The Monday of our holiday in Kirkby Stephen was wild and windy. It rained most of he morning but, despite threatening skies, there was a break in the rain, so we decided to get out for a short drive over to Brough to visit the castle.
Brough sits at the foot of the Northern Pennines and is split in two by the busy A66 trans-Pennine road. It’s effectively two villages – Church Brough, with the castle and St Michael’s Church, to the south of the A66 and Market Brough, to the north. The latter is built around the original route of the trans-Pennine road, which was a major route to Scotland, and has a wide high street that used to be lined by more than coaching inns in the 18th and 19th Century. It was by-passed in 1977 by the current trunk road.
We were visiting the castle so parked up in the sleepy village of Church Brough. The rain had stopped but we could see some wild weather over the Pennines.
Brough Castle was built in the 11th century by the Normans on the site of a Roman fort. It’s in a strategic location on the Stainmore Pass, one of the main routes into England from Scotland and was intended keep a look out and defend the pass from marauding Scots invaders. Consequently it was attacked and put under siege many times. It was one of a chain of castles in the area, including Brougham Castle to the north near Penrith (also just off the A66), which we visited during our stay in Appleby last October.
Along with Brougham , Brough Castle came under the control of Roger Clifford, in about 1268 when he married Vieuxpoint’s great granddaughter. Subsequently it passed down to Lady Anne Clifford who restored the structure making a number of changes and additions in the 17th century Today the castle is under the stewardship of English Heritage.
The ruins are less substantial than Brougham, and, unlike the former, entry is free.
Here’s some photos I took during the visit.
There’s a cafe next to the castle, but being out of season it was closed, so no change for a comforting and warming brew. Instead we decided to have a look at St Michael’s church
The church dates from the 12 th Century, but, as usual, there have been many alterations and additions over the years, particularly during the 14th and 16th Centuries, with the tower was constructed by Thomas Blenkinsop of Helbeck in 1513 .
We had a look around inside. It was relatively plain with not a lot to see, but there was an interesting little an exhibition about the region
and a rather nice old stone pulpit
As we left the church, the rain was coming back in so we decided to call it a day, return to the car and drive back to our accommodation. The weather promised to be better the next day