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Triermain Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Trevermane; Trivermain; Tradermayne; Tridermaine; Treuermane; Tryermain; Tryvermaine; Tradermeane

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY59476681
Latitude 54.99412° Longitude -2.63499°

Triermain Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


No definite documentary information until the end of the 16th century; the fragmentary remains of the castle probably date from about the 14th century. It seems to have been quadrangular in plan, measuring about 73' by 69', with towers at the eastern and western ends. To the west are fragments which may represent a gatehouse, and at the foot of the mound on the west side are remains of another, less substantial, building. There are traces of a moat on the south and east sides.(Graham; McIntire). The castle has been built upon a pronounced, sub-rectangular, scarped natural hillock, approximately 4.2m high, at the NW end of a slight ridge. It is doubtful whether the alleged moat was ever a continuous enclosing feature, as it is only evident at the SE angle, cutting through the slight ridge at its most vulnerable side. Now much-mutilated by a drainage channel and cattle, it still reaches a maximum depth of 1.5 m at the angle, but diminishes to ground level to the N and W. At the centre of the mound, the only surviving fragment of the castle is the SE angle of a tower, which stands almost to its original height. The S wall of this tower has a pronounced batter, and within the angle are traces of a newel staircase. The ground surface is generally disturbed by buried foundations, and fragments of fallen masonry (Field Investigators Comments–F1 DS 30-JUN-72). NY 59466680 Enclosure castle known as Triermain Castle. The monument stands on a small glacial mound and is quadrangular in plan with towers on the east and west sides. It was surrounded by a curtain wall and flanked by a moat. The upstanding remains of the monument include the ruins of an internal building and a fragment of the gatehouse to the rear. The main internal building measured c22m by 21m, but only a corner survives. The moat has been partially filled in and measures up to 5m wide and 1m deep where it survives. Masonry from Hadrian's Wall was used to build the castle. The date of construction is uncertain, the land was granted in 1157 and a licence to crenellate was possibly granted to this site in 1340 (Scheduled Monument Notification–20-NOV-1995). Listed by Cathcart King. Described as ruinous in 1580 (King). (PastScape)

Despite many centuries of neglect, the site of Triermain Castle survives reasonably well and still retains upstanding medieval fabric. The monument remains largely unencumbered by modern development and will contain significant buried remains of the medieval castle which is known to have been occupied until the late 15th century.
The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Triermain medieval enclosure castle. It is situated immediately to the east of Triermain Farm and stands on a small glacial mound in the midst of a wide valley. The castle was quadrangular in plan with towers on the east and west sides. It was surrounded by a curtain wall and flanked by a moat. The upstanding remains of the monument include the ruins of an internal building and a fragment of the gatehouse to the west.
The castle was built with material from Hadrian's Wall which runs c.1km to the south. The mound upon which it stands is littered with grass-covered rubble which represents the tumble from the monument's walls. The main internal building measured c.22m by 21m but its only upstanding fragment is a corner which still stands to almost its full height. Within the fabric of this masonry there are traces of a newel staircase and, at first floor level, remains of a window and part of a door jamb. The surrounding moat has been partly infilled but still survives at the south east corner and along parts of the south and east sides where it measures up to 5m wide by 1m deep. To the west of the castle, and adjacent to modern farmbuildings, there is a fragment of masonry measuring c.4m long and up to 1.4m high which originally formed part of the gatehouse to the castle.
Triermain was included in a grant of land given by Henry II in 1157 to Hubert de Vaux. The date of the castle's construction is unknown but in 1340 Roland de Vaux was given licence to crenellate his 'dwelling place of Trevermame'. In the latter half of the 15th century the manor of Triermain was purchased by the Dacres and about this time Triermain Castle appears to have been abandoned in favour of a new castle at Askerton a little over three miles away. Latterly the monument has received literary recognition through Sir Walter Scott's poem 'The Bridal Of Triermain', Robert Carlyle's poem 'De Vaux, or the heir of Gilsland', and Samual Coleridge's 'Christobel'. (Scheduling Report)

"The scite of the said manner of Tradermayne, was sometimes a fair castle called Tradermayne castle, a house of great strength and of good receipt; it stood and was built opposite to the coasts of Scotland and Tyndell, and about vj miles distant from Lydderesedell, and was a very convenient place for both annoying of the enemy and defending the country thereabouts, but now the said castle is utterly decayed." (1603 Survey quoted in Ferguson 1876-7)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1340 Feb 4 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


The mound on which the castle is built is, occasionally, called a motte but there is no real suggestion of an earthwork castle here.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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