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Carlisle Castle; medieval tower keep castle, two lengths of city wall, a 16th century battery, and part of an earlier Roman fort known as Luguvalium

A Scheduled Monument in Castle, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.8971 / 54°53'49"N

Longitude: -2.9419 / 2°56'30"W

OS Eastings: 339690.899024

OS Northings: 556228.436867

OS Grid: NY396562

Mapcode National: GBR 7CWT.W9

Mapcode Global: WH802.S59M

Entry Name: Carlisle Castle; medieval tower keep castle, two lengths of city wall, a 16th century battery, and part of an earlier Roman fort known as Luguvalium

Scheduled Date: 7 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014579

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27657

County: Cumbria

Electoral Ward/Division: Castle

Built-Up Area: Carlisle

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Carlisle St Cuthbert with St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Carlisle medieval
tower keep castle, two lengths of Carlisle city wall, a 16th century battery,
and the buried remains of much of the Roman fort known as Luguvalium, a large
part of which underlies the later castle.
It is strategically located at the northern end of a steep bluff overlooking
the confluence of the Rivers Caldew and Eden at the northernmost tip of
Carlisle city centre.
The monument includes the majority of a Roman fort which originally occupied
this location. A turf and timber Roman fort was established here in the early
AD 70s and limited excavations close to the castle have located parts of the
west and south defences of this fort including a waterlogged and remarkably
well preserved timber gateway. Further excavation has found that in the second
century the fort's defences were moved further south and this may imply an
enlargement of the fort area. In the third century the fort appears to have
been enlarged yet again; limited excavation in Abbey Street and Castle Street
found evidence for the defences of a stone fort south of the earlier defences.
The Roman fort continued in use until the AD 330s, its fate after this is
uncertain. Scattered traces of a number of crudely built stone structures, of
unknown purpose but dating to the late fourth century, were built on the site
of the fort's barracks.
Carlisle Castle occupies the central and northern part of the Roman fort. It
includes the upstanding and buried remains of the castle which was occupied
from the late 11th century. Towards the eastern end of the castle is the keep,
originally entered from a forebuilding on the east of which only the
foundations remain. Within the forebuilding a flight of steps gave access to a
first floor door, the original entrance. Building of the keep began during the
1120s. It is freestanding and has immensely thick walls. A spine wall runs the
full height of the building and divides the keep into two halves, each of
which was intended to be defensible. On the ground floor all the walls have
traces of the original deeply-splayed Norman round-headed windows. These rooms
were used for storage purposes and, at various times, prison cells. On the
first floor a passage from the original entrance provides access through a
Norman round-headed door into the hall. In the east wall there is a 14th
century fireplace and a small room thought to have housed the winding gear for
the portcullis. Other rooms built into the walls include one giving internal
access to the well. Leading off the other large first floor room is a
garderobe, and at the opposite end of the same wall is a spiral staircase to
the second floor. Next to the staircase is a partly blocked-up room in the
thickness of the wall. On the second floor there are two rooms and a small
Norman kitchen with a fireplace and chimney. In the same wall as the kitchen
is a staircase to the third floor. In one of the large rooms on the second
floor there is a small cell containing late 15th century wall carvings made by
prisoners. There is also an oratory, that is a small room set aside for
private prayer, where the Scottish King David died in 1153. The third floor is
relatively featureless but gives access up a steep wooden staircase to the
roof where wide embrasures in the parapet were for cannon.
The keep was defended by the inner bailey curtain wall, substantially
buttressed on the north east side, and entered now through the inner
gatehouse, or Captain's Tower, which was built in the 1160s and projects
forward of the wall in order to enable soldiers to fire upon attackers scaling
the walls to either side. The gatehouse was altered in the late 14th century
and again in the mid-16th century when a wide wall walk carried on a high arch
was added for the specific purpose of moving cannon around the walls.
Internally the gatehouse has a porter's lodge on the ground floor, two floors
above the gate passage which house small rooms, and a portcullis housing
together with a small chute built into the wall for the portcullis
counterweight. To the north of the gatehouse there are three openings beneath
the wall walk; these are 16th century storage rooms. Adjacent to the north
east side of the inner bailey are three 19th century buildings, the magazine,
militia store, and a building housing the Regimental Museum. Prior to their
construction the site of these buildings was occupied by a single range which
included royal apartments, the great hall, and a chapel. Medieval fabric of
these buildings survives within the museum including fireplaces and traces of
16th century windows. At the south eastern end of the museum there is a 14th
century octagonal stair turret which originally provided access between the
royal quarters and Queen Mary's Tower, which was situated adjacent to the
south east corner of the inner bailey and which was built as the original
