The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Drumburgh Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Drombogh; Drumbewgh

In the civil parish of Bowness.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY26565977
Latitude 54.92719° Longitude -3.14727°

Drumburgh Castle has been described as a certain Tower House, and also as a probable Bastle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Tower House, now farmhouse. C13, licence to crenellate granted to Robert le Brun 24 August 1307. Alterations originally dated 1518 with initials and coat of arms of Thomas Lord Dacre over entrance; further alterations between 1678 and 1681 for John Aglionby and C19 additions. Extremely thick walls of squared and coursed red sandstone (from the nearby Roman Wall) on chamfered plinth, parapet over entrance with carved stone eagle finials; steeply pitched graduated greenslate roof with coped gables, brick chimney stacks. 3 storeys (formerly 4 storeys), 5 bays; single-storey single-bay extension to left. C19 gabled brick porch with Welsh slate roof; to right is a blocked round-headed C13 window. C13 blocked round-headed ground floor entrance is partly covered by C16 or C17 external stone steps to first floor. 1517 entrance; iron-studded oak plank door could be original (with later internal lock dated and inscribed J.L. 1681) in pointed-arched and chamfered surround with carved stone panel of arms above. Ground floor and first floor sash windows with glazing bars in enlarged C16 openings. Continuous row of blocked slit vents above. Second floor C16 2-light stone-mullioned windows now have Yorkshire sashes with mullions removed; blocked third floor windows slightly above and between these windows. Rear wall has similar windows and blocked windows. End wall right, which was in danger of collapse, was completely taken down in the late 1970's and rebuilt in facsimile, with broad central buttress and corbelled-out battlemented parapet, which may have been the remains of medieval crenellation. Floor levels of interior changed in C16 and C17: many original features will be covered by later plasterwork. First floor C17 wood-panelled room. Interior of rebuilt end is entirely of breeze blocks and open from floor to roof; roof of king-post trusses could be C16. (Listed Building Report)

Drumburgh Castle, a pre 1306 fortified Manor house (Peel), belonged to Robert le Brun who obtained licence to crenellate in 1307. A ditch to the West and South is probably the only surviving evidence for this building which was demolished and superseded in 1525 by the present building, partly rebuilt in 1681. Most of the masonry for the Castle seems to have been derived from the Roman Wall, and a Roman altar appears to be in (? built into) the outside doorway on the first floor. Drumburgh Castle formed a unit in the long line of English strongholds which guarded the Scottish Border, standing as it does, nearly opposite one of the fords across the Solway. (PastScape ref. McIntire 1929)

DRUMBURGH (NY 266597). Examination by P. Dixon and P. Borne of Drumburgh Castle has shown that the ground floor of Thomas Lord Dacre's early 16th-century stone house incorporates the ruins of a stone hall with blocked windows and an elaborate blocked door of early 13th-century character, presumed to be the remains of the manor house which Richard le Brun fortified after 1307. (Med. Arch. 1979)

March 1593. Note, by Auditor King, of castles and houses of defence adjoining Scotland, and within the West Borders, viz.:—
Drumburgh, neither castle nor tower, but a house of strength, six miles west and by north from Carlisle Castle, and two from Scotland, a very fit place for defence of that part of the Border. (Cal. S.P.Dom.)

A Royal licence to crenellate may have been granted in 1307 Aug 24 (Click on the date for details of this supposed licence.).


Building with a complex history but in its current (basically C16) form resembles a superior bastle rather than anything else. However as a baronial status multi-storey building recorded in Gatehouse as a tower house.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:53

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact