Featured image of Muncaster Castle

The History Of Muncaster Castle

LocationRavenglass, Cumbria, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byPatrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington
Official WebsiteMuncaster Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Stay, Weddings, Events, Filming)

Overlooking the River Esk, Muncaster Castle is a charming country house castle providing visitors with the opportunity to peek into the lives of the Knights, Barons, and Lords who once resided there. It is a fine example of one of the Lake District and Cumbria’s favourite historic houses cum country houses. Muncaster Castle also has a reputation as one of the most haunted houses in Britain, which still gives visitors nightmares.

History

Built in the latter part of the 12th Century, the beautiful Muncaster Castle and the estate was owned by Benedict de Pennington and has been owned by the Pennington family since the lands were granted to Alan de Pennington. However, it is believed that the Pennington family has owned land there since 1026, and the family seat sat at Pennington Castle in the Furness Peninsula. The castle is believed to have been standing on Roman remains, dating back to 79AD, and was of great strategic importance. Muncaster Castle came into the hands of Benedict’s grandson William Pennington who began by building a hall at Muncaster atop the Roman foundations. He shifted his family seat to Muncaster in 1242.

A portion of the castle was built in the later 13th Century. It was later expanded in the 14th Century when a Pele tower was the southwest angle of the present structure; part of it is incorporated into the southwest tower of the castle. The Pele Tower is a four-story tower due to Scottish raids conducted by Robert Bruce into Cumbria in 1316 and 1322. They used stone from the Ravenglass Roman Fort to create the tower, which could be a refuge in times of invasion. A coin from the era of Emperor Theodosius (AD380) was also found during that time, and a Victor ring is also part of the prized collection.

The uncanny but interesting story about the Penningtons is the Luck of Muncaster. It has been recorded that the Penningtons welcomed Henry VI in Muncaster Castle in 1464, ensuing the King’s defeat at the infamous Battle of Hexham. The King then presented the family with an ornate glass drinking bowl and declared that the Penningtons would always be at Muncaster Castle as long as the bowl remained intact. Surprisingly, his words remain valid, and the Penningtons are still at Muncaster even after 500 years.

The fifth and last Lord of Muncaster died in 1917, and the Muncaster castle and estate were passed on to his mother’s family, the Ramsdens. They carried out extensive modifications in the gardens and added significantly to the castle’s interiors, including the Ramsden family portraits. In those days, the estate extended to 23,000 acres of land.

Another mystery that thrills the visitors is the presence of ghostly activities. Visitors have often reported hearing strange noises, seeing disappearing figures, and an overwhelming feeling of a strange presence around them. They have also shared that while staying in the Tapestry Room, they have heard babies crying and a sudden heavy weight pressing down on them in the four-poster bed as if choking them.

Architecture

Muncaster Castle”, by Barry, is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Muncaster Castle is a picturesque castle with charming interiors for visitors to gaze at. Significant additions and modifications were made by the fifth Baronet, who stepped in as the first Baron Muncaster. He modified the inside and out of the castle, including planting most of the large hardwood trees and founding the enormous library. His great-nephew Gamel Augustus, fourth Lord Muncaster, shortly before his death in 1862, appointed Anthony Salvin to update the house, whose main field of interest was military architecture. He added the courtyard as a part of the castle, built by first Lord Muncaster, and converted it into the present Drawing Room. The Drawing Room has a much-admired barrel ceiling which was a compilation of the work of two Italian plasterers, which Lady Pennington-Ramsden redecorated in 1958.

The present Muncaster Castle is chiefly modern; however, the central tower or Pele Tower of the ancient castle has been preserved. However, it no longer presents its original outward appearance. The castle is surrounded by beautiful line grounds and woods and provides a magnificent view over Eskdale. The castle also hosts an exciting collection of birds in its Hawk and Owl Centre. The visitors can appreciate a flock of uncommon birds, including Peregrine Falcons, Tawny Owls, and Yellow-billed Kites. Moreover, the castle grounds present 70-acres of gardens to explore, including one of Europe’s vast collections of Rhododendrons and Himalayan-inspired gardens, woodlands, and an enjoyable terrace walk.

Movie Features

Castle Ghosts of England (1995)– The spine-tingling program ‘Castle Ghosts of England’ features Muncaster Castle in its tales of the otherworldly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Muncaster Castle?

Muncaster Castle is located 1 mile south of the west coast town of Ravenglass on the A595, in the County of Cumbria, England. It is near Western Lake District while going from Junction 36 of the M6 motorway. It is accessible by Public Transport as Ravenglass station is only 1 mile away.

What is Muncaster Castle famous for?

Muncaster Castle is a majestic historic castle, famous for being one of the most haunted houses in Britain, accessible to the public for visiting, staying, and hiring the premises for weddings and corporate events.

Who is the owner of Muncaster Castle?

Muncaster Castle is privately owned by Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington from the Pennington family, who have resided in the castle for the last 800 years.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
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