Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

The Eden Valley, Cumbria is home to buildings old, great and historic ruin. A sign of the area’s past going back many hundreds of years, being close to the border with Scotland and a crossway to the Northern Pennines and the South. I have already shown you a couple from the valley… The grand ruin of Brougham Castle plus the bigger history than thought at the castle within the bustling Penrith. Now I move further up the valley and to junction were the Pennines meet the Howgills. Brough Castle.

P71201101 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

To the East of Kirkby Stephen, near the junction of the A66 and A685 is the unmissable landmark of Brough Castle ruins. Before the castle we should look back even further to the Roman for of Verterae that stood here.. The current A66 follows what was a very important Roman Road that cut across the Pennines from Scotch Corner to Penrith. A key position for defence and route protection. In approximately 1092 King William II (William Rufus, built the first castle here, to protect the important trading route over the Pennines. 

P71201311 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

P71201441 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

William the Lion, King of Scotland led the Great Revolt in 1173 and took the castle, destroying much of the original structure. Henry II of England gained it back after defeating William at the Battle of Alnwick. As with Brougham King John gave this castle with the Lordship of Westmorland to Robert de Vieuxpont in 1203. Through debts and neglect the castle again went to ruin by the end of the 13th Century.

P71201191 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

Eventually the castle made its way into the Clifford family. It was built up into a grand place to stay for the family. New tower, new hall and residences. In fact during the 14th and 15th century it was here that the family came to stay. In 1521 a fire during the Christmas feast destroyed much of the castle.. Again it became pretty much a ruin.

P71200971 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

P71201041 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

Then, in 1643, Lady Anne Clifford inherited and restored it along with all of the castles she spent lots of time rebuilding. She lived and worked there, in the tower, then the keep, slowly getting the castle back to former glory, it had 24 fireplaces in total. But, in 1666, yet another fire made the place uninhabitable. As it was passed down the family the castle was stripped to help things like the reconstruction of Appleby Castle and the building of Brough Mill. It started to fall to what we see today, with a big collapse of the keep happening in early 1800s.

P71200861 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

P71201361 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

Visiting today you will be pleased to not that to wander through and around the ruins is absolutely free! Quite a remarkable place for a picnic in the sun too. There is a reason this spot was chosen for a fort then castle… It is a small raised area with commanding views down the valley.

P71202001 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

P71201831 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

Right next to it is a place all the family is sure to love, the ice cream parlour! Enjoy the history, enjoy the views, enjoy the peace, enjoy the taste 😀

P71201731 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

P71201721 Brough Castle – The history to a ruin

Written by Paul Steele

Paul is the founder and Editor of the site. An avid hiker and trekker. Travel, adventure and photography are passions that he combines to make his articles here. Likes to see the positive in everything.


Leave a Reply
  1. Brought back childhood memories of visits during the 1950s. In the 70s I delivered bread to villages off the A66 during University vacations. Scotch Corner Hotel was a favoured spot for afternoon tea, dinner dances and cocktails! Ford Prefects, Humber Super Snipes and Vauxhall Victors..

  2. I loved your post. I was actually able to learn something about a place instead of just reading about how cool an adventure was. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Glyndŵr’s Way, one of the quietest National Trails

Apricot and Almond Wholemeal Loaf