Kendal Castle

The town of Kirkby in Kendale, as Kendal was known in the Middle Ages, was probably founded in the post Roman period, although a gold coin of Marcus Aurelius (161-180AD) was said to have been found within the castle  walls before 1810.  The town and later castle lay in a district called Kentdale which was named after the River Kent which ran from north to south through a valley.  Such valleys are known in the North as a dales.  Other districts in the area were called Amounderness [which stretched around Morecambe Bay from Preston to Kendal to Millom], Lonsdale, Cartmel, Furness and Copeland.  These pretty much surrounded the wide estuary of Morecambe Bay.  By the first quarter of the thirteenth century Kentdale was considered the southern half of the new county of Westmorland, the lordship of Appleby being the northern portion.

Kendal may have begun its military history with the reconquest of Cumberland from the Vikings in the tenth century.  Certainly the partially built over Hall Garth, lying a little over a mile northnorthwest of Kendal castle, is thought to be a Saxon burgh.  However, only excavation could help with deciphering the history and fate of this site.  At the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 this district seems to have lain to the east of ‘Hougun', an area stretching from Furness along the coast to the later barony of Kendal.  All of this area was royal land in 1086 and appeared to have been waste both before and after 1066.  Under King Edward (1042-66) the area around Kendal was held by Gilemichael.  He held 13 manors in Amounderness, stretching from Ellel, just south of Lancaster, to Strickland Roger (just beyond Kendal) in the north.  At the time Kendal was known as Churchby (Cherchebi) which eventually mutated into Kirkby Kendal.  The block of land that formed the basis of the later Kendal barony was listed as Strickland Roger (Steredland), Mint House (Mimet), Kirkby Kendal (Cherchebi), Helsington (Helsingetune, near Sizergh), Stainton (Steinain), Bothelford (Bodelforde, now Natland), Old Hutton (Hotun), Burton in Kentdale (Borain), Dalton in Kentdale (Dalain) and Patton (Patun).  In this district around Kendal there were 20 carucates of geldable land.  These territories basically lie along the River Kent, with the 2 outliers of Burton and Dalton in Kentdale some 6 miles south of the main grouping around Kendal.  It should be noted here that these 2 vills lay closer to Kirkby Lonsdale than to Kirkby Kendal.  These 2 Kirkbys were quite separate although the barony of Kendal acquired an interest of a quarter of the manor by the reign of Henry III (1216-72).  Probably this dated back to the time of Ivo Taillebois (d.1094/97) who seems to have held the entire manor.  Kirkby Lonsdale belonged to Torfin's manor of Austwick in 1066 and was in the king's hands in 1086.  However, since both places were often referred to as merely Kirkby, Kirkby Kendal and Kirkby Lonsdale are sometimes confused.  In her work, The Mottes of North Lancashire, Lonsdale and South Cumbria, Mary C Higham notes that the mottes along the Lune valley probably marked the extent of Norman military control at Domesday.  All of these places mentioned around Kendal are some 15 miles above this line.  The lack of Norman control is emphasised by the fact that only placenames are returned in the great survey and no details of the settlements are given.

In 1092 King William Rufus (1087-1100) completed the annexation of all of present day Cumberland when he fortified Carlisle.  It may have been at this time that Ivo Taillebois (d.1094/7) founded a castle at Kendal, possibly at Castle Howe, although a castle may have been founded earlier as this seems to mark the northern extent of the English lands recorded in Domesday.  Brough castle, some 25 miles northeast of Kendal, seems originally to have formed part of the Norman (and earlier Saxon) parish of Kirkby Stephen, the church of which was granted by Ivo Taillebois (d.1094/97) to St Mary's of York under Abbot Stephen (1180/9-1112).  This grant consisted of:

half the lordship of Kirkby Stephen (Cherkaby Stephan) with the church and tithes; 2 bovates and tithes in Whittington (Wytuna - just south of Kirkby Lonsdale); the churches of Kendal (Kircabi in Kendale/Cherkaby Kendale), Heversham (Eversham) and Kirkby Lonsdale (Cherkeby Lonnesdala) together with the lands which pertained to them, namely the vill of Hutton, the church of Beetham (Bethome), the land called Haverbrack (Halfrebek, a hamlet of a mile northwest of Beetham) and the church of Burton [in Kentdale] with a carucaste of land with the common and Clapham (Clepeam, Yorkshire) church with a carucate.  This is witnessed by Lucy (Bolingbroke, d.1138) my wife, Ribald my son in law (d.1121+, Middleham), Ralph Taillebois, Robert Clerk, Girard St Alban and many others.

The confirmation of this by Henry II is slightly different and stated that this consisted of;

3 carucates in Claxton (Claxtuna), the church of Kirkby Stephen, and 3½ carucates.  In Whittington (Wintona) 2 bovates and his tithes; the church of Kirkby in Kendal with its appurtenant lands and the vill called Huttoncroft (Hotonrofft); the church of Beetham and the land called Haverbrack; the church of Burton [in Kentdale] with its appurtenances and 1 carucate; and the church of Clapham with a carucate.

As Ivo controlled Kendal church it is all but certain he held the rest of the parish running along the River Kent.  After Ivo's death his widow, Lucy Bolingbroke (d.1138), was married by Roger Fitz Gerold (d.1098) and then Ranulf Meschin (d.1129).  It is presumed that Kendal passed with the lady to these husbands in turn.  Subsequently around 1120/22, Ranulf returned Appleby, Carlisle and Kendal to King Henry I (1100-35) when he received the earldom of Chester in recompense.

At this point William Roumare (d.1159/61), the son of Lucy Bolingbroke (d.1138) and Roger Fitz Gerold (d.1098), claimed all of his father's inheritance.  Presumably this amounted to Carlisle, Appleby and Kendal as this was described as the land ‘which Ranulf Bayeux, his father in law, had exchanged with the king for the earldom of Chester'.  However, the king is said to have contemptuously refused his request, despite William having upheld his cause in Normandy during the war of 1119.  This caused William to cross to Normandy and foment revolt against King Henry (1100-35).  For 2 years he is said to have:

vented his wrath by plundering and firing the country and taking many captives, nor did he relinquish his attacks until the king made him satisfaction, and restored to him the greater part of the domains which he had claimed.

William fought for the rebels at Bremule in 1123 and managed to flee the battlefield when all was lost.  With his making peace with King Henry, William was admitted among the king's courtiers and intimate friends, the monarch even procuring for him a well-born wife, Hawise Redvers the daughter of Richard (d.1107).  However, the lands granted to him did not include Appleby, Carlisle or Kendal.

Probably within a year or 2 of Kendal's surrender to the Crown by Ranulf Bayeux (d.1129) in 1120/22, King Henry (d.1135) granted Kendal and the surrounding district to Nigel Aubigny (d.1129).  These additional lands included Sedbergh, Thornton in Lonsdale, Burton in Lonsdale, Bentham, Clapham, Austwick and Horton in Ribbesdale, besides vills in Craven around Skipton.  This may have been done to counterbalance the lands of Stephen of Blois (d.1154) who around 1114 had been granted the honour of Lancaster which included Furness, Cartmel, Amounderness, parts of Lonsdale and the land to the south known as Between Ribble and Mersey.  Kendal and Kentdale are not mentioned during this period and do not apparently appear in the 1131 pipe roll.  Their  ownership is therefore debatable, although it seems from a charter of Richard I (1189-99) that Aubigny was granted seisin.

Nigel Aubigny (d.1129) was the second husband of Matilda Laigle (d.1155+), who had been divorced from Earl Robert Mowbray of Northumbria, the lord of the castles of Bamburgh, Newcastle and Tynemouth.  As such he would have held the Northumbrian claim to Kendal within the wider administrative area of Cumberland.  Nigel divorced Matilda, who had only born him a daughter, a little before 1118 and then married Gundreda Gournay (d.1155+) who bore him a son, Roger.  This Roger took his father's first wife's first husband's name and called himself Roger Mowbray (d.1188).  This would appear to have been in deference to all the Mowbray estates he claimed.  Roger led an active career being present at the battles of the Standard (1138), Lincoln (1141) and Alnwick (1174).  He went on the second Crusade in 1148 and finally fought against Henry II in 1173-74, before dying, back in the king's fealty, in 1188.  During this active career it seems unlikely that he was an active lord of Kendal, although he appears to have held the overlordship all his life.  He was also lord of the castles of Burton in Lonsdale, Kirkby Malzeard and Thirsk in Yorkshire as well as Brinklow in Warwickshire.

During the early part of Mowbray's long and eventful life most of the North of England fell under the control of King David of Scotland (1124-53).  The affect of this is discussed under various castles on this site as well as in general under Cumberland and Westmorland.  In brief this control included the overrunning of the land from the current Scottish border as far south as Newcastle and the line along the River Ribble from Skipton, via Clitheroe to Preston between the years 1136 and 1157.  In the latter year King Henry II (1154-89) persuaded King Malcolm IV of Scotland (1153-1165) to return the conquests of his grandfather, King David (1125-53) to him.  Quite what happened in Westmorland during this period of Scottish supremacy is open to question as the district rarely appears in contemporary documentation, but Mowbray seems to have regained or retained rights in the area, although Hugh Morville (d.1201) certainly acquired some rights in this district at some point before 1173 judging from the later enigmatic mentions of some of his actions in the pipe rolls.

At some point early in his career, possibly when the Northwest was threatened by or even under King David's rule, Mowbray made a grant that ran:

Roger Mowbray to all his French and English men, greetings.  Know that I have given and granted to William Fitz Gilbert of Lancaster in fee and inheritance, that is, all my land of Lonsdale (Lonsdall), and of Kendal, and Horton in Ribblesdale, with all their appurtenances; to hold well and in peace, quietly and freely and honourably, in the forest, in the plain, in the waters, in the mills, and in all things, with soca and sacca, and tolnet, and infangenthiefe, with all customs, free and right; by the service of 4 knights.

Quite clearly from this, Roger was holding the Mowbray lands in Lancashire and Westmorland at the time.  Much later around 1290, it was recorded that Rose Clare (d.1316+), the wife of Roger Mowbray (d.1297), held presumably her dower portion in Ewcross Hundred.  This consisted of 5 carucates in Thornton in Lonsdale of which Enguerrand Guines (d.1324), a lord of a part of Kendal barony also held lands.  Rose also held in Clapham, Dent, Sedbergh, Ingleton, Bentham and Austwick.  Quite clearly Mowbray control of this district had been maintained, even if Kendal had been lost.

The idea that Gilbert Lancaster (d.bef.1134), the father of the above William Fitz Gilbert of Lancaster (d.1170) held Kendal as heir to Ketel Fitz Eldred (d.1115+) is merely a flawed attempt to explain the above grant.  This misrepresentation was concocted at some point between 1263 and 1283.  Amongst the records of St Mary, York, was a pedigree of Ivo Taillebois (d.1094/7).  This attempt to sort out the past was made during the lifetime of Christiana Lindsay (1267-1320+), an heiress to parts of Kendal barony, probably before her marriage to Enguerrand Guines (d.1324) which occurred before 28 May 1283.  As such the author's knowledge of what occurred in the early twelfth century was probably based upon the surviving charters found in St Mary's chartulary and this accounts for the understandable error.

William Fitz Gilbert (d.1170) may well have acquired the surname Lancaster before 1149 when he witnessed a charter for Earl Ranulf of Chester (d.1153/4).  This was made when the 2 were together in Lancaster.  As such it is quite possible that William was already constable of Lancaster castle for Earl Ranulf.  Despite this suggestion, it is difficult to say when William became lord of Kendal.  This had possibly happened before 1149, when he was already a man of substance, but possibly as early as the summer of 1138 by which time King Stephen (1135-54) was losing control of the North of England.  Possibly early in this period, King Stephen or his son, granted Warton in Kentdale [Morhull castle] to William along with Garstang in Lancashire for the service of one knight.  Certainly, William Fitz Gilbert (d.1170) appeared in a charter dated to between 7 November 1153 and 1155 confirming gifts of his lord, Count William of Mortain (d.1159), the son of King Stephen (d.1154), in Furness.  It has been suggested from this that the grant to William Lancaster (d.1170) of 36½ carucates of land in Ulverston, Warton and Garstang in Lancashire for the service of 1 knight might have been granted by either King Stephen or his son, Count William of Boulogne (d.1159), who was lord of Lancaster as well as the castles of Castle Acre, Castle Rising, Eye, Lewes, Norwich and Pevensey

The heirs of William Lancaster (d.1170), Gilbert Fitz Remfry (d.1220) and his wife, Hawise Lancaster, were holding Warton of the Crown later in the twelfth century as part of the honour of Lancaster.  It has further been suggest that such a grant may first have been made by Count William of Boulogne (d.1159), the son of King Stephen, to William Lancaster in the period 1153 to 1159.  It is thought that William Lancaster's father, Gilbert (d.bef.1134), or a predecessor, had been granted lands in Cumberland, namely Muncaster, Hensingham, Preston [north of St Bees], Lamplugh and Workington as well as Barton [south of Ulswater] and Morland, by William Meschin (d.1130/34) or even Henry I (1100-35).  All of these lands lie well north and west of Kendal and were presumably lost during the time of Scottish rule (1138-57).  Gilbert himself would appear to have been dead by 1134 at the very latest by which time William le Meschin (d.1130/34), the husband of Cecily Romiley (d.1151/55) of Skipton, had confirmed the gift of William Fitz Gilbert Lancaster of Swartha Brow (Swartahof, near Whitehaven) to St Bee's priory.

Much later, the Warton part of the Lancaster inheritance was held by Gilbert Remfry (d.1220) and Hawise Lancaster, his wife.  The idea that William Fitz Gilbert:

obtained the king's licence to be called William Lancaster and to be summoned before the king in parliament as Baron William Lancaster of Kendal...

is obviously a later fiction, not invented until after May 1283 when Christiana Lindsay (d.1320+) married Enguerrand Guines (d.1321+).  Unfortunately the current idea of lords being made ‘barons' by summons etc is a modern conceit, which really shouldn't even need discussing.  There would appear to have been a castle at Kendal from the Norman era at least, so theoretically a lord of Kendal might have been regarded as a baron at any time since the Norman Conquest.  Baronage was not a title given out by kings, by summons or any other means.  It was a word, probably derived from the Old Germanic, baro, which meant a freeman.  In the Middle Ages it was used simply to describe powerful knights who were lords over other knights and usually owed allegiance direct to the king.  As such attempts to describe such people as third, fifteenth or any other such numbered ‘baron' of Kendal or anything else should be consigned to the anachronistic dustbin of historical fantasy.

The major religious house in southern Cumberland and Westmorland was undoubtedly Furness abbey, founded by King Stephen in the 1120s while he was still a baron of King Henry I (1100-35).  The barons of Kendal often found themselves in conflict with these monks over the bounds of the mountains between Kendal and Furness.  These lands stretched between Lake Windermere and Ulverston.  One consequence of this dispute is that Furness probably obtained the most royal protections of any church in England, receiving confirmation of their lands from Henry I, Stephen, Richard I, John, Henry III, Edward I, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI.  Their lands were also confirmed by Pope Eugenius (1145-53) and then by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), twice! 

With control of the North established by King Henry II in 1157, he confirmed an important charter before 1163, in which he described the boundary between Furness abbey and Kendal lordship as it was then held by William Fitz Gilbert (d.1170).  These boundaries were written down in Henry's court at Woodstock by Chaplain Stephen in the following terms:

that my charter confirmed the agreement which was brought before me between the monks of Furness and William Fitz Gilbert, concerning the mountains of Furness in this form.  Furness Fells are divided from Kendal according to these terms, as was sworn at my writ by a minimum of 30 men.  As the water descends from Wrynose Haws (Wremesale) into Little Langdale (Langedene-little), and thence into Elterwater (Helterwatra), and thence through the [River] Brathay (Braiza) into Windermere (Windendermer), and thence into the [River] Leven (Levenam), and thence to the sea.  However, this land was divided by the abbot of Furness by these divisions as written; from Elterwater (Helterwatra) to Tilburthwaite (Tillesburc), and thence to Coniston (Coningeston), and thence to the head of Coniston Water (Turstiniwatra), and along the bank of the same water to the [River] Crake (Cree) and thence to the  [River] Leven (Levene).  William, however, himself elected to have that part which adjoins these boundaries on the western side, to be held of Furness abbey, wholly and fully in the forest and plain, in the waters and fisheries, and in all things, rendering thence to the abbey of Furness 20s and the son of the same William [William Lancaster, d.1184] will do homage for it to the abbot.  Wherefore I will and firmly command that this agreement be held firm and unshaken, and that the same abbey shall have and hold its aforesaid part well and in peace and whole, in forest and plain, in waters and fisheries, and in all places and things, but that part which adjoins the same boundaries on the eastern side is held by the same abbey, except that William will have game and hawks on that side.  This was witnessed by bishops Robert of Lincoln (1152-66) and Hugh of Durham (1153-95), Earl Roger of Leicester (d.1168), Richard Lucy (d.1179), William Vescy (d.1183, father died 1157), Geoffrey Valognes (d.1208), William Egremont (d.1163), Albert Gresley (d.1181), John Constable (d.1190, Clavering), Richard Pincerna, Henry Fitz Swein (d.1172), Gospatric Fitz Orm (d.1185) and Richard Fitz Ivo.

