Carlisle is an ancient city in Cumbria, on the River Eden, close to the Scottish border. It is often used as a base for exploring the Lake District.
Carlisle began as a Roman military base, to defend Britain from the Picts the other side of Hadrian’s Wall, was later capital of the British kingdom of Rheged, and retained this importance up until the 9th century, when it was largely destroyed during the Danish invasions.
During the Middle Ages, it was frequently a centre of the cross border fighting between England and Scotland, and was attacked at various times by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.
Carlisle Castle was built by William Rufus to fortify the North after the Norman Conquest. Originally of wood, it was rebuilt in stone taken from Hadrian’s Wall. Mary Queen of Scots was a prisoner here in1568.
The cathedral was originally an Augustinian priory, and founded in 1122. The Scots, in control at the time, demolished part of the cathedral to repair the city wall, but it remains a fine building. It has an exquisite East window.
The Citadel, built in 1541, was an addition to the city’s defences, and the Jacobean Tullie House contains a local museum. There are sections of the city walls standing.
In the market place there is a market cross, dating from1682, a mediaeval guildhall and the Town Hall of 1717.
King David I of Scotland died at Carlisle, and Sir Walter Scott was married in the cathedral.