Form 1 - Single Mon Discrimination, (1991)
SMR No. 2949, Cumbria SMR, Dacre Castle, The Earthworks, (1987)
SMR No. 2949, Cumbria SMR, MPP Monument Evaluation Form 1 - Single Mon Discrimination, (1991)

Source: Historic England

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