This agreement was also copied into the Furness Coucher as an important statement of the abbey's lands and rights.  After this the monks made a precis of what this meant to Furness abbey.  This again is obviously a late concoction and reads:

This was the first William who caused himself to be called, by the lord king's license, Baron William Lancaster of Kendal, who was formerly called Taillebois.

Of course this is total tosh.  The title ascribed to William did not exist as such in the twelfth century and he was almost certainly never called Taillebois.  This supposition probably dates more to the fourteenth or even the fifteenth century.  The idea that William Fitz Gilbert was called Taillebois is quite simply a misrepresentation of the early holding of the district by Ivo Taillebois (d.1094/97) and is probably based simply upon the fact that the writer of this note had seen the charter whereby Ivo made grants in the district.  This later text continued that William:

who married Countess Gundreda of Warwick, who in fact begat William the second from the aforesaid Gundred.  This William II married Helewisa Stuteville, by whom he had only Helewisa.  This Helewisa was married to Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Remfry (Reynfredi), in whose time the following fine was made concerning the exchange of the vill of Ulverston with part of the mountains [Furness Fell].

There then followed in the Coucher the fine made by Gilbert before King Richard I (1189-99) in 1196 which will be examined a little below.

As can be seen, not a lot is known of William Fitz Gilbert's career in Kendal, but he died before Michaelmas 1170 when Richard Morville (d.1191/96) proffered 200m (£133 6s 8d) for having the lands he claimed in right of his marriage to William Lancaster's daughter.  Richard paid 80m (£53 6s 8d) of this in 1172 and the remaining 120m (£80) in 1175, while the lady herself died on 1 January 1191.  This lady, Avice Lancaster (d.1191), was possibly illegitimate as the grant would seem to have partially disinherited William Lancaster (d.1184), the heir to Kendal.  This would have explained the large Morville fine of 200m (£133 6s 8d).

Before 1156, William Lancaster (d.1170) had married Gundreda Warenne (d.1175/84), the widow of Earl Roger Beaumont of Warwick (d.1153) and aunt of Count William of Mortain (d.1159).  By this marriage, Countess Gundreda became lady of Kendal.  She had had at least 6 children with Earl Roger of Warwick (d.1153) and in her new marriage was probably the mother of William Lancaster (d.1184), but not Avice.  Avice had married William Peverel who had died before 1152, which suggested she herself was born before 1135.  Obviously this was nearly 20 years before William Lancaster and Countess Gundreda married around 1153.  She died in 1191, therefore aged over 56.  William Lancaster (d.1184), is first probably mentioned in 1176 which would fit with a post 1153 marriage date.  It has been argued that Gundreda was too old to bear children after 1153.  However, her birth could have been as late as 1120 and was certainly no earlier than 1118 when her mother's first husband, Earl Robert Beaumont of Meulan and Leicester, died.  She was the daughter of Countess Isabel Elizabeth le Magne of Meulan and her second husband, Earl William Warenne (d.1138).  The date of Gundreda's first marriage is not known, but Earl William of Warwick (d.1184), her eldest known child, was probably not born until after 1138 as he appears to have been underage in 1153 at his father's death.  This makes the claim that she was too old to bear children in the 1150s nonsense.  As lady of Kendal, Gundreda appeared in charters for her husband and bore him at least 2 sons, Jordan, who was dead by 1160 and William, their eventual heir as can be seen in this charter.

To all the faithful of God's holy church, from William Lancaster greetings.  Let it be known to everyone that I, by the advice and consent of William, my son and heir, and of Gundreda my wife, and for the health of my Lord King Henry of England and Queen Eleanor and their children, and for the health of our souls, and the souls of Gilbert my father, and Godith my mother, and Jordan my son, and Margaret daughter of the Countess, and for the souls of my parents and all ancestors, have given and granted, and by this present charter confirmed in pure and perpetual alms to God and the church of St Mary de Pre of Leicester, and to the regular canons serving God there, and to their men of Cockerham, full and free common right throughout my fee in Lonsdale and Amounderness, in wood and plain, in waters and pastures, in feeding grounds and in all other necessities, and that they and their men shall be quit of pannage in the aforesaid places.  Wherefore I will and firmly charge that the aforesaid canons and their men of Cockerham shall have all their easements and their cattle in the aforesaid places free and quit of all service and exaction towards me and my heirs, as they have in their own demesne underwood, which extends to the bounds between Cockerham and Thurnham, to wit, to the water which is called Flackes-fleth which runs down into the Crokispul, and so into the Lune (Loin); and I prohibit any of my heirs or servants from causing any injury, loss or hindrance to the said canons or their men, but that they shall have and hold the said common right freely and quietly for evermore, as this my charter bears witness, with all the liberties and free customs which I myself had in the said manor of Cockerham, whilst I held it in my own demesne.  This is witnessed by William my son and heir, Gundreda daughter of the Countess, Robert the Chaplain, William the Chaplain of Walton, Ralph Fitz Nicholas, Robert le Heriz, Robert Mundegune, William Fitz Daniel [le Fleming of Thurnham], Robert Mustel, Robert the Chamberlain, William Kair, Thomas Fitz William, Matthew Fitz William Malesturmi, Albert Cardula, Matthew Leuns, and many others.

The implication from this is that Countess Gundreda was the moving force in William Fitz Gilbert making his grant of Cockerham to Leicester abbey which was the foundation of Gundreda's half brother, Earl Robert of Leicester (d.1168).  As such this shows William as a part of the fraternity that would oppose King Henry II (1154-89) in the great rebellion of 1173-74.  Incidently the Gundreda, daughter of the countess, in the charter is the lady who married Earl Hugh Bigod (d.1176) before 1160 and founded Bungay nunnery.

The above charter shows all that is known of the real parentage of William Fitz Gilbert Lancaster.  He was the son of an otherwise unknown man called Gilbert, who's wife, Godith, is guessed to have been the daughter of Eldred and Edgitha.  These 2 were certainly the parents of Chetell/Ketell Fitz Eldred (d.1115+), who in turn was father of Orm Fitz Ketel (d.1094/1102), the father of the more famous Gospatric Fitz Orm (d.1185) of Appleby castle infamy.  William Fitz Gilbert (d.1170) seems to have taken on the surname of Lancaster, possibly as he was constable of that fortress for Count William of Mortain (d.1159) or King Stephen (1135-54).  He may possibly even have been constable for Earl Ranulf of Chester before 1149 as has been noticed above.  Certainly the surname was in use from as early as 1141, before which William Lancaster was lord of Muncaster [Mulcaster, lying half way between Millom and Egremont castles] in the fee of King Stephen (1135-54).  That said, he was named simply as William Fitz Gilbert when he confirmed the boundary of his lands in Furness Fells with the monks of Furness around July 1163.  This boundary in Furness Fells which divided his lordship in Kendal barony from the abbey's lands was again described as from where:

the water which descends from Wrynose Haws (Wreineschals) into Little Langdale (Langedenelittle), into Elterwater (Heltwater) and through the Brathay (Braiza) into Windermere and then into the Leven (Leuena) and so into the sea.

Through this division the abbot took the land:

from Elterwater (Heltewater) to Tilburthwaite (Tillesburc) and to Coniston (Conigeston) and then to the head of Coniston Lake (Turstiniwater), along the bank of that water to the Crake (Crec) and then into the Leven (Leuenam). 

This boundary was later confirmed by the Young King, Henry III (1170-83), as running:

down from Wrynose Haws (Wraineshals) into Little Langdale (Langdenelitle) into Elterwater (Elterwater) then through the Braithay (Braitha) into Windermere (Wynandrem) then to the Leven (Leuena) and from there through.... to the sea.  The division between Copeland and Furness ran along the water descending from Wrynose Haws (Wraineshals) into Trutehil thence through the Duddon (Dudena) to the sea.

It seems from pipe roll evidence that Kendal was later held directly from King Henry II (1154-89) by the service of £14 6s 3d by noutgeld [a manorial rent which was originally paid in kind, often cattle, but then commuted to a cash sum].  This is suggested by the fact that William only owed Roger Mowbray 2 new, ie post 1135 fees in 1166, rather than the 4 of the original charter by which Roger Mowbray (d.1188) granted him Kendal with the other lands.  The implication is that Kendal was now held directly of the Crown for the missing 2 fees, although William himself apparently did not make a 1166 charter for any lands he held in chief, ie Kendal.  It has been suggested that Kendal was held of Hugh Morville (d.1202) of his suggested barony of Westmorland before 1174, but there is little evidence of this, although Morville does seem to have held extensive rights within the county, judging from comments in later pipe rolls about his interference in the running of the county.  Regardless of this, the throwaway line in Fantosme that the Young King (d.1184) offered King William the Lion of Scotland (1165-1214):

the land which thy ancestor had;
Thou ne'er had so great an estate in land from the king,
The borderland; I know no better under heaven.
You shall have the lordship in castle and in town;
All Westmarilande without any gainsaying...

again shows that Westmorland was currently royal land and probably not held as a fief by the Morvilles.  As such the county should have included both Kendal and Appleby and from this it is apparent that the king had control of this district and therefore the right of granting it away without any reference to its alleged Morville owner.  Further, Henry II's interest in Kendal is indicated by his confirmation of the boundary between Furness abbey and William Fitz Gilbert's land of Kendal.  William Lancaster was last heard of in 1170, when both he and Gospatric Fitz Orm [William's first cousin 1x removed] pledged 5m (£3 6s 8d) each, amongst others, for the 35m (£23 6s 8d) debt that Robert Fitz William had entered into for having the king's peace.  The debt was duly noted for the next 2 years, despite William apparently being dead.  At William's supposed death in 1170, his heir, William Lancaster (d.1184), must have been under age as, if his mother was Countess Gundreda Warenne as appears probable, he could have been no older than 17.  Certainly no relief fee was recorded as having been charged to the Young William Lancaster (d.1184) in the pipe rolls and he must have come of age before 1176, judging from his appearance as William Fitz Gilbert and Countess Gundreda's heir before 1160 which would suggest a birth date of before 1155.  It is rare for youngsters below the age of 5 to appear in charters.  The status of Kendal barony in the 1170s is therefore something of a mystery.

In 1173, Roger Mowbray (d.1188) rose in revolt against Henry II (1154-89).  Possibly Kendal lordship followed him in this, although whether there was a functional castle in this southern portion of Westmorland at the time is a moot point.  Despite this speculation, without further evidence, it probably seems best to accept that Kendal stayed loyal to Henry II.  To strengthen this assumption is the duel fought between William Lancaster (d.1184), assuming this is the correct identification of William Fitz William) and his second cousin, Gospatrick Fitz Orm (d.1185).  It was this Gospatrick who had surrendered Appleby castle to King William of Scots in 1174, possibly obeying the instruction of the Young King, Henry III (1170-83) and certainly against his fealty to Henry II.  However, Kendal (Kendala) appears to have been under the control of Sheriff Ranulf Glanville (d.1191) of Westmorland when he recorded the income of 20s from the town fishery in 1177.  He also paid 1m (13s 4d) in noutgeld which was possibly also for Kendal, but this is very low it if was - in the 1190s this was worth nearly £15 a year.  Glanville had been in charge of Westmorland since 1174, but it was only in 1177 that he managed to enter accounts for the last 3 years.  It is uncertain from this what the status of Kendal barony actually was at this time.  Had it rebelled and been retaken by Glanville?  Certainly William Lancaster, who must have come of age around the time of the war, was not fined for any treachery as so many of his contemporaries were.  This suggests that he remained loyal and the sheriff was merely recording monies paid from the lands of Kendal while the heir was underage.  The idea that the entirety of Westmorland was passed to Theobald Valoignes (d.1209) in 1178 is almost certainly erroneous.  The argument goes that as he paid a relief on 6 knights' fees these must relate to 4 for Appleby and 2 for Kendal.  However, Theobald was the nephew of the sheriff and later, in 1184, paid 100s relief in Yorkshire, again to Sheriff Ranulf.  If Theobald had obtained Westmorland in 1178 by payment of this ‘relief' it is unbelievable that he did not hold it at his death in 1209 when his son, Thomas, was charged 300m (£200) and 3 palfreys for his relief of the family lands in Norfolk and Suffolk to be paid off at 100m (£66 13s 4d) pa.

Although there is no evidence to suggest when William Lancaster (d.1184) acquired his inheritance of Kendal barony and Morhull castle, they were certainly in his hands some time before his death in 1184.  He was then described as ‘a man of great honesty and possessions'.  That same Michaelmas of 1184, the men of William Lancaster of Kendal were assessed and paid 10m (£6 13s 4d), their lands apparently being in the hands of the sheriff.  The lands being in the sheriff's hands at this time was most likely due to William having recently died.  Other than this there is no royal record of Kendal otherwise being in the sheriff's hands.

The tenure of William Fitz William (d.1184) over his estates is fraught with difficulty.  All that can be said with certainly is that he did hold them, for he was claimed to have dispossessed the canons of Cockerham of his father's gift within the barony.  This gift later passed to Hugh Morville (d.1202) with William Lancaster's widow, Helewisa Stuteville (d.1228+).  As he appears to have been holding this as his wife's marriage portion it hardly implies that he was once lord of Westmorland as is occasionally suggested.  Unusually it was as late as 1181 that William Lancaster's executor was granted 6d by the king's writ in Surrey.  Presumably this was for the will of William Fitz Gilbert Lancaster who had apparently died in 1170.  In the period 1180 to 1184, William Lancaster (d.1184) made a grant to the brethren of Conishead of lands that included Ulverston.  It seems likely from this that he was in charge of Kendal by this time.  He also in this period granted Dunnerdale and Seathwaite in Furness, which lay between the rivers Lickle and Duddon, to William Fitz Roger.  This area lay due south of Hardknott Roman fort and had been granted by William Lancaster (d.1170) to Roger Fitz Orm, the father of this William Fitz Roger.  This was confirming the grant of ‘Gilbert, the father of William Lancaster, giving Roger the land between Lickle and Duddon for a render of 4s'.  This would suggest that the Lancaster family was established north of Furness possibly from as early as William Rufus' 1092 expedition.

At some point during his occupation of Kendal barony William Fitz William Lancaster (d.1184) also made the following grant:

to the poor men of the hospital of St Peter of York, of all the land called Docker (Docherga), that is by the brook which is between Docker (Docherga) and Grayrigg (Grarigg) and between Docker and Lambrigg Fell (Lamberig) and between Docker and Whinfell (Wynfel) and between Docker and Patton (Pattun) and as the same brook flows down in the River Mint (Mynud) and between Docker and Falbec (Flodder Beck?) to where the brook flows into the River Mint and thence up that brook to below Wards and thence to Knothill (Knotlinild) and thence across to the Black Beck (Blacbec), which comes down from Warlaghasheyhes; further beyond these bounds common pasture as far the River Lune (Lon).  This was in exchange for the land of Kendal (Kirkeby) which Ketell Fitz Eldred (d.1115+) gave to them in frank almoin and for the land of Bartonhead (Barton Heved) which William, the donor's father gave them; with a further grant that if the animals of the hospital are found without the above bounds in the donor's forest, they shall be ejected gently and without hurt; while horses and pigs belonging to the hospital shall be allowed to go throughout the donor's forest.  Testibus, Lady Hawise, the donor's wife (Hawise Stuteville, d.1228+), Gilbert Lancaster (possibly William's illegitimate son), Patrick Fitz Bernard, Robert Mustel, Baldrick, William Pymund, Achard and Nicholas his son, Henry Fossard, Norman Redman and Gervase and Grimbald the knights.

Chetell or Ketell Fitz Eldred was probably the granduncle of William Lancaster (d.1184) and if the terms of this document are correct, apparently was lord of Kendal (Kirkeby) as he had granted that land away.  If so, he was presumably holding the land from William Fitz Gilbert (d.1170), the Mowbrays or possibly even the king of Scots (1138-57).  Though, theoretically it is possible that he might have been holding the land from one of their predecessors before 1138.  However, if Ketell had alienated Kendal to St Peter's prior to the 1180s then it seems unlikely that the castle was built before the time of William Lancaster (1170-84) when he exchanged Kendal back, assuming of course, that the new castle was built on the land that was exchanged with St Peter's.  The archaeological evidence of the excavation seems to confirm this deduction with their conclusion that the earthworks were not constructed until the early thirteenth century - archaeological dating is a highly imprecise science.  This grant therefore strengthens the suggested military chronology of Kendal, viz that an early castle was built - apparently Castle Howe - perhaps during the time of either William I or William Rufus, followed by the castle's abandonment and granting to St Peter's of York when the frontier moved further north after the successful annexation of Carlisle.  Then, after reclaiming the land from St Peter's, William Lancaster (d.1184) may have founded the new castle at Kendal on a virgin site on the hill, rather than destroying a portion of the town to allow the castle to be built - the old motte and bailey castle at Castle Howe being thought obsolete and not worthy of refortifying.  Certainly this makes a sensible reconstruction of the available evidence.  It seems most unlikely that Castle Howe was a siege castle as no great sieges are recorded, or indeed are likely to have occurred here, viz. Aston, Brimpsfield, Corfe or Middleham.

