Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle

The Muncaster Castle is the most famous attraction within the Muncaster estate that overlooks the Esk River in Cumbria, England. Cumbria is located about a mile to the south of Ravenglass. For about 800 years, the Muncaster Castle has been the residence of the Pennington clan although the estate was given in 1208 to Alan de Penitone.

Over the years, the castle has been rehabilitated but some of the original portions of the castle remain intact. Some of the older parts of the Muncaster Castle that are still in place are the Great Hall and its pele tower which is a fortification of its watch tower which dates back to the 14th century. This type of fortification can only be found within the border region of England and Scotland during that time.

More renovations to the Muncaster Castle were done over the years. In 1678, it was reported that the castle has 14 chimneys.

Meanwhile, records from the Window Tax of 1746 reveal that the castle had 55 rooms and 103 windows. In the early 20th century, the estate of the Muncaster Castle is 23,000 acres big. At present, a 1,800-acre garden containing trees and flowers surround the castle.
Due to the age of the castle, the structure started to fall apart during the 1770s when Sir Joseph Pennington was living in the castle.

However, his son Sir John Pennington started renovating the castle once he became the inhabitant of the castle in 1778. Sir John Pennington spent about six thousand pounds to renovate the Muncaster Castle during the late 18th century.

As mighty as the Muncaster Castle is, the presence of ghosts in the estate can be mightily felt. One of the ghosts that is believed to be haunting Muncaster is that of Tom Skelton or widely known as Tom the Fool. Tom the Fool is believed to be the last court jester in English history and he is responsible for many deaths during his stint at the Muncaster Castle.

Muncaster Castle is now a tourist attraction and one of the more famous artifacts within the castle is the Musk of Muncaster which is a glass drinking bowl that Henry VI gave to Sir John Pennington when the latter sheltered the former. When Henry VI gave the bowl, he added a prayer that he and Pennington will continue to prosper until the glass is intact. Up to this day, the glass bowl is still in one piece.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ru Lochlea