Norman entrance to the castle. Queen Mary's Tower was blocked when the
Captain's Tower was built; still visible are the foundations and part of an
archway with a portcullis groove. Next to this is the narrow Dacre postern
gate. Adjacent to the south east corner of the keep there is a high stone wall
with traces of several fireplaces and ovens. These are remains of the
Governor's or Elizabethan range. This range was rebuilt in 1577 and used as
quarters for the castle governor. It was demolished in 1812. On the northern
side of the keep there is a flight of steps leading to the wall walk. About
halfway up these steps there is a well over 20m deep.
To the west of the inner bailey lies the large outer bailey. A ditch, now dry
but originally waterlogged, separates the two baileys and provided additional
defence for the inner bailey. Protruding into this ditch immediately in front
of the inner gatehouse is a half moon battery built by Stefan von Haschenperg
in 1542. It comprised a double row of guns; at ground level cannon fire would
have raked the outer bailey, whilst below a number of square openings allowed
defenders to fire on assailants attempting to cross the ditch.
The outer curtain wall and outer gatehouse was built by Henry II during the
1160s and a waterlogged moat, now dry, in front of the south curtain wall
added extra defence. There are two postern gates in the wall and a rectangular
tower in the west curtain wall, while at the south west and north west angles
batteries were added at a later date. Access across the outer ditch is by a
stone bridge. Although the parapets are relatively modern the lower part of
the bridge is medieval and it replaced an earlier timber drawbridge which
rested on stone walls. The outer gatehouse, also known as de Ireby's Tower,
was substantially altered between 1378-83. It functioned both as the
residential quarters for the Constable of the castle and as a key
administrative, financial and judicial centre for the county. In the west
tower of the outer gatehouse there is an anteroom - now used as the ticket
office and sales area - the steward's room with a garderobe, a gaoler's room
with a garderobe, and a windowless dungeon. A mural stair leads to the first
floor where there is a kitchen, with a door leading to the barbican walk, and
a service area. Above the service area is a reconstructed solar. Above the
passageway is the hall where there are remains of a large hooded fireplace.
The portcullis housing can be seen in the window close to the fireplace. A
door leads off the hall into the eastern tower of the outer gatehouse and
gives access to a solar where the original entrance, now blocked, can be seen
as a short passage to the left of a window. Below the solar are two rooms,
probably used as a prison, and a garderobe.
Adjoining the south west and south east corners of the outer bailey curtain
wall are lengths of the medieval Carlisle city walls which linked the castle
with the walled medieval town lying immediately to the south. Traces of a
turret exist on the length of wall running from the south east corner of the
curtain wall, while on the other length the rectangular Tile Tower, originally
of 12th century origin but rebuilt at different times from the 15th to the
18th centuries, projects outwards from the line of the wall. In Bitts Park to
the north of the castle there is a low earthwork at the foot of the bluff on
which the castle stands. Here were located massive outworks built by
Haschenperg in 1542.
Documentary sources indicate that the first castle to be built on the site was
constructed in 1092 by William II (Rufus) as part of the strategy of wresting
Carlisle and the border country from Scottish control. This castle was
probably an earthwork and timber construction of which all surface traces have
now been obliterated. Thirty years later Carlisle's defences were refashioned
in stone when Henry I visited the town and gave money in order that it could
be `fortified with a castle and towers'. During the next decade the city walls
were built and construction began on the stone keep. The latter was completed
by the Scottish King David I who occupied the castle from 1135 until his death
in 1153. In 1157 Carlisle and its region were returned to England, of which
they have been part ever since.
In 1163 Henry II enhanced the castle's defences with a stone outer curtain
pierced by a new southern gate. He visited the castle again in 1186 when he
commissioned a new chamber for his personal use. In 1216 King John's barons
rose against him, Carlisle made common cause with the northerners and the city
opened its gates to the Scottish army led by Alexander II. The castle was
captured and documentary sources dated to 1255-6 report that Maunsell's Tower,
William de Ireby's Tower, and the tower over the inner gate had been destroyed
and not rebuilt. Carlisle's long sleep during much of the 13th century after
Alexander II had withdrawn in 1217 was rudely broken by the war between
England and Scotland (the Wars of Independence) 1296-1346. The castle and town
became a focal point for English campaigns against the Scots and in 1306-7 the
castle became the seat of royal government. Just before his death Edward I had
the great hall built in the castle for gatherings of Parliament. Early in
Edward II's reign the royal apartments were reshaped and given a tower of
their own at the south east angle of the inner bailey, where they were
protected by a separate system of defences. Other improvements at this time
included recutting of the castle ditches, the provision of new palisades,
repair to the great gatehouse, and the mounting of large fixed crossbows on
the keep and western postern.
After the Wars of Independence Carlisle increased its prominence in regional
government. The castle became the headquarters of the Warden of the March and
