Castle History

Conflicting sources

While a number of books indicate slight variations (usually on castle dimensions), I’ve come across a book that entirely contradicts all my other sources (including a book which I was pleasantly surprised to see written by Teesside University’s own professor of history).

Here is, as I establish it, a branch of the Neville family associated with Penrith castle and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (who went on to become King Richard III). Click to see it larger.


If you look at the two women in the Neville family called Cecily, one of these is Richard III’s mother, the duchess of York, the other Cecily is his cousin, the duchess of Warwick.  As you may imagine I was very confused to read the following in The Making of the Neville Family by Charles R. Young.

Whichever way Cecily/Cicely is spelt (I have discovered one of the Cecily’s would sign her name with an altogether different spelling), this one entirely contradicts everything.  I have to suppose that when this book was published in 1996, the family tree has since been made clearer, or altered with the discovery of new information, although the family tree at the start of the book does still state that Cecily Neville married Richard, duke of York, (making her duchess of York), and the family tree does not progress further down to include Richard, duke of Gloucester.

The last known inhabitant in the castle is Richard, as he was duke of Gloucester before he became king, but I’m not sure if Anne resided at the castle with him. Penrith was a baronial castle, although I hope to go into more detail as to its function later, the building was originally a pele tower, and was fortified into a castle to better protect Penrith from Scottish raids, of which it suffered frequently. Due to their extensive ownership of land in the north of England,  it seems the Neville family were regularly called upon and entrusted with the duty of defending these parts. Kings resided in a royal castle, and relied upon barons such as those of the Neville family to be administers of justice.

I’m still yet to learn if Richard, upon becoming king, stationed anyone at Penrith in his absence.



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