Brougham Castle

Venue Type & Location

Private Residence

Site Name: Brougham Castle
Location: Brougham Castle
County: Westmorland
Location Type: Countryside - at determined location

Performance Spaces


Brougham Castle is located 1.5 miles from Penrith near the junction of the main road N from Kendal to Carlisle and the road NW to Carlisle from York. The castle stands on the S bank of the River Eamont near its confluence with the River Lowther.

Brougham Castle is now a picturesque ruin of historic military significance, mostly composed of the crumbling red sandstone keep and gatehouses. The E wing containing the great hall and kitchen no longer stands.

The entire complex of buildings was surrounded by a deep moat.

Performance History

A possible performance venue. No medieval household records survive to prove that minstrels patronized by Thomas, 8th Baron Clifford, performed at home as well as elsewhere in the north in the 15th c.

It is also possible that late 16th and early 17th c. entertainers performed at Brougham for their patrons, although the Earls of Cumberland were principally resident in Yorkshire or at court in that period.

Francis Clifford, 4th Earl of Cumberland, played host to James I returning from his progress to Scotland in August 1617. Entertainments for that event included a lavish masque performed in the great chamber.

Current Status

An English Heritage ruin open to the public at specified times.

History of the Venue

ca.1214 Stone keep and service buildings constructed by Robert de Vipont.

1268 Castle passed to Roger de Clifford via marriage to Isabel de Vipont.

ca. 1300 During Robert, 1st Baron Clifford's ownership the stone curtain wall was built and a block of buildings on the E side probably containing the earlier hall on the first floor. W block erected against the S wall and upper storey added to the keep. SW Tower and inner and outer gatehouses built.

1309 1st Baron Clifford granted licence to crenellate.

ca. 1380 Roger, 5th Baron Clifford, extended the castle to the E, including the defensive curtain wall and the reconstruction of the great hall with its porch.

ca. 1550 Renovations and repairs by Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland.

late 16th c. Castle neglected by George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, during his heyday at court. His widow was resident there until her death in 1616.

1640s Damaged during the Civil War.

1651--2 Restored by Lady Anne Clifford, George Clifford's daughter.

1676 Estate passed to the 3rd Earl of
Thanet upon the death of Lady Anne Clifford.

1691 Castle abandoned and demolition begun by the 6th Earl of Thanet.

1714 Furnishings, timber and lead sold. The roofless castle quickly became ruinous.

1928 Baron Hothfield placed the castle ruin under the custodianship of the Department of the Environment, Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings.

Record Source

REED York 1. 66--7, 69, 71; Cumb/Westmld/Glouc 76, 240; Newcastle 130; Devon 159, 174

Patrons who owned this venue

Name Dates Titles
Clifford, Francis 1559-1641 Knight of the , 4th Earl of
Clifford, George 1558-1605 13th Baron , 3rd Earl of , Knight of the
Clifford, Thomas de 1414-1455 8th Baron

Bibliographic Sources

Buck, Samuel, and Nathaniel Buck. [A Collection of Engravings of the Castles, Abbeys, and Towns in England and Wales]. 5 vols. London: The authors, 1726–52.
Charlton, John. Brougham Castle, Westmorland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 1961.
Clark, G.T. 'The Castles of Brough and Brougham.' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society os 6 (1883): 15–37.
Clark, George T. Mediaeval Military Architecture in England. 2 vols. London: Wyman & Sons, 1884.
Curwen, John F. 'Brougham Castle.' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society ns 22 (1922): 143–57.
Curwen, John F. The Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North-of-the-Sands. Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, es. Kendal: Titus Wilson, 1913.
Hugill, Robert. Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland. Newcastle upon Tyne: Frank Graham, 1977.
King, David J. Cathcart. Castellarium Anglicanum: An Index and Bibliography of the Castles in England, Wales and the Islands. 2 vols. Millwood, NY, London and Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus International Publications, 1983.
Machell, Thomas. Manuscripts of the Reverend Thomas Machell, vicar of Kirkby Thore (d 1698). 5 vols. Np: npub, nd.
Machell, Thomas. Antiquary on Horseback: the first publication of the collection of the Rev. Thomas Machell, Chaplain to King Charles II towards the history of the Barony of Kendal. Ewbank, Jane M., ed and trans. Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Transactions es 19. Kendal: Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 1963.
Mackenzie, James D. The Castles of England: Their Story and Structure. 2 vols. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1896.
Perriam, D.R., and J. Robinson. The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria: An Illustrated Gazetteer and Research Guide. Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, es. Kendal: Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 1998.
Pettifer, Adrian. English Castles: A Guide by Counties. Woodbridge: The Boydell P, 1995.
Pevsner, Nikolaus. Cumberland and Westmorland. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth, Midd: Penguin Books, 1967.
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments England. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland. London: HMSO, 1936.
Simpson, W. Douglas. 'Brougham Castle.' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society ns 42 (1942): 170–9.
Somerset Fry, Plantagenet. Castles of the British Isles. New York: Dorset P, 1990.
Spence, R.T. 'A Royal Progress in the North: James I at Carlisle Castle and the Feast at Brougham, August 1617.' Northern History 27 (1991): 41–89.
Spink, Ian. 'Campion's Entertainment at Brougham Castle, 1617.' . Music in English Renaissance Drama. Long, J.H., ed. Lexington: U of Kentucky P, 1963.
Summerson, Henry. Brougham and Brough Castles. London: English Heritage, 1999.
Summerson, Henry, Michael Trueman and Stuart Harrison. Brougham Castle: A Survey and Documentary History. Kendal: Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 1998.