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Walls Castle, Ravenglass

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Ravenglass Roman Baths; Glannoventa

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SD08829592
Latitude 54.35072° Longitude -3.40420°

Walls Castle, Ravenglass has been described as a Masonry Castle but is rejected as such.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The remains of the bath house at Ravenglass Roman Fort, situated just outside the north-east corner of the fort. The remains of the bath house of the fort, established in AD 130, are among the tallest Roman structures surviving in northern Britain: the walls stand almost 4 metres (13 feet) high. Domestic use of the building in the Middle Ages led to the substantial preservation of the site. The site lay in Muncaster Castle Park in the post-medieval period, and was described as 'the ancient dwelling place of the Penningtons' by John Denton in 1610. Excavations in the late nineteenth century and survey work in the 1980s indicated that the bath house was a substantial structure extending beyond the present field boundary, as well as to either side of the existing structures. At least two rooms contained under-floor hypocausts (heating systems). The walls are of regularly coursed sandstone bonded with mortar and rendered internally with pink cement. One of the doorways has a worn threshold and a broad groove to receive a timber doorframe. There are also the remains of windows. The bath house was for use both by Roman soldiers and for civilians who lived in the settlement outside the fort, which extended over much of the present field. The building offered facilities for exercise and sport, as well as for swimming, bathing and socialising. (PastScape)

Reused Roman bath house.
Curwen includes it under Muncaster Castle but makes no statement on its history.
Jackson states that it was 'traditionally the ancient castle of the Penningtons'. Tom Clare syates 'one suggestion is that the building formed the manor house of the Penningtons prior to their removal to Muncaster.' but none of the surviving fabric was considered to be medieval.
Nothing medieval to see and doubtful if it ever was used at that period. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

The nature of the medieval domestic use which preserved the site is not made clear. The site is rejected as a masonry castle but what was the medieval use of this building? Was this high status use?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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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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