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Kendal Castle, Cumbria, Fabric History Documentary Survey

Quatermaine, Jamie (1995) Kendal Castle, Cumbria, Fabric History Documentary Survey. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Executive Summary
In conjunction with an archaeological recording of Kendal Castle, a documentary survey has been undertaken to elucidate the fabric history of the buildings. In particular, the project team was interested in two questions; to determine the original form of the castle and to differentiate surviving medieval fabric from restorations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The earliest depiction of the castle is a sketch plan made in the late seventeenth century by the Reverend Thomas Machel. This depicted a sub-circular curtain wall containing a series of bastions and towers and an impressive suite of ceremonial and residential buildings flanking the northern gatehouse. The basic accuracy of this plan was confirmed by the excavations of JE Spence in 1951 and of Barbara Harbottle between 1967 and 1971. Both of these excavations have been published in interim form: this present stage of the project involved the location of material from the original archive and an assessment of its potential for providing new information on the development of the site. The archaeological recording carried out by LUAU also identified traces of a feature within the castle enceinte, sometimes known as the chapel block: this building appears on the Machel plan but is not depicted in any sources after the mid-eighteenth century.
The combined archaeological, documentary. pictorial and cartographic sources suggest that Kendal Castle was founded in the first half of the thirteenth century, initially with timber and earthwork fortifications but replaced in stone within a very short time. The fortunes of the castle appear to have declined dramatically from the second quarter of the sixteenth century; this may be due in part to the increasingly close connections of the owners, the Parr family with Court circles, and later in the century, to the disgrace if the scion of the family, who supported the abortive claims of Lady Jane Grey to the throne. By 1572, the castle is known to have been in a ruinous condition: most of the roofs were removed and the site was never again inhabited. The pace of decay may be traced by examination of maps, engravings and prints of the castle from the next three centuries.
Repairs to the fabric are known to have been undertaken under private initiative in 1813, and 1897 and by other bodies in the twentieth century. No records relating to repairs could be located, though some idea of their extent could be gained from photographs and other depictions. A combination of this information with the results of the archaeological recording suggested to the project team that substantial parts of the present fabric, though probably a fair reflection of the medieval construction, date to the restorations of the nineteenth century. In particular, the exterior face of the curtain wall can be seen to deviate in places from its lowest courses which are arguably the sole survivors of the original facing.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cumbria
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology North
Depositing User: barker
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2023 14:39
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2023 14:39
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7013

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