From William Lancster's death in 1184 until 1187, Kendal with the rest of his estates, must have been in the hands of the king, although nothing substantial was recorded of them during this period.  Helewisa Lancaster did not appear in the Rotuli de Dominabus of 1185 which listed many heiresses and their lands which were in royal hands at this time.  Sadly, what we have today, only covers England as far north as Lincolnshire.  What we do know is that the king granted William Marshal (d.1219) the land of Cartmel around Christmas 1186.  He was also granted the custody of Helewisa Lancaster and presumably it was intended that he should marry the lady and receive Kendal as her husband.  However, William seems to have abandoned Helewisa before July 1188 when Henry II offered William who had ‘so often moaned to me that I had bestowed so small a fee on you', the much greater barony of Chateauroux in Berry, France.  The History of William Marshal, probably written for William's son before 1230, puts this delicately as William and Helewisa remaining ‘just good friends' after he passed her over in favour of marrying first the heiress of Chateauroux and then the even greater heiress, Isabella Clare.  Consequently it seems to have been around Lent 1189 that the Marshal was asked to let Gilbert Remfry (d.1220) marry Helewisa Lancaster.  After this had happened King Henry II notified his son, Count Richard of Poitiers (d.1199), the future King Richard I, that he had granted his steward, Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Remfry, the daughter of William Lancaster together with his entire inheritance as had been witnessed, by Chancellor Geoffrey, his son [Geoffrey was chancellor from 1181], William Marshall (d.1219) himself and Richard Hommet.

This event gave the Remfry family a major holding in the North.  They had not just arrived in royal service, but were a long standing curial family holding a twelfth of a knight's fee in Dunmow of the Montchesneys as well as lands in Holme and Beckingham in Lincolnshire and Ramsden Bellhouse in Essex.  Roger Fitz Remfry (d.1196) was an administrative official and whose brother, Walter Remfry, was archbishop of Rouen (1184-1207).  Their mother was Gonilla, an illegitimate daughter of Henry I (1100-35), while their grandfather was dapifer to the Percys and their great grandfather was the renowned Abbot Remfry of Whitby (d.1086) who's name inspired Bram Stoker's character Reinfred in his 1897 novel, Dracula.  Roger had married Alice Brito, the daughter of Louis Brito and brother of Ralph before 1165.  By her he had some 5 sons and at least 2 daughters.  Roger Remfry (d.1196) became a judge before 1169 and was responsible for much building work at Arundel castle for Henry II (1154-89) and having the ditch dug around the Tower of London for Richard I (1189-99). 

Gilbert had probably been born before 1160 and, following in his father's footsteps, was a judge before 1185.  By 1180, and possibly as early as 1177, he was with Henry II in Caen and seems to have remained in the king's entourage thereafter, sometimes in the company of his father, Roger Remfry (d.1196), and witnessing his last document for Henry as his dapifer just a day or 2 before the king's death at Chinon castle on 6 July 1189.  This final grant was to Theobald Walter's foundation of Swainby.  Theobald was lord of Amounderness and was to be related to Gilbert Remfry very distantly by marriage.  Count Richard, before he was even crowned king of England on 3 September 1189, was fully in favour of the grant of Kendal to his father's man, for he confirmed the grant at Rouen on 20 July 1189, the same day he was officially invested as duke of Normandy.  Further, on 15 April 1190, he granted Gilbert acquittance of noutgeld in all his lands in Westmorland and Kendal, namely £14 6s 3d each year in return for the service of a single knight.  He also granted him quittance to suit of the county, wapentake or riding court and from having to give aid to the sheriff or his bailiffs.  For this concession Gilbert gave the king 60m (£40).  The original charter was made at Evron in Maine.  However, as this was an ‘innovation', the king reissued the charter on 5 March 1199, just a month before his death at Chalus [Chabrol] castle.  The charters confirmed:

quittance through all his land in Westmorland and Kendal of noutgeld, that is for £14 6s 3d which Gilbert used to render.  Gilbert was also quit of all shire, wapentake, tithing and aid for the sheriff in all his bail throughout his lands, all for the service of one knight and the payment of 60m (£40)....  Testibus Earl William of Arundel (d.1193), William Marshall (d.1219), Constable William Hommet (d.bef.1209), Dapifer Roger Prateli and Stephen Thurnham (d.1214) at Evron in Maine.

That was the tenor of our charter made under our first seal.  Because that was lost  while we were captured under the power of another, during a state of war: it [this charter] was revised.  And these are the witnesses of this renewal, bishop Herbert Poore of Salisbury (1194-1217), Archdeacon Vivian of Derby, Robert, Johel and Baldwin chaplains, William Marshall (d.1219), William Stagno, Seneshall Robert Thurnham (d.1211) and Robert Tregoz (d.1214).  Dated at Chateau-du-Loire by Vice Chancellor John Brancaster on 5 March 1199.

On the same day of 15 April 1190, a second charter was granted to Gilbert ran:

We will, grant and by this charter confirm to Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Remfry and his heirs to have and to hold, wholly, freely and quietly, all the forest of Westmorland, Kendal and Furness, just as William Lancaster Fitz Gilbert ever held it and had it, better and more whole, freer and quieter and apportioned the same; and that they should have that forest which we gave to the same Gilbert and his heirs in Kendal, with £6 of land; as well, whole, free, quiet and ever better than Nigel Aubigny had and held it, more thoroughly, freer, and quieter.  We will and grant that what was waste in the wood of Westmorland and Kendal in the time of the aforesaid William Lancaster Fitz Gilbert, remains all waste, except for the purprestration made by the license and consent of the lords of the fee of Kendal and Westmorland.  Wherefore we desire and fearfully command that no one unjustly presumes to forfeit from Gilbert himself or his heirs mentioned above upon the forfeiture to us of £10.  Witnessed by Earl William of Arundel (d.1193) and many others

This last charter confirms that Kendal, as well as the forest of Westmorland and Furness, had been held by William Fitz Gilbert Lancaster (d.1170) and before him Nigel Aubigny (d.1129).  This of course, confirms the descent of Kendal barony as set out above.  It should also be noted that neither Hugh Morville (d.1201), who was back in royal favour, nor Theobald Valoignes (d.1209), are mentioned as previous holders of Kendal.

A few days before the first grant, on 11 April 1190, Gilbert was with his king at Mortain in Normandy.  The grant was obviously effective for at Michaelmas 1190 the sheriff of Westmorland acquitted Gilbert the charge of £7 3s 2d for the farm of Kendal for half a year, ie from 15 April 1190 to 29 September 1190.  Doubling this sum of quittance gives £14 6s 4d, which is only a penny out from the noutgeld owed for Kendal.  The sheriff was also acquitted for accounting for £4 9s 1d for Kendal, which the king had given Gilbert, for half a year as well as 50s due from the fishery.  Consequently, the sheriff was acquitted this total sum of £28 4s 6d yearly until Easter 1195 when, for a reason which will be discussed below, the £14 6s 3d began to be charged against Gilbert again.  Despite this, during this period, King Richard granted Gilbert a further 16 carucates of land for the service of 1 knight's fee.  This land was in Levens and included the fishery, together with Farleton, Beetham, Preston Richard (n'r Endmoor), Holme, Burton in Kendal, Hincaster (Hennecastre), Preston Patrick (n'r Endmoor) and Lupton (Loppetona) with another fishery.  Like the earlier charter this one too was confirmed as an innovation at Chalus in 1199 and was probably made before the king left France on Crusade in August 1190.  Regardless of this reissue, effectively these places were joined permanently to Kendal barony.  A further boon was another charter by King Richard (1189-99), which is thought to date to 9 December 1189 and which granted Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Remfry (Renfridi) a weekly market at Kyrkebi in Kendale for a fine of 20m (£13 6s 8d).  This was witnessed by Gilbert's uncle, Archbishop Walter of Rouen.  Quite clearly King Richard had changed and raised the status of Kendal considerably.  The event of Gilbert receiving Kendal was obviously of some note, for even a contemporary chronicler noted:

And then was conceded and given to John his brother [by King Richard].... and Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Rainfrei [was given] the daughter of William Lancaster, dapifer to his [Richard's] father, the king [Henry II]...

The event was also mentioned in the History of William le Marechal, which had probably been written for his son, Earl William Marshall of Pembroke (d.1231).  This told how William Marshall had been granted the guardianship of the lady of Lancaster and her great estates and how he had been guardian to her for a long time while he held her as his dear friend (chiere-amie), but that he never married her.  The long time he held her could have been as short as 2 years for he only returned from Crusade around Christmas 1185.  Whatever the case, he had lost control of her in 1188 when Henry II upgraded his bride from Helewisa Lancaster to the lady of Chateauroux and give Helewisa to Gilbert Remfry.  The fact that Gilbert seems to have rapidly married the lady shows that William Marshall could have made this match himself if he had wanted to.  Quite obviously he didn't and his moaning to Henry II about his wanting a greater fee would therefore seem to be part of a premeditated plan of the Marshall not to marry the lady.  The History of William le Marechal records Gilbert having Helewisa, but puts its own spin upon it.

And if you say in good faith
That Gilbert the son of Reinfrei
Was not held back from taking the daughter
With whom he was given Lancaster
That The Marshal had in custody
of whom he was a courteous guardian.

There is no hint here that it was the Marshall who refused the marriage.  After this introduction to the affair the Marshall's biographer went on to have King Richard say that he freely confirmed what his father had given to Gilbert as well as his gifts to Baldwin Bethune (d.1212) of Chateauroux, Reginald Danmartin (d.1217) in Lillebonne and that he would find a bride for Reginald Fitz Herbert (d.1201+).  It is noticeable that in this ‘history' the land of Lady Helewisa was described as Lancaster and not the barony of Kendal.  Of course it is further not correct that the king gave Lancaster to Gilbert Remfry, as Helewisa's family had been constables there for maybe 50 years.  It was the barony of Kendal and the constableship of Lancaster with Morhull castle that came with the heiress who had the surname Lancaster.  It is also noticeable that The Marshall did not give up Cartmel, which was a part of Lancaster lordship and had probably been given to him in the expectation that he would marry Helewisa.  When all is said and done, The History of William le Marshal was a hagiography written to paint him as a great, unfailing hero and not a bit of a dangerous and dishonest bounder.  Indeed many contemporaries thought him anything but The Perfect Knight, but due to the Marshall's prowess in personal combat, few were brave enough to say it out loud.  A read of David Crouch's excellent book on William Marshall, should put anyone straight on that matter.

Although Gilbert Remfry was not a tenant in chief in 1166 at some point before his death in 1220, a charter was entered for him to bring the 1166 survey up to date.  Possibly this was done when the land was granted to him by Richard I in 1190 as it includes the lands mentioned in Richard's charters.  The full charter ran:

Charter of Gilbert Fitz Remfry
Gilbert Fitz Remfry, for 1 knight from his land of Westmorland and Kendal.
The same holds 1 carucate of land in Levens (Lesnes) with a fishery and 3 carucates of land in Farleton (Karlintone) and Beetham (Bescn') and 4 carucates of land in Preston Richard (Prestun) and 2 carucates of land in Burton in Kendal (Bertune) and 1 carucate of land in Hincaster (Heunecastr') and 1 carucate of land in Preston Patrick and 3 carucates in Lupton (Lutton) and a fishery which pertains to these lands by the service of a knight.

This is far more informative than the older, original 1166 charters which only mentioned the owners of the knight's fees of various baronies and not where they were.

In 1192 Hugh Bardolf and Hugh Bobi made the sheriff's return for Yorkshire.  At the end of this came the same sheriff's short account for Westmorland.  In this he noted that the revenue of the county had been reduced by grants to other people and for expenditure on 3 castles outside the barony - viz. Kenilworth, Tickhill and Bristol.  It was also noted that 2m (£1 6s 8d) worth of land had been given to Alan Valoignes (d.1195, Tebay), £14 6s 4d from the land of Gilbert Fitz Remfry in Kendal and also £8 18s 2d from the same land as well as 100s from the fishery of Kendal.  This makes it quite clear that Kendal had been operating as a part of Westmorland before the grants of Richard I in 1190.

After King Richard had left for his Crusade in August 1190, Roger Remfry and his brood adhered to Prince John (d.1216) against Richard's chancellor, Bishop William Longchamp of Ely (d.1196).  As a consequence, on 2 December 1191, the chancellor ordered the excommunication of the 25 magnates who opposed him, although he postponed excommunicating Prince John himself until February 1192.  Surprisingly of these 25 men 5, Archbishop Walter Remfry of Rouen (d.1207), Roger Fitz Remfry (d.1196), together with Gilbert (d.1220) and Remfry (d.1211) his sons, and a probable cousin, Joscelin Remfry (d.1200+), belong to Gilbert's family.  However, the Remfry clan are definitely in the lesser strata of the nobility when other excommunicates like the bishops of Winchester and Coventry, earls Marshall, Essex, Salisbury and Mellent and barons like Bardolf, Camville, Marshall, Basset, Vere and Ridel are compared.  With the overthrow of Chancellor Longchamp and his brothers in 1192, things must have become much easier when Gilbert's uncle, Archbishop Walter of Rouen (d.1207), took over the running of the country for King Richard

At Trinity (May/June) 1194 in Lancashire, the monks of Furness complained that Gilbert Fitz Remfry had taken away from them 1,009 sheep, 100 fleeces and 88 lambs, against which they had a charter of the king's made at Winchester on 23 April 1194 [the Sabbath of the king's coronation] about having peace and his liberty and so Gilbert's essoin was summoned to answer this at court.  This matter, which obviously concerned the ownership of Furness Fells, could not be proceeded with at the time as it was found that Gilbert was overseas.  Presumably he was in action in France where fighting was going on between forces loyal to Richard I (1189-99) engaging those of King Philip Augustus of France (1180-1222).  The case with Furness was finally settled in the king's court between 11 and 13 February 1196, when Gilbert and Helewisa released to the monks all right of venison and hawks on the monk's side of the fells and all claim to Newby (near Clapham, Yorkshire), in return for which the monks granted them Ulverston (Olueston) for a yearly rent of 10s.  The opening of the case on 11 February 1196 ran:

Between the Abbot and Convent of Furness, plaintiffs, by William Leides, cellarer, and William Lonsdale, put in their place to win or lose in the said Court, and Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Remfry and Helewisa, his wife, tenants, by Richard Marisco, clerk, put in their place, &c., respecting Furness Fells (Montanis de Furnesio).

The abbot and convent have granted to Gilbert and Helewisa, his wife, and to their heirs, that part of the Furness Fells lying towards the West, which their predecessors had in accordance with a concord and agreement, which was made in the court of King Henry II as the charter which the monks have bears witness, by these bounds, to wit, from Elterwater (Elteswatra), by the valley to Tilberthwaite (Tildesburgthwait), thence by Yewdalebeck (Ywedalebec) to Coniston (Koningeston), and so into Coniston Lake (Thurstaine-watra), thence along the bank [of the lake] to the head of Coniston Water, as far as the headland which stretches [into the lake] below Rig, unto the [River] Crake (Craic), thence by Crake unto the [River] Leven (Leuena); also from Elterwater over against the mountain by the stream which falls down from Wrynose Hawse (Wreneshals) unto Wreneshals, and so descending by Wreneshals into Borgerha [unidentified], and from Borgerha unto Duddon (Duthen), and thence descending by Duddon as far as the bounds of Broughton-in-Furness (Brocton) extend; to hold of Furness abbey and of the said monks, in wood and plain, in waters and fisheries, rendering yearly to the abbey and monks 20s for all service and custom.  Moreover the abbot and monks granted to Gilbert and Helewisa, and to their heirs, Ulverston (Olueston), with all appurtenances, for 10s to be rendered yearly to the monks for all service.  These lands Gilbert and Helewisa and their heirs shall hold of the abbey and monks in fee and inheritance, as freely and quietly as the monks themselves hold of their lords, saving their service of 30s for all service to be paid to them yearly on 14 August (Eve of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary).  And Gilbert and Helewisa his wife have granted and quitclaimed to the abbot and monks of Furness, buck and doe, and hawk, in that part of the Fells which belongs to the monks, and every liberty which Gilbert and Helewisa themselves possess, freely and peaceably, and without claim from them and their heirs, by these bounds, to wit, from Elterwater by the dale to Tilberthwaite, thence by Yewdalebeck to Coniston and so to Coniston Water, along the bank [of the lake] to the head of Coniston Water to that bank which extends below Rig, unto the [River] Crake and thence by Crake eastward unto Leven; also from Elterwater unto Brathay (Braitha), and from Brathay unto Windermere (Winendremer), and by Windermere unto the [River] Leven, and so along the Leven unto the sea.  Further to the above, Gilbert and Helewisa rendered to the monks and quitclaimed unto them, Newby (Neubi) with all appurtenances, quit of all right and claim which they have therein, or which belonged to them or their heirs, to hold henceforth freely and quietly, and peaceably to possess it in the place of Gilbert and Helewisa, and their heirs.  If, however, anyone shall hereafter seek to harass the monks respecting it [Newby], Gilbert and Helewisa, and their heirs, will aid them to the utmost of their ability, and maintain them in possession without cost.  The 30s which Gilbert and Helewisa owe yearly to the monks, for service for the Fells and Olveston, they will pay on 14 August.  Furthermore, Gilbert and Helewisa granted to the monks a free road and passage for themselves and all their belongings, by the way which leads from the Abbey of Furness through Ulverston, and so through Crake's Lyth (Craikeslith) unto the fishery of Crake, and so to their own lands whithersoever they may wish, because the monks and their belongings sometimes used to suffer molestation on that road.

