According to legend, Uther Pendragon and a hundred of his men were killed here when the Saxon invaders poisoned the well [The Afanc in BBC's Merlin is reminiscent of this part of the Cumbrian Arthurian Legend] There are also claims that the Romans built at least a temporary fort here, along the road between their forts at Brough and Bainbridge. But (apart from legend and supposition), there is no real evidence that there was any building here before the Normans built their castle in the 12th Century. [This is because only a limited archaeological survey has been carried out by Lancaster University. Surely the legendary Camelot lies beneath the foundations of this castle & beneath the earth of the hill on which it stands.]
The castle [now standing] was built next to the River Eden in the Vale of Mallerstang in the late 12th century, probably by Hugh de Morville. Like the nearby castles of Appleby and Brough, Pendragon came into the possession of the Clifford family. It was abandoned after a raiding Scottish army set fire to the castle in 1341, but was rebuilt in 1360. It was left in ruins by another fire in 1541, but was restored in the mid 17th century by Lady Anne Clifford. The castle gradually fell back into ruin after her death - and now remains a romantic ruin, set in glorious scenery.
NOTE: Pendragon castle is on private land. Access is permitted, but care must be taken - it is in a potentially dangerous condition despite some recent restoration.
All information above is from Visit Cumbria
The following information is from Heritage and History
Legend suggests that a much earlier Pendragon Castle on this site belonged to Uther Pendragon, father of the legendary King Arthur. According to the legend, Uther had attempted to re-route the River Eden to create a moat for the castle.
An ancient rhyming couplet reads;
Over it’s lifetime, the Castle has had many famous and infamous owners, one being Hugh de Morville, a knight responsible for the murder of St. Thomas A’Beckett at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.“Let Uther Pendragon do what he can, Eden will run where Eden ran.”
Photo Copyright: Alan Richards