In Cumbria, on the edge of the Lake District, lies the historic town of Penrith. A settlement since Roman times, over the years Penrith has amassed a rich architectural history. From churches and castles to the prehistoric Mayburgh Henge, the market town has a wealth of heritage waiting to be explored.
Constructed 600 years ago as a defence against Scottish raiders, Penrith Castle was home to Richard, Duke of Gloucester before he was crowned King Richard III. Today the castle lies in picturesque ruins, the sandstone walls are found in Castle Park and a wooden footbridge crossing the moat allows visitors easy access to this English Heritage property.
St. Andrew’s Church
With a lofty tower dating back to the 12th century, St. Andrew’s Church is a grade I listed Anglican church in the heart of Penrith. Like many of the nearby historic buildings, it is built from local red sandstone. The church contains stained glass windows dating from the 19th century and brass chandeliers that were a gift from the 2nd Duke of Portland. Outside, in the graveyard, you will find two 10th century monuments, The Giant’s Grave and The Giant’s Thumb.
Built by Owen Caesarius, King of Cumbria from 920 to 937 AD, as a memorial to his father, the two Norse crosses stand more than 10 feet tall. When built, the church tower was probably used as a pele tower. These defensive towers were built as watch towers and beacons to warn of approaching marauders. Nearby grade II listed Hutton Hall also contains a pele tower, one of many that dot the Cumbrian landscape.
The Gloucester Arms
One of the oldest domestic buildings in Penrith is the Gloucester Arms public house. Dating from around 1470 and previously known as Dockray Hall, it is believed it was used as a residence for Richard, Duke of Gloucester while his castle just up the road was being altered. Although largely rebuilt by the de Whelpdale family in Elizabethan times, and retaining their coat of arms above the door to this day, the Gloucester Arms remains a building of significant historical importance in Penrith.
The Railway Station
Moving swiftly up-to-date (well, 19th century), Penrith railway station is grade II listed and was designed by prolific railway architect Sir William Tite. Opened in 1846, the station was built directly opposite Penrith Castle, giving us two heritage buildings separated by a road and 600 years of history.
Heritage buildings such as these are invaluable links to our past and are rightly protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy. Maintaining the fabric of these buildings as the centuries pass is a demanding task, many traditional skills are dying out as more modern practices are developed. Cumbria Roofing are one of the firms working to keep these long-established skills alive. If you need roofers in Penrith to assist with a historic restoration, you can count on Cumbria Roofing for a professional job that will help keep the building standing for many more years.