This case had obviously exercised the monks of Furness a great deal, for in their Coucher book the first royal confirmation of the agreement by Henry II and its subsequent reiteration for Roger Lancaster (d.1291) in 1282, are inserted as a precis into the book before it really begins with the foundation charter of King Stephen.  The agreement of 1196 is then entered a few folios into the book.

In the meantime, Gilbert was charged scutage for the second army King Richard led in Normandy [1194], but was quit of this as the king testified that he had served in person.  However, he was charged the same 20s for the third Norman scutage in 1196 under Lancashire.  This was despite the fact that he had appeared with the king at Issoudun on 3 July 1195 and later at Rouen on 16 October 1197.  He was also with the king at Winchester on 20 April 1194 on his return from captivity.  The reason for this would appear to be that Gilbert had decided to make his peace with King Richard after having sided with Prince John in his rebellion against King Richard in 1193.  During the rebellion, Prince John had fortified his castles in the North.  These included Tickhill and Lancaster.  It would appear that Gilbert supported his lord as constable of Lancaster.  There is an enigmatic entry in the Lancashire pipe roll of Michaelmas 1194.  This stated that amongst those who had bought Richard I's forgiveness was Matthew Gernet who owed and paid 10m (£6 13s 4d) as he had been in the army of Kendal (Kendala) with the men of Earl John.  The fine meant that he could have seisin of his land returned.  Presumably it was Gilbert Fitz Remfry who had raised such an army of Kendal for Prince John.  In the same section it was recorded that the abbot of Furness owed 500m (£333 6s 8d) for having his charters and his liberties confirmed as well as having his right against Gilbert Fitz Remfry in the lands of Newby (Newebi) and Mutton Hall (Motton, Killington reservoir) as well as having his chattels there.  It would seem from this that Gilbert's land of Kendal had reverted to its status previous to the charter of King Richard in 1190 due to the disruption of the kingdom and his disloyalty to the king in the years 1192-94.

After this disastrous result of his revolt, it was necessary for Gilbert to rebuild his position at Kendal.  In 1197, he began paying off the £100 proffered to the king and Archbishop Hubert of York (d.1205) for his grant of £6 of land, acquittance from cornage [a tax levied on horned cattle, cornu, where the tenant was also obliged to give notice of enemy invasion by blowing a horn] and other liberties according to the king's charter [of 1190].  As the sheriff had ceased accounting for these lands in 1190 it shows that this referred back to the 15 April 1190 grants.  Of this renewed proffer, he immediately paid £60 and then £40 the next year, 1198.  Despite this, at Michaelmas 1199 he was still charged with £114 5d debts for his cornage and was forced to pay King John £100 and 2 palfreys for the remission of this debt and confirmation of his charters which included:

having gallows and ditch in the fee which he holds by the service of 1 knight's fee.... and that the agreement made with King Richard for cornage shall be kept and for holding in peace the land of Kendal which he had by the gift of King Richard.

Although the fine only seems to have been recorded in 1200, Gilbert had paid his fine off by 1202.  It is also noticeable that in 1197 Gilbert was referred to as Gilbert Fitz Remfry rather than Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Remfry, as he had been previously been recorded.  This is probably because his father, Roger Fitz Remfry, had died the previous year, 1196. 
Under King John (1199-1216), Gilbert Fitz Remfry eventually rose in the king's favour.  Their relationship seems at first to have been uncertain and, as has been seen, in 1199 Gilbert proffered £100 to King John for the confirmation of his charters and the boon of having gallows and pit in his fee which he held of knight service in Lancashire and that the agreement between him and King Richard was validified, namely for his acquittance of cornage and for holding his land of Kendal in peace - which fee he held by the gift of King Richard.  For this fine Gilbert was quit of £7 3s 1d for the farm of Westmorland for 1195, of £21 9s 3d for 1196, of £14 6s 3d for 1197, for £14 6s 2d for 1198, £28 7s 10d for 1199 and finally £28 7s 10d for this year, the total sum being £114 5d.  The charter was actually enrolled on 26 April 1200 at Portchester.  Gilbert was also acquitted scutage on his 2 fees for this year, which probably means that he campaigned in France with his king.

During 1201 it was recorded that Gilbert owed 30 marks (£20) under Lancashire for his 3 knights fees in the honour of Lancaster and 2 in Westmorland.  He also owed 30 marks (£20) for his misdeeds in the forest as was heard before Osbert Longchamp in Lancashire.  Gilbert was also quit by royal writ of 2 and then 1 fee's worth of scutage in Berkshire in 1201 and 1202.  Around the same time his son and heir, William Fitz Remfry, was married to Agnes Bruce, the pair being sued by the abbot of Leicester, who held rights in Kendal barony, on 13 October 1201.  Gilbert's favour under King John is shown when he was made sheriff of Lancashire in 1205, an office he held possibly until 1217 when Earl Ranulf of Chester (d.1232) was appointed.  For the first 8 years of his term, Adam Fitz Roger is recorded as Gilbert's custodian or deputy in Lancashire.  What is certain is that there is no record of King John revoking Gilbert's commission of being sheriff, right through the war which ended his reign, although Gilbert obviously rebelled or failed to acknowledge Henry III before 1217.  The act of making Gilbert sheriff is quite informative as it listed the places where Gilbert held lands on 25 April 1205:

the king to all his faithful men in the county and honour of Lancaster telling them that he had given custody of the county and honour to Gilbert Fitz Remfry and that they therefore were to be intendant upon him. 

The sheriffs of Norfolk and Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and the bailiff of the earl of Chester - all places where the Remfry estates lay - were therefore to be informed of this.  One of Gilbert's first acts as sheriff was to give 30m (£20) of land in his bail to King Reginald of Man as well as to make a charter to this effect, the land being given to Reginald for his homage and service to King John.

As baron of Kendal or sheriff, Gilbert occasionally attended the king in person.  On 5 February 1207, he, Earl Geoffrey Fitz Peter of Essex (d.1213) and William Briwere (d.1226) were with the king at Salisbury when they witnessed a royal writ.  Gilbert was still with the king on 10 February at Oxford.  Further signs of favour were shown to Gilbert when on 17 February 1207 he was given custody of Alan Fitz Count's lands in Watham, Keles/Relleg and Brikesl/Brickesleg.  Gilbert then became involved in the settlement of the lands of Theobald Walter (d.1206), who had been lord of Amounderness and Preston in Lancashire as well as baron of Nenagh in Ireland.  Consequently on 2 March 1207, the king sent Robert le Vavasour [Theobald Walter's father in law] to carry letters to Gilbert Fitz Remfry concerning the heir of Theobald Walter (d.1206).  Gilbert did have a slight link to Theobald, which would today be regarded as very tenuous.  Through his wife's mother, Helewisa Stuteville (d.1228+), Theobald had been the husband of the stepdaughter, Matilda le Vavasour (d.1225+), of the stepdaughter, Juliane Multon (d.1212+), of the half sister, Ada Morville (d.bef.1239), of Gilbert Fitz Remfry's wife, Helewisa Lancaster (d.1213+).  At this time religious unions were regarded as making the family link direct as if it was a blood line.  Whatever the case of Gilbert's involvement in this, the death of Theobald had many barons claiming custody of parts of the carcass of Theobald's barony.  In this case, Gilbert received the custody of Theobald's heir, another Theobald Walter (d.1230).

Royal favour continued to be shown to Gilbert, with 5 tuns of wine being sent to York on 14 August 1207 for his use in Lancashire and Derbyshire.  On 20 and 21 August 1208, King John stayed at Kyrkebi in Kendale on his way south from Carlisle.  As the castle most likely existed at this time, he probably stopped there.  In 1209 Gilbert fined for 5 palfreys to have Newby manor which was previously held by Ralph Soulis, the lord of Scottish Liddel who had been assassinated in 1207.  The 2 had made a concord together, probably over this land, in 1200.  At Michaelmas 1209, Gilbert was appointed sheriff of Yorkshire, a post he held until 1213, with Henry Redman acting as his custodian or deputy there.  It was around this time that Gilbert's court formed at Kendal to hear a release of land to Gilbert in Lancashire by Matilda the daughter of Elias Stiveton in return for 7m (£4 13s 4d).  This was witnessed by the men of Gilbert's court who would appear strongly in the cause between him and King John in 1215.  They were Lambert Bussy, Adam Fitz Roger [Yealand], Gilbert Lancaster, William Windsor, Roger Burton, William Fitz Waltheave, Gamel the forester, Richard Arten, Benedict Gernet and Ralph Stiveton, togther with the 2 religious brothers, Luke and John.

In June 1212, King John ordered a great inquest to be made into the lands given and alienated in Lancashire.  Included in this was the Remfry barony.  Here it was recorded that Gilbert Fitz Remfry held 1 knight's fee in Lancashire and that William Lancaster (d.1184) had given 5 carucates of land in the 2 Ecclestons (Eccliston) and Larbreck (Lairbrec), which was now held by 5 named men.  Similarly William had granted land in Forton, Halecat (Halecath), Catterall (Caterhale), Windermere (Wynomerislega) and Crimbles.  This William's father, William Fitz Gilbert Lancaster (d.1170), had granted land in Cockerham to the cannons of Leicester as well as land in Ellel (Elleale), Scotforth (Scotford), Lancaster, Carnforth (Carneford) and Ashton (Eston).  Later under Lonsdale it was noted that Adam Yseni had given 5 carucates of land in Whittington (Witington - just south of Kirkby Lonsdale) to Gilbert Fitz Remfry.  At Domesday this land, which included Newton (Neutune) and Thirnby (Tiernebi), was valued at 10 carucates, but this figure, like many other Domesday assessments, had been halved.  The land was later held with Yealand for five twelfths of a knight's fee from Kendal barony.

On 16 August 1212, Brian Insula (Lisle, d.1234), the archdeacon of Durham, Philip Ullecot (d.1221), Gilbert Fitz Remfry and William Harcourt (d.1223) were ordered to supply all the oxen and cows they could to the army forming at Chester where the king was going to from Nottingham.  The 1212 Welsh campaign proved abortive, but on 3 September 1212, when King John was at Durham, he wrote to his bailiffs of the sea ports of England letting them know that his ships, with Archdeacon W. Wrotham of Taunton, had been sent to Gilbert Fitz Remfry with 80 tuns of wine ‘were to be free and without impediment as they pass through your bails for this one time only'.  This, the best wine, was to be shipped from Portsmouth to Scarborough castle where Gilbert was in charge of the work being undertaken there for the king.  Quite clearly Gilbert was seen as totally loyal to be granted charge of such a formidable northern castle as Scarborough where the king sent him 6 carrates of lead for ‘covering our tower of Scarborough' on 7 September 1212.  It is a pity that no such instructions have survived for anything Gilbert may have done at Kendal castle.

On 15 November 1212, Gilbert was one of many barons told to arrest all the ships found in his ports.  The next year the king wrote to Gilbert on 25 February 1213, telling him that he had given Robert Percy custody of Yorkshire and that he was to hand the county over to him freely.  Three months later, around 23/25 May 1213, Gilbert was amongst 12 named members of the baronage of England who had been informed of the king's negotiations with the archbishop of Canterbury and the cardinals, which were to bring about a reconciliation with the pope and who had pledged to support this.  Gilbert continued the year being sent instructions by the king, one of which included his holding of the prisoner, Fukeletto, who had been captured at Dieppe and was held at Scarborough.  On 21 July 1213, Gilbert Fitz Remfry, together with the archdeacon of Durham and Philip Ullecot were ordered on seeing the king's letter to take all the fees and tenements of Eustace Vescy [Alnwick] into the king's hands.  This again shows that Gilbert at this time was seen as a major royalist power in the North.  At some time, probably during 1213, the archbishop of Canterbury and the cardinals of Rome, Earl Geoffrey Fitz Peter of Essex, Count Reginald Dammartin of Boulogne, Earl Ranulf of Chester, Earl William Marshall of Pembroke, Earl William Warenne, Earl William of Arundel, Earl William Ferrers, William Briwerre, Robert Roos [Helmsley], Gilbert Fitz Remfry, Roger Mortimer [Wigmore] and Peter Fitz Herbert [Blaenllynfi] were informed of and asked to firmly observe the peace now made between the king and the English church.  Presumably this letter was sent around 15 May 1213 when the peace was made at Ewell near Dover.  This was followed on 31 October 1213, by various aristocrats being ordered to complete and keep the peace between the king and the Anglican Church and do nothing against the king without the pope's advice.  These men included the bishops of Norwich and Winchester, Earls William of Salisbury, Geoffrey Fitz Peter of Essex, R of Boulogne, Ranulf of Chester, William Warenne, William Marshall of Pembroke, Roger Bigot of Norfolk, William Fitz Alan of Arundel, William Ferrers and Saer of Winchester and the nobles Roger Fitz Roger [Warkworth], William Briwere (Brigerte), Robert Roos [Helmsey], Gilbert Fitz Remfry [Kendal], Roger Mortimer [Wigmore], Peter Fitz Herbert [Blaenllynfi], and William Aubigny. 

It was in 1214 that royal favour began to desert Gilbert, who had already been removed from the office of sheriff of Yorkshire in 1213.  On 8 February 1214, the king ordered the baron of Kendal to hand the custody of the son and heir of Theobald Walter over to Bishop Peter of Winchester.  Similarly on 25 April 1214, Gilbert was instructed to give all the lands and tenements of Robert Thurnham (d.1211) which he had in custody, over to Bishop Peter and that Peter Mauley, who would marry Isabella the daughter and heiress of Robert.  This order was reiterated on 23 May 1214, when the king restated that he had given to Peter Mauley the daughter and heir of Robert Thurnham ‘to take as wife with all her hereditary'.  Gilbert was therefore ordered to hand all the lands and tenements he had in custody over to Master Revell and William le Poher who had been sent to take over these lands on behalf of Peter.  The king was also becoming increasingly paranoid - and perhaps with good reason.  On 16 August 1214, he wrote to various magnates including Gilbert Fitz Remfry informing them that he was sending Thomas Erdington and Henry Vere with various commands for them as he was unwilling to set his instructions in writing and that more messengers are on their way over the sea.  Consequently the named barons were instructed to take note of what they will be told, even if it came from Thomas alone and that this was to be done ‘for the protection of our castles and our body.  Despite this letter indicating that Gilbert was still seen as a royalist in what was becoming the Magna Carta crisis, the king's protection for Gilbert's debts was certainly beginning to slack.  At the Michaelmas year end of 1214, Gilbert was charged for the farm of £20 for Pocklington (Poclinton) in Yorkshire for half a year as well as £28 4s 8d for Driffield and £12 7s 4d for Pickering and the surrounding lands.  This came to a total of £106 5d, of which he paid nothing.  Gilbert also owed £255 17s 6½d for the lands of Robert Thurnham (d.1211), for which he was to respond in the next Lancashire pipe roll.  None of these sums had been accounted for before.  The pressing for payments of debts was often the first sign of increasing royal displeasure with a subject, although the family clearly remained loyal until after the disastrous Bouvines campaign.  In 1229, William Lancaster (d.1246), claimed that he was campaigning with King John in Poitou during 1214 and therefore owed no scutage from that period.  The campaign lasted from February to October 1214 and ended with John's humiliation when the Angevin nobles deserted him, forcing him to retire before inferior French forces.  This also sparked the final crisis of John's reign.

