Muncaster Castle, which is a privately owned castle, overlooks the Esk River and approximately a mile south of the west coastal town of Ravenglass in Cumbria. This castle, which is built on foundations dating to the Roman age, was originally chosen by the Romans as the place from which to guard the Esk River. The Pennington family, who currently own the castle, have lived here for approximately 800 years.
The Great Hall and the 14th century pele tower, which is a type of watch tower fortification unique to the English-Saxon border region, are the oldest parts of the castle. Through the centuries this castle has been extended and enlarged. In the early 2000s historical research indicated that in 1678 this castle had 14 chimneys and in 1746 it had 55 rooms and 103 windows. This castle had fallen into serious decay by the time of the ownership of Sir Joseph Pennington in the 1770s.
However, when his son, Sir John Pennington arrived to live at the castle in 1778 after his wedding, he recorded how part of a building collapsed while he was inspecting it. It was largely due to the efforts of Sir John Pennington, who rebuilt and restored it at a cost of six thousand pounds – which would have been a large sum of money for the late 18th century, that this castle has been so beautifully preserved.
Muncaster Castle, which contains a wealth of architectural features and artefacts from a wide span of English history, includes an Elizabethan banqueting table, a rare portrait of King Henry VI and an impressive library which contains approximately 6000 books.
It would be advisable, as this is a privately owned castle, to check the Muncaster official website to obtain the correct opening dates and times for the castle, the spectacular gardens and the World Owl Centre.