continued to accommodate Cumberland's sheriff. In 1378 work began on the
rebuilding of the outer gatehouse to provide suitable lodgings for these
magnates. In 1430 funds were again made available for Carlisle's defences and
a good deal of this money was spent on cannons. After damage to the castle
during the Wars of the Roses Richard of Gloucester had the Tile Tower, a
purpose built gun tower, built at the time of his usurpation of the throne as
Richard III in 1483-5. However, Carlisle's continued weakness in artillery
precipitated a reform of its defences in 1538 when Henry VIII's reign was
threatened by a unification of his former allies and enemies who united
against the Protestants. Work began in 1540 and the following year came under
the direction of Stefan von Haschenperg who modernised the keep, replacing its
medieval battlements with gun embrasures. He backed the inner bailey walls to
the north and west with ramparts wide enough to carry guns, built the half
moon battery, and constructed massive outworks to the north and east of the
castle. A century later the castle was refortified during the Civil War by the
provision of new batteries at the south west and north west angles of the
outer bailey and an increase in the number of guns on the east curtain wall.
These measures enabled the castle to withstand an eight month siege by the
Scottish army before the occupants surrendered in June 1645. Covenanting Scots
patched up the castle before being driven out by Parliamentarians, who in
their turn were driven out after the Restoration.
The castle again saw military action in 1745 when Charles Edward Stuart took
the castle after a short campaign on his march south. He returned in full
retreat the following month hotly pursued by the Duke of Cumberland. The
Jacobite rearguard hurriedly strengthened the castle but surrendered after a
brief bombardment. During the 19th century a number of military buildings were
constructed within the castle. An armoury (Arroyo) and Arnhem Blocks were
built in the early years of the century. In 1829 a canteen (Gallipoli) was
constructed and three years later garrison cells were built. In 1836 a barrack
block (Ypres) was added. A military prison was built in 1840, a fives court
was provided the following year and two washrooms were added four years later.
In 1872-3 the castle became the training depot of the 34th Cumberland and 55th
Westmorland Regiments, later amalgamated as the Border Regiment. An officers'
mess was built in 1876 and the same year Gallipoli Block was extended. Within
the inner bailey the building which now functions as the Regimental Museum was
built in the 19th century, and in 1881 a militia store and magazine were
constructed. In 1932 Alma Block was built within the outer bailey. In 1959 the
depot closed but the castle remains as the headquarters of the King's Own
Royal Border Regiment and it houses the Regimental Museum.
Carlisle Castle, the associated structures within the curtilage including all
the 19th and 20th century buildings, the city walls, the Tile Tower, the outer
gatehouse, the inner gatehouse, the curtain walls and towers, the bridge over
the moat, and the inner bailey with its keep, ditch and curtain walls are all
Listed Grade I. The castle and the Castle Green are in the care of the
Secretary of State.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these include all
19th and 20th century buildings with the exception of the Regimental Museum
which retains significant medieval remains; all modern revetment walls, steps
and railings; the surfaces of all roads, pavements, paths, flagged, tarmacked,
concreted and cobbled areas; all roadsigns; all electric lighting for
illuminating the castle; all lamp posts; a telephone box; all chain posts; the
posts for holding entrance barriers; all benches and bins; all English
Heritage fixtures and fittings; all cannons and a flagpole; the ground beneath
all these features, however, is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A tower keep castle is a strongly fortified residence in which the keep is the
principal defensive feature. The keep may be free-standing or surrounded by a
defensive enclosure; they are normally square in shape, although other shapes
are known. Internally they have several floors providing accommodation of
various types. If the keep has an attached enclosure this will normally be
defined by a defensive wall, frequently with an external ditch. Access into
the enclosure was provided by a bridge across the ditch, allowing entry via a
gatehouse. Additional buildings, including stabling for animals and workshops,
may be found within the enclosure. Tower keep castles were built throughout
the medieval period, from immediately after the Norman Conquest to the mid-
15th century, with a peak in the middle of the 12th century. A few were
constructed on the sites of earlier earthwork castle types but most were new
creations. They provided strongly fortified residences for the king or leading
families and occur in both urban or rural situations. Tower keep castles are
widely dispersed throughout England with a major concentration on the Welsh
border. They are rare nationally with only 104 recorded examples. Considerable
diversity of form is exhibited with no two examples being exactly alike. With
other castle types, they are major medieval monument types which, belonging to
the highest levels of society, frequently acted as major administrative
centres and formed the foci for developing settlement patterns. Castles
generally provide an emotive and evocative link to the past and can provide a
valuable educational resource, both with respect to medieval warfare and
defence, and to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples retaining
significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally

