This castle started out as a square Pele Tower and bailey. It was further developed when a licence to crenelate was granted to Ranulph de Dacre, Sheriff of Cumberland in 1335.

Its most famous owner was Lord Thomas Dacre, who took part in the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

A fire in 1844 destroyed much of the castle but revealed secret chambers, probably priest holes. The castle was restored the following year by the Victorian architect Anthony Salvin. The great hall, one of the largest and finest in the country, was restored as near as possible to the original.

This castle is privately owned and not open to the public.

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