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Dacre Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Dacker; Daker; Dacor

In the civil parish of Dacre.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY46032648
Latitude 54.63066° Longitude -2.83743°

Dacre Castle has been described as a certain Tower House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The moated site at Dacre Castle survives reasonably well, its earthworks in particular remaining well preserved. The waterlogged parts of the moat will preserve organic material. Additionally information about the relationship between the moated site and the castle will be preserved.
The monument includes the outer banks, moat and moated island upon which Dacre Castle stands. It is located in the village of Dacre on a spur of high ground between Dacre Beck to the south and a small ravine to the north. The sub-rectangular island measures approximately 73m by 55m and contains Dacre Castle on its eastern side. The island is surrounded on all sides except the east by a partly waterlogged moat measuring 9m-15m wide by up to 4.5m deep. On the west and south sides an earthen bank up to 9m wide by 1m high flanks the outside of the moat, and on the south west and south sides there is a second and parallel outer bank of similar size with a dry ditch separating the two banks.
Dacre Castle was built soon after the licence to crenellate was granted to William de Dacre in 1307. It has been suggested that the castle was constructed within an earlier moated site, but this has not been confirmed and the surrounding moat may be contemporary with the castle. Documentary sources of 1354 indicate that Margaret de Dacre, daughter-in-law of William de Dacre, lived in the castle. Documentary sources also indicate that the East Tower was built at some time before 1485 by Humphrey de Dacre. By the latter half of the 17th century the castle was derelict, but soon after Thomas Lennard, Earl of Sussex, undertook extensive repairs to make it habitable. A engraving by Buck in 1739 depicts vegetation on the castle roof and the outworks demolished, suggesting the castle may again have become run down. This view is enhanced by Gilpin who, in 1786, depicts the castle as a roofless ruin. Three years later Clarke describes it as 'an old tower, though pretty entire.' Alterations and improvements were made during the 19th and 20th centuries. (Scheduling Report)

Fortified tower house. C14 with C17 and C19 alterations. Extremely thick walls of dressed mixed sandstone with offsets, on chamfered plinth, the roof hidden by battlemented parapets. 2-storey rectangular tower over vaulted basement, with angle turrets. Entrance facade has off-centre doorway with stone surround, up L-shaped stone steps. Central C17 coat-of-arms of Earl of Sussex. Irregular fenestration of large C17 cross-mullioned windows, the turrets with smaller loops and 2-light windows. The right and rear left turrets are larger and square, compared with smaller opposing 45° turrets; the rear larger turret being the original entrance point with newel staircase. The interior has many original features such as fireplaces, oven recess, mural chambers and garderobes. (Listed Building Report)

Probably built in the mid C14 to replace an earlier building. It is sometimes, erroneously suggested the building was licenced in 1307. This licence was for for Dunmallogt not Dacre (see the licence to crenellate granted to William Dacre for his mansum of Dunmalloght in marchia Scotiae in 1307). It is likely the earlier building at Dacre predated 1307. Some earthworks of a partly overlain moat. The building was refurbished and brought back into use by Thomas Lennard, 5th Lord Dacre, in the late C17.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:31

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