Despite the setbacks in royal policy in 1214, Gilbert was still seen as loyal.  On 2 March 1215, the king wrote to Prince Llywelyn (d.1240) from the Tower of London explaining that he was:

sending to you the venerable Bishop W of Coventry and our faithful Gilbert Fitz Remfry, Philip Orreby justiciar of Chester and Henry Erdington, clerk, asking... you to meet with them at Rhuddlan or at Gresford for consultation, you may consult with trust with these men and what they may say to you from our part with faith, profit and honour.  Know also that unless it is through your actions, we and you shall be good friends towards each other.

This seems rather an odd mission for the baron of Kendal, but it does show that Gilbert was fully in the king's confidence.  The meeting would appear to have been a success, for on 25 March 1215, the same men were ordered to go again to Wales to meet with princes Llywelyn, Gwenwynwyn and Madog, but with no meeting place specified.  Presumably any such meeting had taken place by 2 April 1215, when the king ordered his barons of the Exchequer to account by the view and testimony of lawful men concerning Gilbert Fitz Remfry holding the custody of our castles and his munitioning of them with men to hold against our enemies.  Later on 17 April 1215, Philip Ullecot (1220), Gilbert Fitz Remfry, Geoffrey Neville (d.1249) and Brian Insula Lisle (d.1234), who had all been holding prisoners taken in Carrickfergus castle in 1210, were ordered to release all those they had in custody who were not knights or men of good birth.  Further, in the run up to the sealing of Magna Carta, the king wrote to Gilbert Fitz Remfry, Constable John of Chester (d.1240), Robert Vipont (d.1228), Geoffrey Neville (d.1249), Philip Ullecot (d.1220) and Brian Insula Lisle (d.1234) on 23 April 1215, telling them to observe the letter which Bishop Peter of Winchester was bringing to them.

It is said that at this time King John, being suspicious of Gilbert Fitz Remfry, appointed Reginald Cornhill as sheriff of Lancaster in his place.  However, the original documentation concerning this seems to be missing and there is no evidence that Gilbert was removed from this office by King John.  In any case it is not certain which Reginald might have been appointed to Lancaster as there were 2 men of the same name operating at the time, father and son.  The elder Reginald (d.1219+) was sheriff of Kent, while the younger Reginald (d.1257) was appointed sheriff of Surrey in 1213, a post he retained until 1215.  As Reginald was replaced in that year by Hubert Burgh (d.1232), it is to be presumed that he was the man who was meant to have gone north to Lancaster and as well as being the man who handed Rochester castle over to the rebels at the end of September 1215.  One of these Reginalds had been made constable of Canterbury and Rochester castles on 25 May 1213.  Probably, if such an event occurred, it was the younger Reginald who supposedly went to Lancaster and surrendered Rochester.  This would explain the elder Reginald still being in favour in 1216 when he was made chief of the navy.

With the garrison of Rochester under Reginald Cornhill making common cause with the rebels and inviting William Aubigny into the fortress, the king immediately moved against his former minister, granting Savaric Mauleon the entire estate of Reginald Cornhill on 2 October 1215.  There can be little doubt that this was in consequence of Reginald's revolt.  On 12 December 1215, after the fall of Rochester castle, the knights of its garrison, including William Lancaster (d.1246), the son of Gilbert Fitz Remfry, and Reginald Cornhill (the son who died 1257, rather than his father), were sent as prisoners to Peter Mauley (d.1242), probably in Corfe castle.  Another Remfry knight, Henry Redman, was delivered to Robert Courtney (d.1242, Okehampton, Conches) to imprison, it being noted that he had been taken prisoner at Rochester castle.  In any case, whatever the status of Lancashire at this time, the administrative running of the county was probably carried out by the undersheriff, Adam Fitz Roger of Yealand.  Earl Ranulf of Chester (d.1232) then took over the sheriffdom at an unspecified time until 1217, when Jordan Fitz Roger, possibly a brother of Adam who had been undersheriff under Gilbert, was acting as deputy.

In the meantime, during all these disturbances, the lord of Kendal seems to have remained loyal to his royal fealty, for on 27 July 1215 he witnessed a charter together with other loyalists at Fekenham.  His compatriots included Earl William of Salisbury (d.1226), Hugh Mortimer of Wigmore (d.1227), Walter Lacy (d.1241) of Ludlow, Trim and Longtown, Geoffrey Lutterell (d.1217), Brian Insula (d.1234) and Hugh Bernevall.  A few weeks later on 13 August 1215, Gilbert, with Roger Gernet, was ordered to let Furness abbey have timber from the royal forest of Lancaster between Gilbert's fishery and the town bridge, while on the fourteenth of the same month, he was mandated concerning a writ demanding 10 marks (£6 13s 4d) which was served on him by Baldwin the valet of Sheriff Philip Marc of Nottingham.  Soon after this Gilbert must have adhered to the rebel barons against the king.  Consequently, on 16 November 1215, the king ordered the sheriff of Berkshire to give the land of Gilbert Fitz Remfry in Donnington (Duninton) to Peter Fitz Herbert (d.1235).  Quite clearly this shows a royal breach with the lord of Kendal.  Despite this, Gilbert again appeared in good standing with the king on 18 December 1215, when he was granted 10 good oaks from Hales forest to help build this abbey and monastery of Stanley.  This was over a week after the king had dispatched William Lancaster to his prison at Corfe.  However, relations with the Crown continued to deteriorate, for on 8 December 1215, the king sent an open letter to Gilbert via the clerk William Kirkby, giving him a safe conduct to come to him until 13 January 1216, ‘as the father of William Lancaster, on who's behalf the letter is sent'.  Gilbert would seem to have been with the king on 3 January 1216 when his safe conduct was reiterated.  Judging from this, Gilbert's crime seems to have been having a rebellious son, rather than him having revolted against the king.  Regardless of his actual crime, on 22 January 1216, Gilbert made a fine with King John.  This ran:

Gilbert Fitz Remfry makes a fine with the lord king for 12,000m (£8,000) for having the king's benevolence and grace, as well as the remission from the royal ire as he had confederated with the barons who were enemies of the king and that William Lancaster (d.1246), his son, and the knights Ralph Deincourt and Lambert Bussy who were held in the king's prison, since they were captured in the garrison of Rochester castle [30 November 1215] when they were against the king; and to be quit of all demands by the king since 25 March 1215, saving the validity of his account from the time when he was a royal bailiff; and for this fine and his faithful service and that of William Lancaster his son he will find hostages for the lord king, namely Benedict, the son and heir of Henry Redman, the first born son of Roger Kirkby, who was begotten from Gilbert's daughter, the son and heir of William Windsor (d.1216) who was begotten by Gilbert's kinswoman, the heir or heiress of Ralph Deincourt, the heir or heiress of Roger Burton, the heiress of Adam Yealand, the son or daughter of Thomas Bethun, the son or daughter of Walter Stirkland, the daughter of Richard Coupland, a son of Gilbert Lancaster and if by chance any of the hostages should die, the sons or daughters of these named knights or others named in their place should replace them for the king to hold in peace.  Further Gilbert Fitz Remfry will hand over to the king in tenancy (in tenanciam) the castles of Morhull and Kendal (Kirkeby) for whatever use the king willed.

The agreement was witnessed at Berwick on Tweed by Earl Ranulf of Chester (d.1232), Earl William Ferrers (d.1247), Roger Montbegon (d.1216) and Alexander Dorset.  It would seem from this Gilbert's only crime was acknowledging Magna Carta and having a rebellious son.  Interestingly the copy preserved in the charter roll, which judging by the witnesses records the same event, is rather different and undated.

Know that of my own free will and of my own accord, I have made a covenant with my lord, John, the illustrious king of England, that I will faithfully serve him and his heirs born of the lady Isabella, queen of England, all the days of my life, nor will I be against them at any time; and if I have sworn to his [John's] enemies, I will not hold to it nor adhere to it, or to any charter which the same king commissioned and made to the barons of England concerning liberties which indeed the lords [and] pope annulled, and if by chance, which is far from happening, it happens that I withdraw from this agreement against my same lord, the king or his heirs, I and my heirs shall be perpetually disinherited from all my land which will pass to the use of the lord the king and their heirs for ever; and for the greater security of the faithfulness of my service, I give to my lord king as hostage Benedict the son and heir and Henry Redman, the firstborn son of Roger Kirkby, which Roger is married to my daughter, the son and heir of William who is my nephew, the heir or heiress of Ralph Deincourt, the heir or heiress of Roger Burton, the heiress of Adam Yealand, the heir or heiress of Thomas Buethun, the heir or heiress of Walter Stirkland, the daughter of Richard Coupland, the son of Gilbert Lancaster and if some or other of the hostages should happen to die I will send to the king in their place sons or daughters of the said knights or others in my place as hostages for the king to hold for peace; and I will hand over to the king in tenancy my castles of Morhull and Kirkby to do with as he wills.

The witness list for this is also slightly different, having no mention of date or place and substituting William Cantilupe (d.1239) for Alexander Dorset.  Considering these 2 versions of the same event it is worth printing in full the precis kept of the agreement in the pipe roll for this year:

Gilbert Fitz Remfry, 12,000m (£8,000) for having the king's benevolence and for William Lancaster his son and Ralph Deincourt and Lambert Bussy his knights to be delivered from prison, who were captured in Rochester castle, as well as to be quit of all demands from the time in the past up to 25 March saving his reasonable account since the time he was royal bailiff.

The latter account makes it quite clear that the main reason for the charter was William Lancaster's part in the siege of Rochester, while Gilbert was also covering himself against his earlier support for Magna Carta.  Consequently on 31 January 1216, Robert Vipont [Appleby] was ordered to let Gilbert have full seisin of all his lands and castles in his bail which had been taken into the king's hand.  In this manner, Gilbert received official seisin of Kendal back, the king apparently therefore only holding it for the shortest of times.  Meanwhile Gilbert may have strayed again into the rebel camp for on 18 June 1216, letters of conduct to see the king were issued to Gilbert ‘concerning the peace his son made with the king'.  At the same time Gilbert's bailiffs and men had similar letters of conduct issued to them ‘to collect money for the fine made by Gilbert and his son'.  Possibly with the landing of the French under Prince Louis (d.1226) on 21 May 1216, Gilbert's loyalty waned further and certainly by the end of the reign he had withdrawn from John's fealty.  Consequently on 10 October 1217, a royal proclamation was made informing the kingdom that a safe conduct had been granted to Richard Percy (d.1244), Roger Montbegon (d.1226), Gilbert Fitz Remfry and Adam Stafleg in their coming to Earl William Marshall of Pembroke (d.1219), regent of the kingdom, to make their peace with the Crown.  The lack of allegiance from Gilbert may well have been due to the lack of freedom granted to his son William, for it was only in the Spring of 1217 the William obtained his freedom through the intercession of the earl of Chester.  On 5 January 1217, Peter Mauley (d.1242) had been ordered to send William Lancaster (d.1246), who had been a prisoner in his custody, over to Earl Ranulf of Chester (d.1232).  On 22 March 1217, the order was finally given to free William.  This probably was issued with the undated document that was sent by Cardinal Gualo to the archbishops of Dublin and York, the bishops of Winchester, Bath and Worcester and the Welsh Marcher lords, Walter Lacy (d.1241), John Monmouth (d.1248) and Hugh Mortimer (d.1227) and the nobleman Peter Mauley (d.1242) of this fact and to order Sheriff Ralph Musard of Gloucester (d.1230, Miserden) to release William immediately to the service of King Henry III (1216-72).

Gilbert Fitz Remfry's adherence to Henry III (1216-72) was obviously quickly achieved and on 30 October 1217, he was contacted concerning the scutage he owed in Westmorland.  There is little doubt that this scutage in the North was owed for Kendal barony.  With this normal instructions were once again sent to Gilbert informing him of affairs in his region starting from 2 November 1217.  However, his probable associates in his ‘rebellion' are likely to be found in the plea of 2 January 1219, when Henry Boulogne complained that Gilbert Gant (d.1242), Gilbert Fitz Remfry, William Romanby and Robert Roos (d.1226) owed him 200m (£133 6s 8d).  Gilbert's associates in this were all well known enemies of King John.  Even more oddly, Gilbert's hostages seem to have been held throughout this time and were only released in May 1222, by which time Gilbert was 2 years dead.  In that month William Lancaster (d.1246) complained that Norman [Benedict?] the son of Henry Redman, Richard the son of Roger Kirkby and the son of William Windsor, when returning to their homes after being released from their hostageship, had been seized by Sheriff Philip Mark of Nottingham and imprisoned in Nottingham castle.  A writ for their release was issued on 19 May 1222.

On 1 May 1218, Gilbert fitz Reinfridi was mandated to come before the king.  By this time he must have been at least in his mid 50s.  That September an account was made of Gilbert's great debts.  First there was the12,000m (£8,000) for having King John's benevolence, then there was £7 owed for the farm of Newby (Neuby) in Westmorland [previously of Ralph Soulis (d.1207)] for the last 3 years and 3½m (£2 6s 8d) for this year.  Finally there was £255 17s 6½d remaining for the account of the lands of Robert Thurnham as contained the Yorkshire roll of 1214 as well as £10 7d 6d amercements recorded there and 60m (£40) for the crops of Hackney (Hakenet).  By 1219 Gilbert's health was obviously failing and he had to attorn Gilbert Witeby in a court case due to his being sick.  A year later on 6 May 1220, the king ordered the sheriff of Westmorland to take into his hands without delay all the land formerly of Gilbert Fitz Remfry with all the property and chattels found therein and hold them until William Lancaster, Gilbert's son, had done his homage.  This was followed on 17 May 1220, by the sheriff being ordered to hand to William Lancaster all his father's lands in peace as William had mainperned to meet the king at York and perform his homage in 3 weeks time.  The homage was duly performed on 16 June 1220, confirming William as the new lord of Kendal, while on 10 June he had confirmed that he had found pledges for the £100 relief he owed for his barony - his sponsors being Earl William of Aumale (d.1241, Skipton), Peter Bruce (d.1222, Skelton), Roger Bertram (d.1242, Mitford), Geoffrey Neville (d.1249, Raby) Hugh Bolbec (d.1236), Richard Umfraville (d.1227, Prudhoe) and Earl William Warenne (d.1240, Lewes).  The same day William was instructed to give up the custody of Theobald Fitz Theobald (d.1230, Nenagh), which was granted to his father, Gilbert Fitz Remfry, by King John.

Sometime during the period of his lordship at Kendal (1189-1220), Gilbert had, as Gilbert Fitz Roger Fitz Rainfrey:

confirmed to the poor men of the hospital of St Peter of York the land which William Lancaster (d.1184) gave them in Kendal (Kendale), that is the land called Docker (Docarhe), ie. the land between the brook between Docker (Docarhe) and Grayrigg (Grarigg) and between Docker and Lambrigg Fell (Lamberig) and between Docker and Whinfell (Quynnnefel) and between Docker and Patton and as the same brook flows down into the River Mint (Muned) and between Docker and Falbec (Flodder Beck?) to where the brook flows into the River Mint (Muned) and thence up that brook to below 'Wards' and thence to Knothill (Knotlinild) and thence across to Brown Hole? (Brunehou) on the north side of Likegile, where the cross is placed, and thence east to the other Brunehou by Sailis where the other cross is placed, and thence to the other side of Likegile to the great ash and thence to the brow of the mountain where the third cross is and thence east to Black Beck (Blabec) which comes down from Warlageshayth and falls into the moss at'Baitingstid, and beyond these bounds common pasture as far as the Lune (Lon); and the grant of their horses and pigs within the grantors forest, and two folds in the said forest at Capelthwait and Roakerdale....  Testibus, dean and chapter of St Peter of York, Sir H Redeman, Sir Richard Coupland, Sir Gilbert Lancaster, William Fitz Ketel, R Kent, clerk, G Wyteby clerk, Ralph Fontibus, Richard Fossard, Robert Stoua and Ralph Arundel.

In another of his charters, probably made before 1210, Gilbert and Helewisa his wife made a grant of 6 stags to the infirmary of St Mary's York.  This charter retained its 2 seals, one being equestrian and bearing the legend: sigillum gilleberti fil' raenfredi: the other being a female figure and bearing the legend: sigill' Haelaewisie de layncastra.  Possibly around the same time, Gilbert Fitz Remfredi and Helewisa his wife also confirmed to St Mary's of York the churches of Clapham, Kirkby Lonsdale, Burton in Kentdale, Beetham, Guerheim, Kirkby in Kendal, Morland (Murlund), Bruneeld and Workington (Wirkintan) with all their chapels, mills, lands, pastures, possessions, liberties and all their appurtenances.  At some point the pair also confirmed to the church of the Holy Trinity of Kirkeby in Kendale the land which William Lancaster Junior (d.1184) had given, viz from Blindbeck where it falls in the Kent, ascending to the garden (ortus) of Blindbeck, thence by Bulebas it ascends to the head of Stainbank (Staynbanck) and so by the lower head of Staynbanck towards the Kent to the sheepfold of Nicholas, then parson of Kendal church, so by the wall of the same sheepfold on the western side descending by the path to the way from Watslakc and by the way from Watslack to the way from Helsington and by that way to the head of the bridge, together with 1½ acres in Bulebas, below the way which runs below Stainbank.

