The Story of the SiegesThu 12 Mar
A large Roman fort is established on the site of the later castle. This becomes the nucleus for a prosperous town called Luguvalium, occupied by the Romans until the end of the 4th century
William II advances north and defeats local warlord Dolfin. William takes Carlisle, makes the town a borough and builds the first castle on part of the Roman site.
Find out more about the history of Carlisle Castle
The Scots hold the town and castle to siege in 1173, 1174, 1216, 1296, 1297, 1315 and 1461, making it the most frequently besieged place in the British Isles.
1122The Castle Fortified
Henry I visits Carlisle and orders that the castle be fortified. This may be the origin of the keep.
Queen Mary's Tower is added to provide better accommodation.
15th-Early 16th CenturiesBorder Reivers
Families and clans on both sides of the border form armed bands of 'reivers' who regularly rob and pillage their neighbours, causing a prolonged economic decline.
Henry VIII orders a review of Carlisle's defences, resulting in the largest building campaign since the 12th century.
1567Expensive Royal Guest
Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England and is housed in the Warden's Tower, later Queen Mary's Tower, at Elizabeth I's expense.
The castle is used as a reivers' prison. The notorious reiver William Armstrong ('Kinmont Willie') is rescued when armed friends use ladders to break into the castle.
1641-5Surrender to Starvation
In the Civil War the castle is garrisoned for Charles I. The Scots and Parliamentarians starve out the castle. Almost a year later, the garrison finally surrenders.
1745-6Second Jacobite Rising
Prince Charles Edward Stuart takes the city and castle with 400 men. The Duke of Cumberland besieges the castle and the Jacobites surrender. Many are imprisoned and 31 are executed.
19th CenturyModern Garrison
Fearing revolution, the government maintains several provincial garrisons. Carlisle Castle becomes an important army barracks.
20th CenturyLost to History
Many features are destroyed or altered. A dual carriageway separates castle from city.
21st CenturyCurrent Uses
English Heritage shares the castle with the Territorial Army, the county's emergency planning services and Cumbria's Museum of Military Life.
Learn more about the history of Carlisle Castle