Egremont Castle History

Egremont castle history

Egremont towns  history dates back to the bronze age but was small village for centuries but when the Danes established northern kingdoms in the 10th century they built a fort where the castle stands today. in the 12th century, after the Norman conquest the area of Copeland (or Kaupland from norse meaning bought land)  was given by royal decree to Rufus de Meschines, who later bequeathed the area to his brother William de Meschines.

William decided to make the the village of Egremont Copeland’s capital and began the process of building a castle on a hill that gave him a clear stategic advantage over the hostile local inhabitants and incursions from Scotland.

Hearth and forrests were cleared, becks diverted to create a mote and wells were dug. However the first castle had log walls and a small tower – the walls and entrance tower became stone by 1180. Construction of the castle took over 150yrs to complete. By 1270 the castle was surounded by a large mote, a tall outer wall with a entrance gatehouse and draw bridge, then a larger inner wall surrouned by another mote another gate house with a drawbridge, the hill had been heightened and the central tower placed at the top.

Richard de Lucy was baron from 1200 to 1212. A reign cut short by his desire to fight in the 13th century crusades in eastern europe. Richard joined the crusades to christianize the slavic countries in 1211. He fought many battles valiantly and became one of the foremost members of the army, however he was severely wounded and had to withdraw from battle. He later died from his injuries and was returned to the priory of St.Bees in a lead coffin (his coffin, repleat with his remains was rediscovered in the 1970s – due to the lead coffin his remains were quite intact- the De Lucy centre on Egremont mainstreet bares his family name.

For further information visit St. Bees website:- http://www.stbees.org.uk/parish_council/index.html

Around 1205, the tale of Grunwilda was told; she was the wife of Richard de Lucy and was killed by a wolf on a hunting trip; this tale is recounted in the poem “The Woeful Chase”. Again leaving no male heir, Richard died and the superstition began that no male heir should inherit Egremont Castle because of the conduct of the forefathers.

For further information please visit  Lowes court or their website:- http://lowescourt.co.uk/