William Lancaster (d.1246) began his lordship with a massive payment to the Crown.  At Michaelmas 1221 it was recorded that he had paid £1,850 to Peter Mauley.  The remaining debts of his father, including the 12,000m (£8,000) fine, continued year on year until 1236 when a repayment rate of £40 pa was agreed with the king, William was then owing £6, 278 12s 3d.  The lord of Kendal must have made other payments for by 1244 this sum had been reduced to £5,988 12s 3½d.  This shows that payments of £290 had been made between these dates, ie. 7¼ payments of £40 had been made between 1236 and 1244.  On 26 November 1248, Peter Bruce, one of the heirs of William Lancaster (d.1246) was ordered to pay off the remaining sum at £200 pa from the debts of William Lancaster which the king had given to William Valance (d.1295).

On 3 February 1221, William Lancaster, as the new baron of Kendal, was ordered with other Northern magnates to besiege Cockermouth castle and on 30 June 1225 was told to observe the Forest Charter and deforest the lands which had been forested since the accession of Henry II in 1154.  Presumably these lands were in Kendal barony.  In 1228 he was ordered to Winchester with 2 knights who were to be prepared to go abroad in the king's service, but nothing came of this until 1230 when he campaigned with Henry III in the disastrous Brittany campaign.  While he was abroad he had protection from court cases brought against him concerning £15 worth of land in Ulverston and the bounds between Firbank and Hay near Kirkby Kendal.  Unlike many other barons he survived this trip to France.  The same may not have been true of the 1245 royal campaign in Wales which he was recorded as taking part in.  Earlier, on 28 January 1238 William had been important enough to have been one of the 26 named barons who put their seals to the reissue of Magna Carta.

In the latter part of his life William had become sheriff of Lancaster, appearing in the pipe rolls as such from 1233 when he replaced Adam Ireland after the overthrow of Peter Rivaux.  The next year he was ordered on 2 January 1234, to remain in Shrewsbury with his 2 knights for its defence until 2 February.  With him were William Roos (d.1264, Helmsley), Hervey Stafford (d.1237, or his son, d.1241), Henry Audley (d.1246, Heighley), Roger Somery (d.1272, Dudley), Robert Everingham (d.1246) and Ralph Basset and their troops.  In 1236 his barony of Kendal was recorded as being held of the king for 2 fees.  William continued as sheriff of Lancaster until 4 June 1246 when he was replaced by Matthew Redman, notwithstanding the fantasy list of sheriffs produced by Wikipedia.  Most likely his retirement was due to his failing health.  Certainly no account for Lancashire was enrolled in 1246, while Matthew again entered the Lancashire account in 1247.

Mortality was obviously on William Lancaster's mind on 6 November 1240, for he made a grant to Furness abbey of Scalthwaiterigg? (Scaththait) and Egtone for both his soul and that of Agnes his wife.  He also allowed the monks the right to take a boat out on Coniston Water and Lake Windermere.  In return for this he was to be buried next to his grandfather, William Lancaster (d.1184), in the presbytery of their abbey.  Amongst the witnesses to the grant were his wife, Agnes, Prior John of Conishead, Roger Lancaster (d.1291), who was recorded as William's brother, Robert Leybourne and Constable Gilbert Lancaster of Kendal castle.  The charter itself was enacted at Kirkeby in Kendale, presumably in his castle.  In 1242 William accompanied his king in another disastrous French campaign in Poitou; while in 1244 he campaigned with Henry III in his abortive Scottish campaign that ended in the parliament of Newcastle.  As has been noted, his health seems to have broken down, possibly during the disastrous Welsh campaign of 1245 and he died after a long illness, aged about 60 on 28 November 1246.

On 25 December 1246, the inquest post mortem on William Lancaster found that the adult Peter Bruce (d.1272) and Walter (d.1271), the sixteen year old son of William Lindsay (d.1246), were his heirs.  The inquisitors then found that in Lancashire William had held 36½ carucates of land by the service of a knight.  He also held the advowson of Warton church.  As this inquest included Warton it would seem that it was on William's fee of Garstang and Warton and that Kendal barony was not recorded in this survey.  If any such survey ever took place it should have been surveyed under Westmorland, but nothing seems to have been recorded of it other than William's deathbed grants which began on Tuesday, 20 November 1246.  First he had enfeoffed John Bruce with Killington (Kylington), committing the wardship of the land to the prior of Conishead, a cannon of that house paying homage to William for the land.  Also enfeoffed at this time were 3 named men in Helsington, 2 in Crosth, 3 in Sleddale and 2 in Scalthwaiterigg (Scaltwaitrig).  Roger Lancaster (d.1291), the illegitimate sone of William Lancaster (d.1246), received 200 acres of demesne, a mill, herbage, pannage and 28s 10d rent in Paterdale (Patricdale) with the services of Gilbert and Walter Lancaster who each held a tenth of a knight's fee.  Roger was also granted the whole forest of Westmorland, other than that which held he before of the old enfeoffment.  William released 3s rent in Whitwell (Quitewelle, near Selside) to Gilbert the Constable (no doubt of Kendal castle and grandson of William Lancaster d.1184) for 1d yearly and gave to St Leonard's hospital in Kendal (Kirkeby) 44 quarters of oatmeal yearly from Patton mill and gave the advowson of the place to the prior of Conishead.  There then followed an account of William's death which stated that he died an hour after his seal was broken around the middle of the night, in expectation of his death on 21 November.  Finally, further death bed grants were recorded, namely lands in Scotforth, Kirkland Fields (Kirlundfeldes), Kirkland Wood, Withall (Withul) and Garstang (Gairstang).

On 20 February 1247, the Lancaster inheritance was divided by Henry III (1216-72), with Kirkby Kendal going to Peter Bruce (d.1271) as his capital messuage and Warton going to Walter Lindsay (d.1271) as his.  This supposes that Bruce was to have Kendal castle as his capital and Lindsay, Morhull castle.  The actual terms of the division are quite interesting and are therefore translated verbatim, Lindsay of course, being underage:

Concerning assigning dower.  To the king's beloved and faithful John le Francis, Thomas Stamford and Robert Crepping.  Know that we have assigned all the land that was William Lancaster's through the consent of the heirs of the said William to Agnes, his widow, her proper dower.  And we have assigned the manor of Kirkby Kendal to Peter Bruce for a chief messuage and to Walter Lindsay the manor of Warton for a chief messuage.  Also we wish you to cause the remaining lands formerly of the same William to be divided into two equal portions and, once they have been divided equally; the portion assigned to the same Peter you are to give him seisin thereof, but to retain the portion assigned to the aforesaid Walter you are to keep safely in the king's hand until the king orders otherwise.

Before this, on 11 February 1247, William's widow, the childless Agnes Bruce, was awarded her dower by the king.  This consisted of Garstang with the purtenances of Ashton (Estan), Scotforth and Stodday (Scothag) as well as Carnforth (Kemeford) in Lancashire and Grasmere, Langdale (Langdon), Crosthwaite (Crothwayt) and the Lyth valley (Le Lyth) in Westmorland.  This northern lands therefore ran from Grasmere in the northwest to the Gilpin valley in the southeast, being centred on Windermere to the northwest of Kendal.

Questions were obviously raised about the legitimacy of William Lancaster's deathbed grants, for on 5 September 1247, the sheriff of Westmorland was ordered to make a diligent inquiry into whom William Lancaster had enfeoffed while on his death bed, in which lands, how long before he died, whether they were put in seisin by themselves or by others and at what date and of what lands and what the value of these lands might be in issues.  The answers to these were given by the oaths of Henry Suleby, Ralph Deincourt, Richard Preston, Gilbert Lancaster, Thomas Lauthir, John Morville, William Derwentwater, Alan Berewys, Thomas Boueville and 7 other named men.  They found that William had enfeoffed John Bruce with Killington (Kylington) worth 10m (£6 13s 4d) pa on 20 November 1246 and that he then died on 28 November.  Ten others were similarly enfeoffed with various lands in such places as Helsington, Crosth, Sleddale and Scalthwaiterigg (Scaltwaitrig).  William also enfeoffed Roger Lancaster with 200 acres of land in Paterdale (Patricdale) worth £4 yearly with other issues worth 92s 10d yearly.  To this was added the service of Gilbert Lancaster who held by the service of a tenth of a knight's fee and Walter Lancaster who held by a similar service.  Roger was also granted the whole forest of Westmorland apart from Fensdale and S.lartefel and the head of Martindale which Roger held before the enfeoffment.  Finally, William had released Gilbert the Constable (of Kendal castle no doubt) of a rent of 3s for land in Whitwell (Quitwolle) for the yearly service of 1d.  He also made grants to the hospital of St Leonard of Kendal (Kirkeby) of 44 quarters of oat meal yearly for the sustenance of 2 [possibly servants] and gave the advowson of the hospital to the prior of Conishead.  There was then given a slight description of William's death, stating that all these grants were made within 3 days between Monday 19 November and Wednesday 21.  On this day he was expected to die and about midnight his seal was broken so that he could make no more grants, but he survived for another week and all the recipients of his grants had seisin by none except by themselves.

At some point during the reign of Edward III (1327-77) someone at Furness abbey jotted down the following descent of Kendal barony under the heading, The Family of William Lancaster.  In this he held that:

William Lancaster the third, had married Agnes Bruce; while William's sisters, Helewisa Lancaster, had married Peter Bruce Senior; Alice had married William Lindsay; and Serota had married Alan Multon, the last dying without heirs.  As William Lancaster also had no heirs of his body, there was a partition of Ulverston manor between them, the abbot of Furness having half, namely that which Alice and Alan [Walter] Lindsay had and which was later given to John Cowplaud by Edward III (1327-77).  The other half of Ulverston manor was had by Peter Bruce Senior (d.1272).  He had Peter Bruce Junior, Agnes, Lucy, Margaret and Laderina.  This portion went to the sister's [named] husbands and heirs on the death of Peter Junior without heirs in 1182 [1282].  Walter Fauconberg, the husband of Agnes, and Marmaduke Thweng, the husband of Lucy, gave a half of all their lands in Furness, ie. Ulverston, to their uncle, Roger Lancaster, the bastard brother of William Lancaster III.  And afterwards Roger Lancaster took from William Lindsay and Alice his wife, the other half belonging to them at the end of their lives, in the time of Abbot Hugh of Furness in 1282/83 (11 Edward I).

Quite clearly the scribe has heavily blundered at the end of this passage for both William Lindsay and Alice were dead by 1246/7.  However, their grandson, another William Lindsay, died in November 1282 as lord of, amongst other things, a moiety of Kendal, Grasmere, Windermere and Lamberton.  Quite obviously it was from this man that Roger Lancaster (d.1291) gained further lands in Kendal barony.  William Lancaster (d.1246) and Roger Lancaster seem to have been quite close and certainly William issued at least one charter to Furness abbey which was witnessed by Lord Roger my brother.  On this the arms of Lancaster are shown with the charter.  They were azure 2 bars gules with a quarter gules and a lion passant guardant or on the quarter.  These are the earlier arms of Remfry and the single lion passant guardant or, would seem to be a statement concerning their illegitimate descent from Henry I, the royal arms from the time of Richard I (1189-99) onwards being gules, 3 lions passant guardant or, although the use of lions as the family arms seems to date from at least the time of Geoffrey Plantagenet (d.1151).  Prince John, before becoming king in 1199, had used 2 lions passant.

Taking stock of all the above information, it is clear that Kendal barony was permanently divided into 2 portions in 1247.  The section pertaining to the castle became known as the Marquis fee in the sixteenth century and basically consisted of the rump of Kendal barony and included Kendal with the castle itself, with lands in Applethwaite, Crosthwaite, Grasmere, Greenhead, Greenrigg (Grenering, now Bradleyfield), Helsington, Hutton, Langdale, Patton, Rydal, Staveley, Strickland Roger (north of Burneside) and Windermere.  The portion that went with the Lindsay lands became known as the Richmond fee and consisted of lands in Ambleside, Applethwaite, Crossthwaite, Grasmere, Helsington, Hutton, Langdale, Loughrigg, Lyth, Strickland Ketel (south of Burneside), Troutbeck and Windermere.  There were also later the Lumley lands which were in Crosthwaite, Lyth and Staveley.

On 17 January 1258, the lords of Kendal were ordered into action when among 73 named persons, William Roos (d.1264, Helmsley) and Robert his son (d.1285), Peter Bruce (d.1272, Skelton), Marmaduke Thweng (d.1282), Roger Bertram of Mitford (d.1271), Robert Vipont (d.1264, Appleby), Walter Fauconberg (d.1304) and all the bailiffs of Richmond, Redell, of William Valence in Alnwick and all the Marchers of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, Copeland, Cartmel, Kendal and Gillsand, were ordered to proceed with a multitude of foot and archers to Scotland as:

the rebels of the king of Scots, who has taken our daughter to wife, while he himself and his kingdom, until he reached his legitimate age, were placed under our counsel and protection, the king himself with his councilors, whom we have deputed for his custody, the rebels have forcefully stolen away and detained him unbidden to our and that king's scandal and disgrace; we, for our honour and the said king's sake, as well as for our consort who desires to help the same king, and working effectually to apply it; we command you, beseeching you in the faith and love with which you hold us at all times, noting that we cannot dissemble the presumption of such a crime without loss of our fame and honour, you and all the service you owe us, and indeed all the power that you can obtain from elsewhere, be prepared, so that at our command be ready with horses and harness to go with our faithful men whom we are going to send into Scotland for the deliverance of the said king.

The campaign was ended by compromise before it really got underway, although it is possible that Kendal castle saw another army formed under its walls before the exercise was abandoned.  That Peter Bruce (d.1272) had done his duty is suggested by the favour shown to him on 21 September 1258, when the king granted him a yearly fair at Kirkby in Kendal.

Two months later, on 8 November 1258, the king, under pressure from the reforming barons, took actions against the greed of his half brother, William Valance (d.1295).  He stated that after the debts of William Lancaster (d.1246) had been assigned to him, Valance had:

by his power compelled Peter Bruce... to bind himself to pay 300m (£200) a year out of his share of the debts.  The king, understanding that this bond is grievous and unjust to Peter, as the lands of his purparty do not amount to so much yearly rent and desiring to amend as well this trespass as well as other trespasses done in the realm and to reform the state of the realm by the counsel of the magnates, grants to Peter by the counsel of the nobles of the council, that henceforward he pay 100m (£66 13s 4d) per annum for his purparty until the debts are paid, notwithstanding the aforesaid bond.  Similar letters are issued for Walter Lindsay, another of William's heirs, to pay 100m (£66 13s 4d) pa for his purparty instead of 420m (£280) which he used to render.

Only 12 years later, on 5 April 1270, the king noted that Walter Lindsay, one of the heirs of William Lancaster (d.1246), had paid William Valance his half of the Lancaster debt, namely £3,196 7½d and so the king entirely acquitted him having accepted this payment.  Then on 20 July 1270, King Henry wrote again of the remaining debts of William Lancaster which amounted to £3,196 7½d, plus the debts of Peter Bruce to the Jews of £250 and the covenant between Peter and William Valance that this debt should be paid off at £200 a year.  Now the king confirms that Peter had paid his debt and had a quittance from Valance which the king accepted and therefore discharged him of this debt.  This finally paid off the great fine of Gilbert Fitz Remfry made during the Magna Carta crisis of 1215.

Although the earlier splitting of the barony showed that Kendal castle with the barony passed to Peter Bruce (d.1272), while the Lancashire estates with Morhull castle at Warton passed to Walter Lindsay (d.1271), the actual tenure of lands can only be ascertained from the barons'  inquests post mortem.  At his death on 2 November 1271, Walter Lindsay held as the heir of his uncle, William Lancaster (d.1246), a moiety of Kirkby Kendal town with a moiety of the mills of Kendal, Rispeton and Applethwaite with fisheries in the River Kent... except for the lands still held by his aunt, Agnes, the widow of William Lancaster.  He also held a mansion at Strickland Roger (Stirkelond) and land at Helsington, Brathay (Brathelaf), Halls Fell (Hellesfel), Applethwaite, Troutbeck Forest, Bowston (Bolteston), Hutton (Hoton Roffeby) in the Hay of Kendal and part of the forest as well as Casterton in Lonsdale and Windermere Lake which contained an island with a mansion on it, all held in chief for ¾ of a knight's fee. 

