In 1307 William de Dacre was granted licence to crenellate his dwelling on the site (Actually the crenellation is for Dunmallard Hill, about ½ a mile away) of Dacre Castle.
Dacre Castle is a peel tower rather than a castle, with walls of seven feet thick and 66 feet high, and having 3 notable floors, whilst originally built in the 14th Century for protection against the Scots.
Marauding by the Scots was dying out in the 17th Century, and in 1675 the castle was made more habitable by Thomas Leonard the 15th Baron Dacre and first Earl of Sussex, who added the large windows. His arms can be seen above the door.
The Dacre castle and its extensive lands were bought in 1716 by Christopher Musgrave following the death of Lord Dacre, although it was then allowed to fall into disrepair. Musgrave’s daughter Julia married Edward Hasell who was granted the Dacre estates. These grants of land and property were absorbed into the Dalemain estate and used it as a farm house, whilst it still remains part of the Hasell estate.
The condition of Dacre Castle did not improve much until 1961 with the granting of a 10 year lease to a – Mrs Bunty Kinsman who was a famous beauty and leader of London Society, who took on the repair and restoration of the castle, whilst writing a book entitled ‘Pawn Takes Castle’. It is also discussed and rumoured localy that Kristine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies may have stayed at the castle, although how true this is no one knows.
Dacre Castle Near Pooley Bridge
The Dacre castle sits at the side of a small roadway, which fortunately is a right of way, and affords excellent close up views of the Dacre castle. The nearby Dacre village church of St Andrew is worth a visit with the famous Dacre Bears within the church yard.
The castle makes for a good Pooley Bridge circular walk taking in the stately home of Dalemain and the village church and Dacre Castle.
The location of Dacre Castle was once the meeting place of three kings in ancient times who got together (unsuccessfully) to arrange a peace treaty between England and Scotland. Their regretful ghosts are said to make an appearance at the castle to this day. However a much more macabre haunting has been described as follows.
A young heir to the Dacre Castle, Sir Guy of Dacre, fell in love with a young French girl by the name of Eloise, the daughter of a French nobleman. In order to win over her love, he asked one of his friends and his Italian tutor, to help woo her for him. Unfortunately the girl and his friend fell in love whilst Sir Guy was away fighting in Scotland and began a secret affair, which carried on even when Guy married her.
Sir Guy And Dacre Castle
When Sir Guy once again left Dacre Castle to fight in Scotland he entrusted the castle to his loyal friend Lyulph who soon learned of the affair.
Eventually the two lovers eloped and moved to York, although it wasn’t long before Sir Guy found them and captured his wife. He took her back to Dacre castle and locked her in the dungeon, where she found her lover chained to the wall. Unfortunately, he was already dead, and as she went to kiss him his head rolled on to the floor.
Sir Guy kept her imprisoned in Dacre Castle until she finally went insane and rotted away with her lover. It is the ghosts of these two lovers that are said to haunt the Dacre Castle to this day.
Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Dacre Castle please visit Dacre Castle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.
There are some great walks around Dacre Castle, Pooley Bridge and the village pub of Dacre.