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Brougham Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Broome; Brouham; Browham; Bruham; Brum; Burgham; Brouham

In the civil parish of Brougham.
In the historic county of Westmorland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Westmorland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY53712900
Latitude 54.65399° Longitude -2.71887°

Brougham Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Built 1203 beside Roman auxillary fort, which was used as a bailey. Remains consist of square keep of c1203. and curtain wall and two, old fashioned, rectangular gatehouse probably associated with a licence to crenellate granted in 1309 to Robert Clifford.
It was converted into a country house in C17 by Lady Anne Clifford. It was partly demolished circa 1691. It fell into disrepair and was sold off for building materials in 1714. The castle is situated on a spur jutting into the flood plain of the River Eamont; the river cliff undoubtedly steepened and strengthened, provides a natural defence on the north and part of the west sides, and a moat, double on the south half of the west side, connects the cliff around the other sides to form a complete circuit. The moat was cleaned out in the 1930's. (PastScape)

Brougham Castle (Plate 85), ruins and earthworks, stands on the S. bank of the river Eamont. The walls are mainly of red sandstone with dressings of the same material. Under Henry II the property was granted to Gospatrick son of Orm and under John it passed to the family of Vipont; the marriage of the Vipont heiress to Roger de Clifford (died 1282) brought the property to that house and with them it remained until the extinction of the family by the death of Lady Anne Clifford in 1676. It passed from her through the Earls of Thanet to the present owner, Lord Hothfield, who placed the castle under the guardianship of H.M. Office of Works in 1928.
The earliest part of the existing building is the square Keep (later known as the Pagan Tower) which was built c. 1170–80; it was entered by a forebuilding on the E. face, but there is no evidence of what else the castle consisted at this date. Early in the 13th century a rectangular building was erected, axially with and to the E. of the keep; the form and position of this building suggest that it was originally a chapel, but it was subsequently raised to at least three storeys as is indicated by the structure of the adjoining buildings, though the supposed chapel itself has been largely destroyed; the apartment on the second floor of this building was later the Great Chamber. Rather later in the 13th century much of the curtain-wall seems to have been built and with it a block of buildings on the E. side probably containing the hall (on the first floor) and the offices. In the same century a vault was inserted in the ground floor of the keep and other alterations made at a higher level. Late in the 13th century the western block of building against the S. curtain was built and the top stage added to the keep; at much the same time, c. 1290–1300, the Inner Gatehouse and the S.W. Tower (later called the Tower of League) were built, and c. 1300 the Outer Gatehouse was built, and c. 1330 the top storey was added and the narrow building erected between it and the inner gatehouse. Roger, 5th Lord Clifford (d. 1388), is said to have built the greater part of the castle towards the E., and to him must be assigned the reconstruction of the Great Hall with its porch; shortly after, the Chapel block was inserted against the S. curtain and between two earlier blocks; perhaps at this time the earlier chapel was heightened and transformed into the great chamber. At the same period a corridor was built connecting the keep with the porch of the hall. An inscription, now placed on the outer gate house, probably refers to the 5th Lord Clifford. Much repair is said to have been done on the castle by Henry, 2nd Earl of Cumberland (d. 1569–70), but little work of this date can be identified. The castle suffered much in the Civil War and was lying "ruinous and desolated" in 1651 when the Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Pembroke, began the repair of the building; her work, mainly undertaken in 1651–2, consisted largely of reroofing and reconditioning the existing buildings, but she pulled down the old bakehouse and brewhouse adjoining the Tower of League and re-built them; her buildings may be represented by the northern foundations against the W. curtain and now turfed over. The particulars of her visits recorded in her diary and elsewhere permit the identification of the chief rooms in the castle in her day. The Great Hall on the first floor gave access upstairs to the Great Chamber, the Painted Chamber, the Passage Room and her own chamber in succession, the last immediately adjoining the middle room of the Pagan Tower (or Keep). This succession is only possible on the second or top floor of the gatehouse blocks, and the Lady Anne's own chamber, in which she died, must thus have been in the third storey of the inner gatehouse. The castle was abandoned and its demolition begun by Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet, in 1691; stone, lead and timber from it were sold in 1714; since then the remains have gradually deteriorated until their complete repair was undertaken by H.M. Office of Works.
The remains of Brougham Castle form the most extensive and important survival of military architecture in the county. The 12th-century keep is still largely complete, as are the two gatehouses, the three together forming a remarkable example of defensive planning. (RCHME 1936)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1309 July 16 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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