Carlisle Castle
Carlisle Castle
Given the strategic location at the western end of the English border with Scotland, it is not surprising that Carlisle Castle has withstood siege and counter-siege for centuries.

The castle was begun in wood by William II in 1092, and rebuilt in stone by Henry I in 1122. Over the next decade the city walls and castle keep were completed.

Within the keep are cells used for holding prisoners. In one of these cells visitors can see carvings etched in the stone by prisoners of Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III). The most famous prisoner to be confined at Carlisle Castle was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was held here after she abdicated the throne of Scotland in 1568.

A recreated medieval gallery
A recreated medieval gallery

In 1745 Jacobite troops under Bonnie Prince Charlie captured the castle. The Jacobites could not keep up the momentum of their invasion and the castle quickly became a defensive bastion against the army of George II. In the end the Jacobites were forced to capitulate, and the castle became their prison.

In the dungeon visitors can see the "licking stones" where the Jacobite prisoners were forced to lick moisture off the dungeon walls to keep themselves alive, at least temporarily. The keep today houses a display on The '45 Rising, and a model that shows the state of the city at that time. A small cell at the top of the keep is named after Sir Walter Scott's MacIvor, hero of Waverley.

Within the castle is the King’s Own Royal Border Regimental Museum. The museum traces the history of Cumbria's own infantry regiment from its inception in 1702, with displays of uniforms, weapons, medals, and silver.

About Carlisle Castle
Address: Castle Way, Carlisle, Cumbria, England, CA3 8UR
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: in Carlisle city centre
Website: Carlisle Castle
Phone: 01228 591 922
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Location map
OS: NY397 563
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


HeritageWe've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.

Find other attractions tagged with:

castle (Architecture) - Mary, Queen of Scots (Person) -


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest

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