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Rose Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
La Rose; La Roos

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY371462
Latitude 54.80633° Longitude -2.97991°

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

There are major building remains.

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


Castle, residence of the Bishop of Carlisle. Built on the site of an earlier castle: probably late C13 with licences to crenellate 1336 and 1355: Strickland Tower c1400-1419: 1488 tower for Bishop Bell: 1522-4 tower for Bishop Kite: partly destroyed during the Civil War and repaired by William Heveningham as a private house 1653-5: alterations of 1673-5 for Bishop Rainbow by William Thackery: alterations for Bishop Smith by Thomas Machell: alterations for Bishop Lyttelton 1762-9: extensive alterations and additions for Bishop Percy by Thomas Rickman 1828-31: alterations dated 1955. Chapel:1489 for Bishop Bell, altered 1660-63 for Bishop Sterne, altered 1673-5 for Bishop Rainbow by William Thackery and further alterations for Bishop Percy, as above. Large blocks of red sandstone on chamfered plinths; string courses and battlemented parapets; slate and lead roofs; tall C19 candlestick chimney stacks. Four 3-storey towers, hall and chapel in L-shape, forming 2 sides of an originally quadrangular shaped castle. Entrance facade: 3-storey entrance tower of 2-bays has pointed entrance and 2-light Gothic windows. Similar lower 2 bays to right are also by Rickman. Remains of C14 inner curtian wall to left now forms rear wall of chapel. Bell's Tower to left Strickland's Tower to extreme left attached by lowered inner curtain wall. Garden facade in L-shape: right is the chapel, with 2-light windows, larger on upper floor, 3-light east window. Broad buttress projecting from east wall supports C19 open Gothic bellcote. Strickland's Tower to extreme right has external stone steps to first floor entrance. Projecting circular stair turret from first floor continues above parapet. To left: hall with stone mullioned Gothic windows. End wall to left was altered in 1955 with 2-light stone mullioned windows in keeping with the building, dated over entrance. Rear facade: 3-storey Kite's Tower has blocked ground floor entrance and 2-light stone-mullioned windows. Percy's Tower and similar extension to left are by Rickman.
Curtain walls to Rose Castle. Early C14. Large blocks of coursed red sandstone on chamfered plinth to east and south with north-east wall on segmental vaulted arches. Low wall, formerly surrounding Rose Castle but now interrupted by outbuildings in south-west angle, reduced in height in the early C19 with C19 coping. Remains of a watch tower on the north-east wall.
Gateway and flanking buildings. Early C16 for Bishop Kite, with mid C18 alterations. Large blocks of red sandstone rubble. Gateway through curtain walls, with remains of Water Tower to left and lodge to right. Large segmental arch with C16 carved stone panel, of rose in quatrefoil and corner shields, above. Pedestrian pointed arch to right. Battlemented parapet. Former tower to left has blocked chamfered-surround entrance wich originally gave access to an outer watch tower built over the moat. Wall reduced in height and now gabled. Twin-gabled building to rear is an C18 gardener's storehouse with sandstone slate roofs. Lodge to right is mostly demolished but its outer walls form part of the curtain wall with an angle projection. Probably replaced an earlier drawbridge gatetower referred to in 1479.
Former Dovecote. Dated 1700 over entrance. Large blocks of coursed red sandstone (probably from part of the medieval castle) on squared plinth with flush quoins, gable string course; sandstone slate roof with coped gables and kneelers. Small, almost square, 1 1/2 storeys. Chamfered-surround entrance in gable wall, with dated lintel. Small oculi above. Small square opening in opposite gable. Interior has its complete boulins on 3 sides. Mention of a dovecote in a parliamentary survey of 1649 may indicate that the building is earlier than the date. Other references refer to the dovecote as having been a watch tower. (Listed Building Reports)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1336 April 9 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1355 June 25.


Supposedly built on site of motte and bailey castle, although Gatehouse is uncertain as to the evidence for this suggestion. Perriam and Robinson state Curwen quotes Sandford 'that the motte was situated just outside Kite's Tower' but I can not find this reference in Sandford. A house/castle existed before the licence of 1336 since it is mentioned as early as 1255 but the actual form of that house is not known, but is was a significant place.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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