Walls Castle, Ravenglass

Has been described as a Rejected Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameWalls Castle, Ravenglass
Alternative NamesRavenglass Roman Baths; Glannoventa
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishMuncaster

The remains of the bath house at Ravenglass Roman Fort, situated just outside the north-east corner of the fort. The remains of the bath house of the fort, established in AD 130, are among the tallest Roman structures surviving in northern Britain: the walls stand almost 4 metres (13 feet) high. Domestic use of the building in the Middle Ages led to the substantial preservation of the site. The site lay in Muncaster Castle Park in the post-medieval period, and was described as 'the ancient dwelling place of the Penningtons' by John Denton in 1610. Excavations in the late nineteenth century and survey work in the 1980s indicated that the bath house was a substantial structure extending beyond the present field boundary, as well as to either side of the existing structures. At least two rooms contained under-floor hypocausts (heating systems). The walls are of regularly coursed sandstone bonded with mortar and rendered internally with pink cement. One of the doorways has a worn threshold and a broad groove to receive a timber doorframe. There are also the remains of windows. The bath house was for use both by Roman soldiers and for civilians who lived in the settlement outside the fort, which extended over much of the present field. The building offered facilities for exercise and sport, as well as for swimming, bathing and socialising. (PastScape)

Reused Roman bath house.

Curwen includes it under Muncaster Castle but makes no statement on its history.

Jackson states that it was 'traditionally the ancient castle of the Penningtons'. Tom Clare syates 'one suggestion is that the building formed the manor house of the Penningtons prior to their removal to Muncaster.' but none of the surviving fabric was considered to be medieval.

Nothing medieval to see and doubtful if it ever was used at that period. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

Gatehouse Comments

The nature of the medieval domestic use which preserved the site is not made clear. The site is rejected as a masonry castle but what was the medieval use of this building? Was this high status use?

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSD088959
Latitude54.3507194519043
Longitude-3.40420007705688
Eastings308820
Northings495920
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 113 (plan)
  • Jackson, M.J., 1990, Castles of Cumbria (Carlisle: Carel Press)
  • Clare, T., 1981, Archaeological Sites in the Lake District (Ashbourne: Moorland Publishing)
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 308

Antiquarian

  • Ferguson, R.S. (ed.), 1887, An Accompt of the most considerable Estates and Families in the county of Cumberland, from the conquest unto the beginning of the reign of K. James {the first} by John Denton, of Cardew (Kendal: Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Tract Series 2) p. 18 online copy

Journals

  • Brann, M.L., 1985, 'A Survey of Walls Castle, Ravenglass, Cumbria' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 85 p.  81–85 online copy
  • Collingwood, R.G., 1928, 'Roman Ravenglass' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 28 p. 353-366 online copy
  • Knowles and Jackson, 1877-8, 'Walls Castle, Ravenglass' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 3 p. 23-6 online copy