Ruined Castle named after a King
Pendragon Castle stands just off the B3259, four miles south of Kirkby Stephen in Westmoreland.
Pendragon Castle is, naturally, said to be named after King Uther Pendragon who supposedly built the place as one of his northern strongholds. An old local rhyming couplet tells how he tried to divert the River Eden for use as a moat: Let Uther Pendragon do what he can, Eden will run where Eden ran.
Later, the castle appears in literary tales as the Rheged home of the exiled Sir Brian of the Isles, after he fled Dolorous Guard in Bryneich. At Pendragon, Sir Brian would imprison knights and ladies - any one he get his hands on - as some form of sadistic entertainment. His most famous victims was Sir Brunor the Black, who Sir Lancelot eventually rescued, ousting the wicked Sir Brian and giving the castle to the relessee instead.
Though in a prominent position on a natural knoll, at present, there is no evidence for any sort of Dark Age settlement on the site. The standing castle ruins date from 1170, when Hugh de Morville, one of the knights who murdered St. Thomas A'Becket, built himself a large square keep here. There were major refortifications and alterations under Robert de Clifford in 1341 making the place a fine lordly residence until the end of the 17th century when it began to fall into disrepair.
Many thanks to Graeme Dougal for the use of his photograph.
|© Nash Ford Publishing 2002. All Rights Reserved.|