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Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Pabcastre; Papscastle; Pipards; Pipers; Palme

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY10963149
Latitude 54.67059° Longitude -3.38215°

Papcastle has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Supposed castle site within Roman fort.
William Jackson states ' I have little doubt that Papcastle is indebted for its to (Gilbert) Pipard, who was likely to erect a fortress on the site of the old Roman town, where stone was convenient and the position good'.
Excavations in 1912, 1961/2 and 1976. No evidence to suggest a castle was here and the 'castle' probably relates to the Roman fort. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

More interestingly is the root of the name Papcastle; the caester which has become 'castle' in the modern name, denotes the Roman fort at the point where the road running south-west from Carlisle branches north-west to Maryport. The first element can hardly be other than the Old Norse word 'papi' or hermit. The Romano-British name of Papcastle was Derventio from the river on which it stands, the Derwent. Birley (1963) believes that this is a clear indication that when the Norse settlers first came to the district there was only a solitary hermit living among the ruins of the Roman fort. By the same token he feels it serves to discredit the popular tradition that Papcastle takes its name from Gilbert Pipard who was said to have built his castle there.
Whellan (1860) notes that the fort stood on the summit of the hill and that traces of the road to Maryport were still visible. He comments, “the new road from Cockermouth is cut through a portion of the field where the castrum stood.” Castrum (or castle) may mean either the Roman fort or the later medieval castle of Gilbert Pipard, which is alleged to have stood on the hill at Papcastle. Whellan suggested that the Normans chose this site because of the ready availability of dressed Roman stone (ibid). However there is no archaeological evidence for a medieval castle being here.
Gilbert de Pipard, Sheriff of Lancaster acquired the manor by marriage and reputedly erected a stone fortress on the site of the Roman fort using the stones of the fort (Jackson, 1990). In 1192 he held the forest of Allerdale and it is at this time that he is thought to have built Pipard or Pap Castle (Curwen, 1911). However, there is no archaeological evidence to support this theory. (Extensive Urban Survey 2006)

Papcastle has had some archaeological investigation, although much of the site is uninvestigated, but there seems to be no physical evidence for a medieval castle at Papcastle. The possibility remains of some sort of administrative centre here.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:53

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