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Dunmalloght Pele

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Dunvalloght; Dunmallet; Dunmallard; Dunmallok

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: NY468246
Latitude 54.61441° Longitude -2.82544°

Dunmalloght Pele has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Uncertain although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Dunmallard small multivallate hillfort, located on the summit of Dunmallard hill overlooking the foot of Ullswater. It includes an enclosure with internal measurements of approximately 92m north-south by 39m east-west. The enclosure is defended on all sides except the central part of the east side, where it has eroded down the steep slope, by a partly stone-revetted bank measuring up to 9m wide and 3m high and an external ditch measuring up to 9m wide and 1m deep. A second bank and ditch of slighter proportions protect the northern end of the site. The entrance into the hillfort's interior is located at the southern end of the western side where a narrow gap penetrates obliquely through the defences. (Scheduling Report)

A pele is recorded at Dunmalloght in 1317-18 when 10 men-at-arms and 10 hobelars were paid to guard it. Licence to crenellate had been granted in 1317. its precise location is unknown, but it is likely to be in the vicinity of Dunmallard Hill. (PastScape ref. Perriam and Robinson)

The Dunmallard hill fort is prominent and spectacular but this sort of isolated hill is relatively uncommon as the site of medieval fortifications (although there are notable examples such as Almondbury in Yorkshire or Beeston Castle, Cheshire). There are no know medieval features or finds on the hill. It is the sort of site to attract the military minded antiquarian, coming from Whig Historiography and Nationalistic perspectives, considering the high status house as a defence against the Scots. It is less likely to have been attractive to actual medieval people.
Gatehouse had, prior to July 2009, on the authority of Perriam and Robinson, considered this the more likely site for the licence to crenellate but now considers the more likely site to be Dunwalloght castle. It is also possible the other C14 reference to a 'Pelam of Dunmallock' is to Dunwallought (N.B. The medieval hand-written forms of w (or uu) and m are near identical).
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:31

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