Medieval town walls were constructed as a fortified defensive enceint, the
purpose of which was to protect both the inhabitants of the town within the
confines of the walls from attack by armed or marauding forces and to prevent
the theft or damage to property within the town by these same forces. At many
towns it was the provision of these fortifications, with communal
responsibility for manning and maintenance, that hastened the development of
the borough. Commonly town walls take the form of substantial ditches and
stone or earthen ramparts, and in towns where former Roman or Anglo-Saxon
defences survived in reasonable order the original stone walls or earthworks
were repaired and utilised. Entrance into the towns was through gateways,
frequently defended by gatetowers, where control of those entering or leaving
could be exercised and tolls could be extracted for the introduction or
removal of goods, livestock, or individuals. Other defensive features on the
walls included towers, bastions and artillery batteries.
Batteries are fortified structures on which artillery is mounted. In its
simplest form a battery is a levelled area or platform situated on a hilltop
or terraced into a slope to serve as a gun emplacement. Batteries vary in size
or shape and may be partly or wholly enclosed by a bank, and occasionally
incorporate one or two outer ditches. More elaborate batteries have stone
breastworks and internal rooms with splayed windows from which smaller guns
can be fired.
Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman army.
In outline they were straight sided rectangular enclosures with rounded
corners, defined by a single rampart of turf, puddled clay or earth with one
or more outer ditches. Although built and used throughout the Roman period,
the majority of forts were constructed between the mid-first and mid-second
centuries AD. Some were only used for a short time but others were occupied
for extended periods on a more or less permanent basis. In the earlier forts
timber was used for gateways, towers and breastworks. From the beginning of
the second century AD there was a gradual replacement of timber with stone. As
one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in
representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts are of
particular significance to our understanding of the period. All Roman forts
with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally
Carlisle Castle and the lengths of city wall adjacent to the castle survive
well and retain significant remains of upstanding medieval fabric. The castle
has seen 800 years of continuous military use and its location close to the
Scottish border meant it functioned both as the first line of defence against
attacking Scottish armies and as a focal point for English military campaigns
against the Scots for many centuries. It provides a significant insight into
the constantly changing design and defensive strategies employed in medieval
castles. Additionally the castle is located upon the central and northern half
of the Roman fort known as Luguvalium. Excavations on the fort's southern
defences a short distance south of the castle have found waterlogged and
remarkably well preserved timber and stone features associated with the four
centuries of Roman occupation. Further evidence of this nature will be
preserved beneath the castle.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
English Heritage, , Carlisle Castle, (1992)
McCarthy, M R, Summerson, H R, Annis, R G, Carlisle Castle : A Survey And Documentary History, (1990), 172
McCarthy, M R, Summerson, H R, Annis, R G, Carlisle Castle : A Survey And Documentary History, (1990)
McCarthy, M R, Summerson, H R, Annis, R G, Carlisle Castle : A Survey And Documentary History, (1990), 64
McCarthy, M R, Summerson, H R, Annis, R G, Carlisle Castle : A Survey And Documentary History, (1990), 4-6
McCarthy, M R, Summerson, H R, Annis, R G, Carlisle Castle : A Survey And Documentary History, (1990), 64-8
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

Source: Historic England

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