Castle Howe | Kendal, England - Atlas Obscura

Castle Howe

This original castle in Kendal is 1,000 years old. 


Some 1,000 years ago, the Normans pushed north attempting to subjugate part of Westmorland. As part of this effort, Castle Howe was built. Kendal’s undisputed first castle, Castle Howe, was built in 1092 and overlooks the town.

The fortifications consist of a well-defined motte, rising to around 33 feet and measuring around 59 feet in diameter at the summit. The base of the motte measures around 150 feet, and is surrounded by ditches and embankments. The bailey lays to the east of the motte, and is roughly triangular in shape, and was turned into a bowling green and is now a public park.

The Barony of Kendal fell at the hands of Ivo de Taillebois around 1092 and as a reward for his unfailing military support and success, Ivo was granted the Barony of Kentdale, a title that brought with it huge swathes of land in what is now Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

Kendal Castle, to the east of the earthworks, was probably built while Castle Howe was still being used. Likely, Castle Howe was the baronial center of Kirkland, and Kendal Castle was the baronial center of Kentdale. Castle Howe eventually became redundant, as did the Kendal Castle, and the administrative center of Kendal moved to the Moot Hall in the center of town.

In 1788, to celebrate the centenary of the revolution of 1688, an obelisk was erected on the summit of Castle Howe. The monument was designed by architect Francis Webster who was a native of Kendal.

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Easily accessible from both sides by footpaths.

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