Peter Bruce died in September 1272, holding Kirkby Kendal castle with the whole of Kentdale with various advowson of churches, abbeys and priories, but unfortunately most of the inquest is illegible.  The inquest finished with the division of these lands.  Robert Roos (d.1274) and Margaret Bruce, his wife, had Kirkby Kendal castle with all of Kendal barony except for Kentemere Dale which was assigned to John Bellew (d.1301) and Laderina his wife with the advowson of Conishead priory and wreck of the sea in Cleveland, viz from Runswick (Renneswys) to Yarm (Jarum).  John Bellew (d.1301) and his wife received Carleton (Karleton) in Baune, Thorp Arch (Thorpe de Arches) and Waleton manor with the park etc, Tibthorpe (Tibetorp), Suthbrume, Eastbrume, Kentmere Dale in Kendal, the advowson of Monkton priory (Pembrokeshire) and a quarter of the wreck in Cleveland, together with other lands to be assigned between the sisters and heirs of Peter Bruce.  Marmaduke Thweng (d.1282) received lands in Yorkshire which don't concern Kendal barony and Walter Fauconberg (d.1304) and Agnes his wife received the rest of Bruce's Yorkshire lands. 

When William, the son of Walter Lindsay (d.1271), died prematurely a little before 10 November 1282, possibly on campaign with the king in North Wales, he was aged just 31 and held land in the Westmorland vills of Grasmere, Langdale, Troutbeck, Applethwaite, Windermere, Scarsdale Forest, Lyth, Crosthwaite, Strickland Ketel, Kirkby Kendal, Brachlowh/Brachlaw, Helsington, the River Kent, Hutton in Hay (Hoton in Laya), Preston, Old Hutton (Hoton), Holme? (Holm), Whitwell (Qwitewel) and Godwinscales, Banandisdal, Sategill, Le Holmes, Whinfell (Qwinfel), Winster Thwaites (Winstirthwaytes), Sleddale (Sleddal), Tyrehg, Thornby (Thirnby), Sockbridge (Sockebred), Barton and Witherslack and Barbon? (Berburn).  What he certainly did not hold was Kendal castle.  That had passed to the Roos family through Margaret Bruce (d.1307), the eldest sister of Peter Bruce (d.1272), when the Bruce lands were divided amongst the heirs between 14 and 16 December 1272.  Margaret's husband, Robert Roos of Wark, died in 1274 and his inquest post mortem of 20 April 1274 found that in Westmorland he held:

Kirkby in Kendal with the castle, manor and town including moieties of the mills of Rispeton, Applethwaite, Kendal (Kirkeby), Patton and Dylaker, the fishery of Fors, lands etc in Helsington (Helsinton), the farms of Green Ridge (Grenering) and Hagayl, a meadow called Rispetunhenge, the farms of Beauconquayte, Staveley and Stirkele town, the meadow of Leythilde, the farms of Schalqratrig and Old Hotton (Hotun), the farm of tenants in the forest with Scarsdale (Schoureschale) and Oxinholme, a slate quarry, part of the forest of Ridale with Satsondolf, Becmelbrid, and Curkerdale, the farms of Grasmere with a moiety of the mill, and Langeden with a moiety of the mill and herbage of the forest, Crosthwaite (Crostweyk) with the farm, herbage, and mill, a moiety of Yverholm (?), the farm of Chefdor, Roger's Island in Windermere, small fisheries above Kirkeby, rent from free tenants of Westmoreland, &c. The tenants in Kenetemere of John Bellew, who married Laderina one of the sisters and heirs of Peter Bruce, no longer do suit at the fulling mill of Kendal (Kirkeby), and William Windsor (Wynd) has raised a mill at Grayrigg to the damage of the mill of Patton.
This manor fell to the pourparty of Margaret Roos (his wife), younger daughter and one of the heirs of Peter Bruce, who held it of the king in chief.

A little fragment of family life at Kendal castle was recorded in 1297.  That year Margaret Roos was found guilty of not supplying her annual render of a robe to Hugh Louther as she had bound herself to do in 1284 at Kendal castle.  By 1297 she was 3 robes in debt which were valued at £5.  This default in her render may have had a bearing on Margaret having given Kendal castle to her son, William Roos (d.1310), that year on 20 August 1297, together with its demesnes, namely 2 parks, 2 vivaries, meadows, the vivary mill, land in Helsington next to Kendal, the hamlets of Skathwaytrigg, Hutton, Hay, Stirkland Randolph, the meadow of Laythild and Green Ridge... mills in Patton, Dylacre and a moiety of Respeton mill... the inheritance of Peter Bruce, her brother.  She also granted various lands in the west of the barony to her nephew, Marmaduke Thweng (d.1323).  The grant of Kendal castle and a quarter of the town to William with a list of rents and lands was acknowledged by Marmaduke Thweng on 11 June 1301.

On 30 January 1307 the inquest post mortem on Margaret Roos, held at Appleby, found that:

she sometime held the moiety of Kendal barony, except for the valley of Kentmere, of the king in chief for a single knight's fee.  Of this moiety she enfeoffed Roger Lancaster (d.1291) of the vale of Ridale to hold of the king in chief by a quarter fee, whereof he has the king's charter and it is worth £20 yearly in all issues.  Margaret also enfeoffed her son, William Roos (d.1310) of Kendal castle (Kyrkeby in Kendal), with a quarter of Kendal (Kyrkeby) town and the hamlets of Hutton in the Hay (Hoton Haye), Scalthwaiterigg, Strickland Randolfe and Green Ridge (Grenrige) with 45 acres of the demesne of Helsington and... in Hogayle with the mills of the castle, Old Hotton, Green Ridge (Grenrige), Styrkeland Randolf and Dillaker and the moiety of the mills of Patton, Grayrigg and Respton worth £40 yearly to hold of him and his heirs begotten of his body, in default to remain to Marmaduke Thweng (d.1323) and his heirs, to be held by a third of a fee in chief and confirmed by the king's charter and the fine levied....
Margaret had also enfeoffed Marmaduke Thweng with Helsington manor, except for the 45 acres mentioned above, and of the fourth part of Kendal (Kyrkeby in Kendal) with the hamlets of Hogayl Staveley... and the moiety of Crosthwaite (Crosthayth), Grasmere and Langdale hamlets... with the moiety of the mills of Crosthwaite, Respton, Grasmere and Langdale worth £40 yearly in all issues... with default to William Roos etc... for a third of a fee...

When William Roos died, aged just 36 in 1310, his inquest post mortem stated that Kendal castle was ‘in bad repair'.  Eventually, his great granddaughter, Elizabeth Roos took the castle to William Parr (d.1405) in marriage.  The castle was obviously still functional on 13 January 1409, when Agnes, the widow of John Par, the onetime lord of Kendal, was assigned her dower.  Amongst this was:

a tower called Troutbeck Tower (Troutebektour) within Kendal castle (Kyrkeby), a granary next to the tower, the moiety of the stable within [the castle] which extends towards the south, the third part of the profit of the dovecote within the castle, with free ingress and egress to the said tower; also of a barn next to the said castle on the [side] towards the east; of a cowhouse there towards the east; of a kiln (ustrina) towards the east; also of a forge in Kirkby Kendal (Kyrkeby); also sufficient wood in the great park next to the castle to repair and build all the houses...

Sadly none of these places are readily identifiable within the fortress, although the suggestion can be made that the Troutbeck Tower was the round tower to the west, as this lay towards the Troutbeck. 

The castle probably changed hands several times in the Wars of the Roses, although it was never mentioned.  In 1459 Thomas Parr (d.1464) was one of those defeated at the battle of Ludford Bridge.  Consequently he had to go into exile at Calais.  As his lands were attainted it is presumed that Kendal was taken by the Crown, but returned when William backed the successful Edward IV (1461-83) in 1461.  In 1468 the barony was described as the castle, lordship and manor of Mynteshede alias Kendal.  The next year, 1469, Thomas's son and heir, William Parr (d.1484), was one of the rebel commanders at the battle of Edgcote.  He then changed sides and fled abroad with Edward IV in 1470.  At this point his barony was probably occupied by Lancastrian forces, but was passed back to William when he was pardoned for his earlier treason when Edward IV retook his throne in 1471.  He was also granted the Crown's third part of Kendal barony as well as apparently briefly Brough, Pendragon and Appleby castles.

In 1509, Katherine Parr (d.1548), the future sixth and last wife of Henry VIII (d.1547) is claimed to have been born between 1512 and 1514 in the castle (she was aged 6 in 10 Henry VIII).  However, there is no evidence to support this claim and it is now considered more credible that she was born at Blackfriars, London, where her mother was known to usually reside during this period.  In the 1530s Leland noted that the castle on the hill was held by young Mr Parr (d.1571). 

In 1553 the castle was seized on Katherine's brother, Marquis William Parr of Northampton (d.1571), supporting Lady Jane Grey.  However, soon afterwards the fortress was returned by Queen Mary (1553-58).  With the death of William Parr in 1571 the castle passed to the Crown.  William's inquest post mortem on 12 July 1572, recorded:

The castle of Kendal is situated on the knoll of a hill within the park there and on the east side of the town of Kendal, with a fair and beautiful prospect, both of wood, pasture and running water; the out walls embattled 40' square and within the same no building left, saving only on the north side is situated the front of the gatehouse, the hall with an ascent of the stairs to the same, with a buttery and pantry at the end thereof; one great chamber and 2 or 3 lesser chambers and rooms of ease, adjoining the same, all being in decay, both in glass and slates and in all other reparations needful.  Under the hall are 2 or 3 small rooms of cellars.  In the south side is situated a dovecot in good repair.

Sadly it is difficult to draw much conclusion from this survey.  The idea that the inner ward was 40' square is obviously wrong.  Perhaps what was meant here is that the ‘old embattled walls 40' square' is in fact the keep which was nearly such dimensions, but the next statement clearly refers to the inner ward mentioning as it does the only surviving buildings of the Main Block.  Again the description of these buildings suggests that they might include the suggested hall to the west as well as the surviving, standing features.  Further it is possible that the dovecote ‘to the south' just might be the rectangular keep.

After this survey some of the slates were taken off the castle roofs as being dangerous, although on 5 November 1578 the castle was recorded as still partly slated.  Six months earlier the castle was described as being worth £25 less than it had been 16 years ago.  Now 24 substantial men of the barony found that:

the most part of the roofs of the said castle are fallen down, the timber and slate pitifully broken, the gutters of lead, iron in the windows and doors pilfered and stolen away.  And if your honours take not order of that which remains there will be little left to sell within a short time.

In 1769 the Poet Gray found:

Almost the whole enclosure wall remains with 4 towers, 2 square and 2 round, but their upper parts and embattlements are demolished; it is of rough stone and cement, without any ornament of arms, round, enclosing a court of the like form and surrounded by a moat, nor ever could it have been larger than it is, for there are no traces of outworks.

Unfortunately Gray quite missed the outer ward and in 1670 it was recorded that:

the walls are circular, guarded by 3 towers and a keep, 2 of the towers are round and one of them pretty perfect.  Part of the keep remains [;] on the north side of the gate [the Main Block and Northeast Tower is obviously meant] in which 2 or 3 small rooms of cellars may be seen.  In its doors and window jambs and in a few quoins we find the dark red sandstone such is found about Appleby and Penrith... but the rest of it is very rudely built with lime and unhewn blue, primeval rock, brought from the hills north of it.

The final part of the history of the castle has been its use as a tourist attraction.  Consequently in 1813 extensive work was undertaken to repair the various parts of the castle in greatest decay.  It has been suggested that these repairers stripped masonry from the inner side of the enceinte to repair the outer faces.  More repair work was undertaken in the 1880s, leaving the castle the rather soulless ruin it is today.

Kendal castle is an unusual fortress.  It stands upon a large terminal glacial moraine some 170' above the River Kent and some 300' above sea level.  The current town of Kendal lies beyond the church on the west bank of the river, set between the two castles, Castle Howe to the west and the main fortress to the east. 

The main Kendal castle consists of an impressive ringwork ditch roughly 350' in diameter, being up to 20' deep and 80' across.  Flanking the castle ditch is an outer bank up to 60' wide and up to 10' high. The original ringwork is thought to have had a timber palisade around the perimeter of the enclosure and a timber bridge or drawbridge at the north.  This would have given access across the ditch into the outer enclosure. Within the ward would have been various service buildings. To the north of the main castle and surrounding ditch there is a rectangular enclosure measuring approximately 160' by 100' that is flanked on its west and part of its north side by a ditch up to 50' wide and 3' deep.  Adjacent to this ditch there is an outer bank 15' wide and 1½' high.  Presumably this was a small outer ward, rather than a barbican.  It appears never to have been walled.

Along the long hilltop to the north of the castle lies further much denuded defences, possibly stretching as far as the hill end some 1,400' to the north of the main castle gatehouse.  There is a chance that this is a failed town site.  The current Kendal church lies some 1,500' to the southwest of the castle on the other side of the River Kent.  The church is thought to have stood in its current position since Anglo-Saxon times and contains part of the shaft of a cross which has been vaguely dated to about 850AD.  An indulgence was issued for the repair of Kendal church in 1232, while Victorian repairs uncovered an arch over the piscina in the nave, allegedly inscribed with the date 1201 - a most unusual occurrence.  This suggests the current church, or some rebuilding, dates to that period.  The current remains seem much newer, although some of the early masonry in the nave is made of coursed, squared, rubble, which might be ancient.

The Main Ward
The main ward of Kendal castle is roughly circular, being about 235' in diameter and is surrounded by an impressive ditch and couterscarp.  The ward is revetted by a curtain wall about 6½' thick.  This appears to date to different phases.  The west side begins at the gatehouse which lies slightly to the east of true north.  The first 70' consist of the remnants of a straight curtain on the inside of which was a long rectangular building about 20' deep.  The western end of this is best preserved.  Possibly it was an early hall, or possibly even stables.  After a slight angle stands the round northwest tower which projects equally within the curtain as without.  From here the curtain curves to the solid D shaped west turret, before continuing to near the northwest corner of the great keep at the south end of the enceinte.  This much ruined structure also contained a postern.  The eastern half of the enceinte begins flush with the southeastern corner of the keep postern and then curves back towards the eastern side of the ward.  From the east apex a straight section of ruined curtain runs some 40' to the square tower.  The section of curtain from this building back to the gatehouse appears to have been removed and replaced by the later Main Block which meshes awkwardly with the square Northeast Tower.  The interior of the enceinte is uneven and obviously many buildings once filled the courtyard.  Traces of a well can be seen towards the east side of the ward and north of this lay the foundations of what in the seventeenth century was a chapel.  If the ground to the north was once a town, then possibly this church served the entire hilltop.  In 1675 this building was shown as a nave and chancel with a porch to the north and a belfry to the east.  The rest of the castle interior from the northern residential blocks to the keep was apparently unoccupied in the seventeenth century.

The Gatehouse
All trace of the gatehouse has gone other than a few fragments of shattered masonry that give it the appearance of having been destroyed by gunpowder, viz the gatehouse at Urquhart or the corner towers at Caerphilly.  Certainly Buck's print of 1739 shows a single fragment standing apparently on a very precarious end.  Excavation, as well as a 1675 plan and sketch, show that this was a twin towered gatehouse with two D shaped towers and apparently a rectangular gate passageway projecting behind them.  The passageway seems to have had gates at the entrance, the back of the towers and at the final exit, although no trace has been found of a portcullis.  The towers would have been roughly 20' in diameter and would have met the residential buildings on either side at an odd angle.  Like the other towers of the enceinte this structure would not have been boldly projecting.  The 1675 sketch shows this gatehouse as only having 2 forward facing loops on either side of the gate, although the blind second floor seems to be topped by a projecting machicolation making the entrance look somewhat similar to the outer ward at Cooling castle, Kent.  There is no trace of a drawbridge, but the causeway across the ditch at this point may mask the site of an abutment which excavation may have uncovered.

Some small excavations in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered a bank which is thought to mark the original ringwork which dated to a time before the masonry castle was built.  The curtain wall of at least 2 phases was then built upon this bank.  Also a cobbled entrance through the gateway was uncovered and traces of what was thought to be a bridge abutment.  The 1951 excavation found much around the site of the castle gatehouse.  Part of the report is therefore reproduced here:

Excavation was begun on the west side of the entrance, where a tapering wall runs northwards from the curtain wall; on its east side is an area approximately 10' by 13', paved with cobbles and bounded on the west and south sides by walls of rubble masonry, standing, to a height of 4' 6" except at the southwest angle, where the masonry has slipped, probably when the upper part of the building collapsed.  On the east side of this area are the remains of a wall which probably divided it from the entrance passage; at its south end we found a threshold of red sandstone, with a moulded block of similar stone resting on its north end, the remains of a doorway to the chamber.  From the curtain wall on the east side of the entrance a similar wall ran northwards, enclosing a paved area similar to that on the west side; on its floor was a mass of masonry which appeared to be part of the vaulting of the chamber.  The west side of the chamber was indistinct, but we found two blocks of red sandstone in what seemed to be the remains of a badly robbed wall; the distance between the inner face of this wall and the inner face of the corresponding wall on the other side of the entrance was 14'; allowing for walls about 2' 6" thick, the width of the entrance could not have been more than 9'.  No indications of the two round towers shown by Machell [in 1675] were seen, but these may have been robbed down to the foundations.  Within the curtain wall, to the west of the entrance, foundations of a rectangular building showed up through the turf, owing to the dry spring and early summer; the walls of this building were uncovered, proving to be 1' 5" thick: it was 37' 10" long and 16' 9" wide, with no trace of an entrance.

