The centuries haven’t been kind to Pendragon Castle; once three storeys high, all that survives of the twelfth-century building today are some raggedy walls and a few vaulted chambers, sitting forlornly on a grassy mound beside the River Eden. But its location, in remote Mallerstang bounded by high fells, coupled with the legends associated with it, lend it a romantic, almost mystical air. It’s said that Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur, was the original founder of a castle on this site. The local story is that he and dozens of his men died here when Saxons poisoned their water supply.
A better-documented period of Pendragon Castle’s history began in the seventeenth century when ownership passed to Lady Anne Clifford. She rebuilt it in 1660, after it had lain in ruins for more than 100 years. Pendragon Castle is located on private land beside the B6259 road, four miles south of Kirkby Stephen. There is public access