Egremont Castle was built on the site of a Dane fort by the Normans after the conquest.
The Castle took almost 150 years to complete and after a relatively brief period fell into disuse and eventually became the ruin it is today. The Castle still has much of its structure standing and its presence and power over the town can be easily imagined.
After the Norman Conquest Ranulph de Briquessart (Ranulph le Meschines) was given a large part of Cumberland and Westmorland by Rufus William II, on becoming the Earl of Chester his estates were returned to the Crown. Around 1120 Henry I gave the Barony of Copeland to Ranulph’s brother William le Meschines who made his home at Egremont and begun to build the castle. Over time the Barony was inherited by Ranulph le Meschines (William’s son).
Having no male heir the Barony passed to his sister Alice who married William Fitzduncan, they had a child who after his untimely death became known as “the Boy of Egremont”, again with no living male heir William Fitzduncan’s estates passed to his three daughters Annabel, Cecily and Alice.
The estates passed down to Annabel’s son Richard de Lucy. Richard’s daughters both married into the de Multon family, Alice (now called de Morville) married Alan de Multon and Annabel (now called de Morville) married Lambert de Multon. Annabel and Lambert de Multon inherited the Barony of Copeland and again the castle had a Lord in residence. Richard de Lucy sued his relatives for these estates and obtained his inheritance in 1200.
Around 1205 the tale of Grunwilda was told she was the wife of Richard de Lucy and was killed by a wolf on a hunting trip, this tale is recounted in the poem “The Woeful Chase”. Again leaving no male heir Richard dies and the superstition began that no male heir should inherit Egremont castle because of the conduct of the fore fathers. Egremont was granted its royal charter by Henry III in 1267.
When the Castle started to fall into disrepair it seems the local towns folk used some of the stone to replace the shop and house fronts on the Main Street and in the Market Square, some of these dating back to the 15th century.
Differing styles of building can be seen in the construction and subsequent repairs of the Castle that have been made over the years.
The Castle and Grounds have retained the prestigious Green Flag and the Green Heritage Site award for 2005/6. The Castle and Grounds first won these awards in 2004/5 and were the first Cumbrian winners of the Green Heritage award, one of ony seven in the country