Later excavations in 1968:

found... the inner half of the western gatehouse tower at its junction with the north curtain, a fine stretch of the cobbled road through the gate, and evidence that the first curtain had collapsed and been replaced by a narrower one.

Further excavation on the northern perimeter of the ringwork

provided evidence for the bank of the original ringwork, although pottery found in the bank appeared to be no earlier than the thirteenth century.  Of the stone castle which succeeded the ringwork the northern half of the west gatetower was found to have been completely removed.

From the gatehouse to the round Northwest Tower much of the curtain wall ran in a straight line with a building built inside it.  This building was about 50' long and 20' wide.  Such dimensions would suggest that this may have been the great hall, the Main Block of buildings on the east side of the gatehouse not apparently being able to support such a large room.  Currently the remains of the western wall of this possible hall is a surprising 10' wide which would suggest that it's external side contained a flight of steps running up to the wallwalk, similar to the one depicted south of the west turret in 1675.  Buck's print of 1739 shows this wall with 3 rough arches cut through the wall at the base.  Possibly this was from stone robbing operations.  The wall had collapsed by 1800 when the Gentlemen's Magazine produced a sketch of the site.

The Northwest Round Tower
This small tower was about 22' in diameter and had walls about 6' thick at the base and a single, external stepped plinth.  The whole structure is rubble built and its remaining features are crude in the extreme.  It is currently entered at ground floor level to the southeast via an inserted crude, rectangular doorway leading to an unusually shaped passage with an apparent door recess set in the wall's thickness.  There is a small, crude loop next to this allowing some light into the otherwise blank, vaulted chamber. 

Access to the main floor of the tower was by way of the wallwalk from the north, but currently not the south.  The room consisted of a small chamber with a fireplace to the west, an overhanging garderobe to the south, a mutilated window to the east and possibly a loop to the southwest, where there is a break on the wall.  Any loop probably wasn't for a crossbow as it was hardly able to cover the base of the curtain to the south and in any case was too restricted to be of much military use.  There may have been a further loop to the north where the current metal stair enters the tower, but most of this portion of the wall has gone.  From the garderobe entrance to the south, some crude, modern steps are claimed to have led up to a destroyed upper floor.  These steps were not here in 1888 and are obviously modern.  As it would appear that there is no other known stair vice equipped with such a garderobe it seems far more likely that this was originally the egress to the wallwalk and garderobe which was blocked during modern ‘repairs' and made into some feature steps.  Indeed a gap here was clearly visible in an eighteenth century sketch of the castle.  Further, the steps end in a position impossible for them to continue up to a hypothetical upper floor, which incidently does not exist in Buck's print of 1739.  Instead this level boasted battlements where such an upper floor would have been.  The print also shows an apparent doorway to the tower in the north wall.  Possibly this was the entrance from the wallwalk, but in the print it appears external to the curtain which would suggest this represented a robbed out window.  Beyond the tower to the south Buck showed a garret or chimney where the current garderobe hangs.  It this was a garret it would suggest that there were steps up it.  These would have been very narrow and awkward and would have probably precluded access to the southern wallwalk, although the steps up the garret at Manorbier castle gatehouse are steep and awkward as these would have to have been if they existed.

The masonry of the curtain appears to be of a slightly different build to the tower.  Therefore it appears that the curtain predates the building of the tower, at least for the first 12' on the southern side.  The south curtain from here has been mostly destroyed from internal ground level up.  However, the fragment that remains against the tower still stands over 20' high internally.  About 12' up, only on the east face, are 3 crude corbels that support an offset of about 6".  From here the wall rises another 6' to a further slightly projecting, but corbelless offset.  Most of the junction between the tower and the curtain here has been chamfered off in a crude manner.  This would appear to postdate both structures and perhaps added some stability to the tower-curtain junction at this level.  In the 1675 sketch this tower is shown as having the ground floor entrance to the east and then having 3 floors under a battlemented roof.  However, the overhanging garderobe to the south is shown as a gable roofed structure of 4 storeys which tops the adjoining round tower and reaches to the ground level externally.  Obviously the artist was in error on several of these points.  Regardless of this, if the entrance was where it appears to have been on the tower it would suggest that the wallwalk was only some 15' above current interior ground level.

About 30' south of the tower are traces of a recess which may have been an embrasure.  This indicates that some form of building once stood here.  Nearby is a well some 3' in diameter and capped off at a depth of a couple of feet.

The West Turret
At the western extreme of the enceinte stands the forlorn remnants of a solid D shaped turret which barely projects beyond the line of the curtain and is about 18' in diameter.  It appears integral to the curtain on either side of it.  It has been postulated that a similar turret once stood at the eastern extremity of the enceinte too, but no such structure appears on the sketch of 1675, where the west turret is clearly depicted rising just to curtain wallwalk level.  Just south of the west turret was a flight of steps running at right-angles up to the wallwalk in 1675.  Some trace of these still remains.

The Keep
The great tower is little more than a confusing jumble of much altered ruins.  It would appear to have been a structure of 3 storeys and had dimensions of approximately 40' north to south by 47' across and had walls about 5' thick.  Attached to this on the east side was a postern turret.  The sketch of the castle from 1675 shows this as a battlemented tower with a twin light at first floor level to the north and a large window in the top floor above that.  Close examination of Buck's print shows that the keep may still have been standing in 1739 as it appears to be just visible behind the ruins of the Main Block.  On the east side of the keep, parallel with its southern front, was a small rectangular postern tower, also of 3 storeys.  Part of the vaulted gate passageway of this survives.  Of the keep itself a fragment stands of the northwest corner and some of the south face which shows that the tower was divided in 2 at ground floor level, probably to form 2 vaulted undercrofts with a hall above and probably a solar at the summit.  Facing south in the western undercroft was a single light, which has probably been rebuilt as a larger opening in a post defensive era.  Underneath this in the external face of the tower is a large, apparent doorway which sinks some 2½' into the thickness of the wall.  Possibly this is part of an eighteenth century refurbishment.  In the external southeastern corner of the eastern undercroft of the keep, are the remains of a garderobe chute with twin rectangular exits.  Possibly this is what the other ‘doorway' once was.  Between these two features are a couple of courses of well cut red sandstone ashlar masonry.  A few blocks of this are also to be found higher up in the wall.  Possibly this is some remnant of an earlier structure, or, as was thought in 1888, repairs to the keep wall.  In any case it was recorded in that report that the keep had been demolished, probably in the 1820s.  The tower has been much repaired in the twentieth century and much of the walling appears to have been refaced.

The Northeast Rectangular Tower
The east curtain runs along the ditch scarp from the front of the keep postern turret to the northeast tower in a series of straight sections of curtain wall.  The tower consists of a rectangle about 22' across by 20' deep with exterior walls some 5' thick, leaving an internal room no more than 12' across by 10' deep.  The design is peculiar, possibly bearing most similarity to the small rectangular tapering turret at Bamburgh castle.  Perhaps both were early ‘watchtowers', although it is possible that the entire front of the Kendal tower has been refaced.  Machell's sketch shows this tower as having 3 storeys with a central, north facing window on each level!  Like the tower at Bamburgh, the Kendal tower shrinks in size as it rises, with 3 external offsets.  The lowest level consists of the biggest offset and is slightly sloping like a plinth.  Within this on the north face is a slightly offset garderobe exit with a flat lintel and a low relieving arch above it.  The next 2 offsets are blind to the east, but at internal ground floor level are small loops in deeply set embrasures to north and south.  At first floor level there are 2 odd openings to the north.  The southern one has been blocked, but the embrasure to the rear is crude.  The northern loop is broken externally, and like the southern embrasure has been much rebuilt internally - indeed the eastern segmental arch is almost certainly a modern creation as most certainly are the walls it rests upon.  The ‘window' has a lintelled embrasure roof and both rear walls have been reconstructed suggesting that the bulk of this structure is also post medieval.  There appears to have been another loop facing south at this level.  Buck's print of 1739 shows that the tower was then much higher, having apparently 2 further offsets.  It also shows that the first floor opening was a small rectangular window and that there was no external opening to the east of it.  The top floor seems to have had a singular, possibly large window to the north, although this was then merely a topless gash.  The curtain running south from the tower was also still standing to nearly wallwalk level.

The corners of the rectangular tower are made from reasonably well cut quoins.  The rest is a rough, rubble build, but around the current summit some of the stones are coursed and are of better quality, possibly coming from a reused building.  The rear, eastern end of the tower is gone, replaced partially by the later Main Block's north wall.  This junction can best be seen at the internal northwest corner of the tower.  Here the ground floor northern window loop embrasure is set tight against the east wall of the tower.  This wall then runs southwest and butts against an east to west running wall of large, reasonably well cut stones.  This wall ends some 2' into the tower with a pronounced corner, the Main Block north wall being built on top of this.  The Main Block wall running southeast from here - and making up the new back wall of the Northeast Tower - has a long, low relieving arch at its base, possibly being part of the vault of the undercroft beyond.  Back within the tower, there seems to have been no attempt to join the tower to the wall of well cut stones.  Instead, a little over 2' above the current ground level, the 2 walls begin to mesh together, while at the height of the top of the window embrasure, the tower wall seems to lie against the Main Block wall.  Obviously much building and rebuilding has gone on here, but it does appear that the tower postdates the well-cut stone building of which only the northeast corner remains under the current Main Block - assuming that this is what this is, rather than a later repair work consisting of some underpinning. 

If this corner of the tower is a mess, then so too is the current ‘entrance' to the tower to the south.  This consists of little more than an 18" gap made where a boss of masonry joins the Main Block to the back of the northeast tower.  There probably was not originally an entrance here and certainly the north side of the current ‘passageway' is modern.  Above this is an original, doglegged entrance, although the roof of this doorway is most definitely a rebuild, probably of the nineteenth century.  Apparently there was a spiral stair above this in 1908 if this is the ‘northeast' angle of the tower referred to in that year.  Such a stair here is somewhat similar to that found at Hay on Wye castle keep.  The chamber south of the Kendal tower was certainly a service room of some description as the drain through the curtain proves.  Interestingly there is no internal trace of the garderobe that must have fed the exit chute at the bottom of the tower.  This again points to much rebuilding.

The Main Block
The Main Block is now the most impressive fragment of the castle as it is the only structure of such bulk remaining of the fortress.  However, it is massively repaired and that makes it bland and featureless.  It is also probably one of the last constructed parts of the castle.  It seems to have been of 2 storeys and have been approximately 75' long by 40' deep.  The enceinte wall is the thickest, but its alignment with the northeast tower shows that it is a different build to that and the curtain which runs southwards from the tower.  Indeed, only the west turret of the castle can be said to show signs of being integral with the multiphase curtain wall.

The Main Block is now so heavily damaged and repaired it is difficult to make out the original plan.  It was originally equipped with several stone vaulted undercrofts, apparently of unequal height with 2 to the east orientated north to south and 2 to the west orientated east to west.  Those undercrofts to the east of the block survive in relatively good condition, while those to the west mainly survive as a few courses of springers.  What they do show is that the basement was probably for storage and that above were paved chambers.  Two windows light the eastern undercrofts from the south.  Both have been massively rebuilt, the segmental arch of the western one now rising above the current floor level of the room above!

The west end of the block would appear to have been set at a lower level than the east end.  At first floor level there was a square chamber to the east.  This had 2 high placed windows set in the enceinte to the north.  These appear as large and probably robbed out in Buck's print.  One of these retains a wide segmental arch, although both had their tops in 1739.  In the east wall are 2 great gashes and a smaller one which may mark the sites of 2 doors with a window between.  Externally, which was within a now destroyed building south of the Main Block, the southern portion of a wide low arch can be made out under the window and running towards the gash of the northern ‘doorway'.  Beneath this arch the masonry is obviously a modern rebuild, but this shows that this section of the block has been remodelled at some point when the ‘door' was cut through the arch which is on a level that does not correspond with the current floor layout.

The west end of the Main Block is largely reduced to foundations which show some evidence of the original barrel vaults which made up the undercroft.  The standing fragment of north wall ends with the remnants of 3 embrasures on different levels.  The upper one is on a level with the adjoining upper windows, but according to Buck's print was much smaller than them, while the one below seems to cut into it.  However, as this lies partially within the stone barrel vault its purpose and date must remain obscure. The lowest embrasure cuts across the level of the barrel vaulting and is claimed to have been a fireplace.

The west side of the southern front of the block seems to have had a walled passageway running along it, while there are the remnants of a probable porch allowing access to the undercroft at the east end of the south wall.  A 9' wide passageway once ran southwards from the block as was uncovered by excavation in 1969.  This was found to date from around 1400 and replaced an earlier structure of probably similar form, being at least a 100 years older.  It was further found that part of the south wall of the block was built in unmortared coursed rubble, probably in the eighteenth century as it overlay a rubble filled pit containing early eighteenth century pottery.

The small, square room at first floor level to the east cannot have been the castle hall as is frequently asserted - it is the wrong shape.  Probably the hall lay on the west side of the gatehouse as has been previously described.  To the east of the block was another building of which some traces of walling continue southwards from the east end of the block.  This would have enclosed the entrance to the northeast tower as has already been commented upon.  Set in the east curtain wall are traces of a recess that would probably have been within this building.  The 1675 sketch seems to show this building as a tall narrow, square tower.  However it is not marked on the accompanying plan.

While examining the ruins it must be borne in mind that considerable repair and rebuilding has been undertaken throughout the site from the eighteenth century onwards.  This explains the odd nature of the ruins and uniform nature of some of the walls.  Further, much of the current enceinte curtain has been made up in modern times to help revet the site. 

It is virtually impossible to date any structure in the castle ruins.  The Northeast Tower has the appearance of being the oldest masonry and is in a style that seemed obsolete by the twelfth century.  However, the documentary evidence suggests that no castle stood here before 1175 at the very earliest.  The simple, round Northwest Tower, could feasibly date back to the reign of Richard I (1189-99), but it could be much younger, while the keep has more the appearance of a fourteenth century towerhouse than a Norman structure.  Further, its odd junction with both curtains suggest that it may be a later feature, as too may be the southeastern section of curtain wall that so oddly joins the keep postern.

Castle Howe
It is not certain that the Castle Howe earthwork is in fact a castle, but this seems the best interpretation of the remains.  It lies to the west of the town, some 1,650' northwest of the church and easily intervisible with the current castle.  The site lies on a ridge dominating the west side of the current Kendal town and consists of a mound thought to have been a motte which varies between 35' high to the west and 45' high above the bailey to the east.  The motte itself is some 150' in basal diameter and has a 60' diameter summit.  Allegedly there was once a rampart or breastwork around the top of the mound.  The bailey to the east of the motte appears to have been large, approximately 200' east to west by 400' across and is defined by steep drops to the south and east. 

A monument was raised on Castle Howe motte in 1788 to celebrate the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the supposed bailey was largely flattened to make a park.  This makes all attempts to recreate the site rather difficult.  That said, there appears to be remains of a ditch on the north and south sides of the motte.  This is up to 20' wide by 5' deep and seems to have been cut into the limestone bedrock.  To the north of the supposed motte ditch is a bank, which might be a counterscarp up to 16' wide and 3' high.  That Castle Howe was a motte is strengthened by the fact that it appears on John Speed's sixteenth century map of Kendal as ‘The Mount' and is drawn as a quite exaggerated motte.  It is also shown as such in the corner of Buck's print of 1739.

The ‘Mottes' of Kendal
There are several other alleged mottes in and around Kendal.  Birds Hill Farm mound is about 4,000' northeast of Kendal castle and consists of nothing but glacial mounds without a trace of fortification.  A more likely defensive ‘motte' lies at Hall Garth, 6,000' northwest of the castle on the other side of the River Kent.  This mound, now landscaped in a park is the wrong shape for a motte being about 200' in diameter, with shallow sides and being only 25' high with a slopped summit of some 70'.  Again there is no trace of fortification and more likely this is just another natural glacial mound although there is an enduring tradition that this was a Saxon earthwork which went with the recorded Saxon town.  However, it is some distance from the church which may mark the site of the original Saxon town. 

A third ‘motte' lies at Hawes Bridge, 11,000' south of the castle on the River Kent.  Again this has no evidence of fortification other than the shape of the mound.  However, it appears to mark the site of the lost Domesday vill of Bothelford and overlooks a ford on a Roman road, near the Roman fort of Watercrook.  The land between Bothelford and Natalund was granted by William Lancaster (d.1184) to Gervase Deincourt, so possibly he may have founded or inherited a motte here.

Why not join me here and at other Northern English castles this year?  Please see the information on this and similar tours at Scholarly Sojourns.


Copyright©2020 Paul Martin Remfry