Norman Keep, Peveril Castle


 

Peveril Castle overlooks the little town of Castleton, Derbyshire, and is now owned by English Heritage, having been for centuries part of either the Crown Estates or the Duchy of Lancaster. Mostly in ruins, what is left seems to project raw power. Here you can see the remains of the Norman keep which replaced an original wooden structure in the early 12th century; you can see that the keep has lost most of its exterior gritstone cladding.

If you make the steep climb from the entrance building at the base of the hill, you are rewarded with some of the most impressive views in the Peak District, from Cave Dale to MamTor to Back Tor and the Hope Valley. To enter the keep of Peveril Castle, you climb a spiral staircase on the southern side; the original floors have long since gone, but you can consult a series of data boards which will tell you the story of life in the keep, as experienced by Peveril of the Peak.

The castle did have its moment of glory, however. King Henry II of England received his fellow monarch, Malcolm I of Scotland here, in 1157, to receive the Scots pledge of fealty.

There is, of course, the matter of ‘Peveril of the Peak’, one of the Waverley Novels by Sir Walter Scott, which was written in 1823. It is his longest work, and gives you the feeling that he was being paid by the page. The kindest thing you can say about the novel is that it is no ‘Ivanhoe’!

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