Naworth Castle, also recorded as Naward in historical documents, is a lovely castle based in Cumbria, England, near the town of Brampton. It is adjacent to the A69, about 2 miles or 3.2km east of Brampton. It is on the opposite side of the River Irthing, and just within sight of Lanercost Priory.
The history of Naworth Castle
Once upon a time, Naworth Castle was the seat of the Barons Dacre and is now that of their cognatic descendants, the Earls of Carlisle. Nowadays, it is a Grade I listed building. It is a stunning private home that is available for exclusive use hire.
The early history
Naworth Castle is said to have been built in the late 13th century in the form of a square keep and bailey. It was first mentioned in 1323. In 1335, a licence to crenellate was granted to Ralph Dacre.
Thomas Dacre, the man who commanded the reserve of the English army at the Battle of Flodden and was known as “the Builder Dacre”, built the castle’s gateway and placed over it his coat of arms with the Dacre family motto below that read: ‘Fort en Loialte” (Norman-French: “Strong in Loyalty”).
In 1602, there were further additions for his successor, Lord William Howard. It is very likely that the 18th-century walled garden lies within the boundaries of the original moat. Howard purchased back the Dacre family estate from King James and immediately took up residence with his children and grandchildren at Naworth Castle.
He then went forth and restored the castle, improved the estate, and established complete order in that part of the country. He had a rather large number of children, of whom Philip, his heir, was the grandfather of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle and his younger son Francis was the ancestor of the Howards of Corby.
The 1844 fire
On Saturday the 18th of May,1844, the castle caught fire. To this day, it is thought that it was the result of the ignition of some soot in the flue of Porter’s Lodge. The fire spread rapidly due to the structure’s lack of internal walls.
The fire remained uncontained until it reached the northern wing. Some of the property was able to be saved. However, by the time two fire engines had arrived by train from Carlisle, most of the roof had collapsed and the fire had been able to spread to nearly every room on the three sides of the quadrangle.
Buckets of water had to be passed in from a rivulet at the foot of a steep hill on the north side of the castle. Luckily, “Belted Will’s Tower” was saved. The fire continued until roughly one o’clock on Sunday morning when it was brought under control, finally.
Anthony Salvin, a well-known architect undertook restoration work on the Naworth Castle.
William Morris, the renowned artist and socialist, stayed at the castle in 1874. Once, in a letter to Aglaia Coronia, he wrote “…all is very pleasant. Ned & I pass our mornings in a most delightful room in one of the towers that has not been touched since William Howard of Queen Elizabeth’s time lived there: the whole place is certainly the most poetical in England”
From 1939 to 1940, Naworth Castle was occupied by Rossall School from Fleetwood in Lancashire, which had been evacuated from its own buildings by various government departments.
It is currently occupied by the Hon. Philip Howard, younger brother and heir presumptive of the 13th Earl of Carlisle.
The current day
Nowadays, Naworth Castle is a Grade I listed building. It is a stunning private home that is available for exclusive use hire.
Naworth Castle Timeline
- Late 13th century- Naworth Castle is built in the form of a square keep and bailey
- 1323- Naworth Castle is first mentioned
- 1335- A licence to crenellate is granted to Ralph Dacre
- 1602- There are further additions for Lord William Howard
- 1844- The castle catches fire
- 1874- William Morris, the renowned artist and socialist, stays at the castle and writes a letter to Aglaia Coronia, saying “…all is very pleasant. Ned & I pass our mornings in a most delightful room in one of the towers that has not been touched since William Howard of Queen Elizabeth’s time lived there: the whole place is certainly the most poetical in England”
- 1939 to 1940- Naworth Castle is occupied by Rossall School from Fleetwood in Lancashire, which had been evacuated from its own buildings by various government departments
Naworth Castle facts
- The castle has a well-preserved priest hole
- Francis Galton is said to have invented the concept of correlation at Naworth Castle
- Sir Walter Scott described the castle as: “one of those extensive baronial seats which marked the splendour of our ancient nobles, before they exchanged the hospitable magnificence of a life spent among a numerous tenantry, for the uncertain honours of court attendance, and the equivocal rewards of ministerial favour.”
- Naworth Castle is a Grade I listed building
- Naworth Castle is a private home
Naworth Castle featured in TV and film
- The Black Candle (1991)
- Jane Eyre (1997)
- Border Country: The Story of Britain’s Lost Middleland (2014)
- Behind Closed Doors (2015)
Who owns Naworth Castle?
Naworth Castle is currently occupied by the Hon. Philip Howard, younger brother and heir presumptive of the 13th Earl of Carlisle. It is a private residence.
While Naworth Castle is a private residence, it is often used as an exclusive use venue. However, all events need to be prearranged with the owner, Hon. Philip Howard.
Prices range from £6,000 plus VAT per night. Sleeps 20 people. Day rate from £2,000 plus VAT. Tours and lunches are also available which you can book via the official Naworth Castle website. Nearby, you can visit Lanercost Priory, Hare Hill, Pike Hill Signal Tower, Bank’s East Turret, and Hadrian’s Wall.