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The castle is over 900 years old dating back to the 1100’s. The Scottish Kings resented the loss of Cumberland and Westmorland to the English so made repeated attempts to reclaim them. The castles along this area where built to protect the English territories, in the same way the Romans built forts to keep the Scotts at bay. Scottish King William the Lion attacked in 1174 which saw the early destruction of Brough Castle. In 1203, King John gave Westmorland to Robert de Vieuxpont which included the castles at Brough and Appleby.Come 1268 the castles were in the hands of the Clifford dynasty who rebuilt the castles to their liking and needs – the Scottish threat remained so through necessity they strengthened the castle defences.Brough, unlike its neighbours at Brougham and Appleby, was not captured in the 1388 Scottish invasion. After the great battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, the Clifford’s became Lords once more. In the late 1600’s Lady Anne Clifford played a significant role in renovating the castles – she would stay at Brough Castle on numerous occasions in the Clifford Tower. As at Brougham, Lady Anne added additional buildings such as a stable block, brewhouse, bakery and kitchen.Following Lady Anne Clifford’s death in 1676 the castle fell into disrepair, its stone used elsewhere, such as Brough Mill. The castle came under the stewardship of the Ministry of Works in 1920. Their signs remain today asking visitors not to walk on the walls. Today Brough Castle is managed by English Heritage – visitors, including the odd stray sheep, are welcome and there are no admission fees.
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