Brough Castle

(See also Brough)

Brough Castle by Graeme DougalStanding on a steep slope, Brough Castle first dates from c1100 and was partially built in stone on the site of the Roman camp of Verteris.

The area was in the hands of the Scots, but was captured by the English. The castle served the purpose of guarding the routes across the Pennines into Yorkshire Brough Castle By Graeme Dougaland south into Westmorland and Lancashire. The Scots made many attempts to recapture the area. In 1174 one such battle resulted in the almost total destruction of the keep, which rests on the foundation of the earlier Norman tower.

In 1203, King John gave the castle to Robert de Vieuxpont. He built a Brough Castle By Graeme Dougalgatehouse and hall. But within 50 years the castle plunged into decay. In 1268 the castle passed into the Clifford family. Robert Clifford restored much of the curtain walls and built a new hall and semicircular tower (Clifford's Tower).

In the 14th century, Roger Clifford replaced the hall with a new one on the south wall and added a basement. The castle was fortunate to escape capture when the Scots invaded the area in 1388, and was much used by the Brough Castle By Graeme DougalClifford family as a residence in the following years. They added domestic buildings along the north. The castle continued as a family home after the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Unfortunately in 1521, shortly after Christmas, a fire burned through the castle, leaving it unusable.

In 1659, the famous Lady Anne Clifford began to rebuild the castle. The work was completed in 1663. In addition to the restoration of the already Brough Castle By Graeme Dougalexisting buildings, she added stables and service buildings. She used the castle as one of her homes. Unfortunately, after her death, Brough declined until, in 1715, the roofs and fittings were sold. The stables and parts of the gatehouse and hall escaped this fate as they were used as a courtroom complex for the manor of Brough. This usage didn't last long, and Brough further decayed. Robbers carted off much of the stone and other castle parts for their own use.

Brough Castle By Graeme DougalTouring the castle today one enters a gatehouse, once three storeys high, which contained a guest chamber. There was probably a portcullis and drawbridge here in earlier times. In the courtyard, paved with rough sandstone, are the remains of stables. Further on is the keep.

The keep had four corner turrets and was meant strictly for defensive purposes, but did have a few decorative elements. The Brough Castle By Graeme Dougalbasement of the keep was a storehouse and retains some plaster on the walls. Stairs to the upper floors and indeed the floors themselves are gone. The roof was shaped to collect rainwater, as the castle itself did not have an interior well.

The remains of a brewhouse, bakehouse, and kitchen are evident in the courtyard corner. A trace of two fireplaces can be seen in the kitchen. Further along are the remains of the 12th century hall. Brough Castle By Graeme DougalIn the southeast corner was an inner and outer range of buildings and Clifford's Tower, site of the laundry, rooms for a steward and butler, and Lady Anne Clifford's chambers. The hall range contained storerooms, guestrooms, and a dining hall (reached by a spiral staircase).

Once an important defensive castle, then a country mansion, Brough Castle today is an interesting ruin.

Brough Castle By Graeme Dougal Brough Castle
Located at Brough, just off the A66.
English Heritage
Open April-end Sep, daily, 10am-5pm; Oct-end March, daily, 10am-4pm; closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan.

Note: Please check opening times and dates before visiting in case of changes.

Photos courtesy of Graeme Dougal

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