Pendragon Castle is reputed to have been founded by Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur. According to legend, Uther Pendragon and a hundred of his men were killed here when the Saxon invaders poisoned the well. There are also claims that the Romans built at least a temporary fort here, along the road between their forts at Brough and Bainbridge. But (apart from legend and supposition), there is no real evidence that there was any building here before the Normans built their castle in the 12th Century.
The castle was built next to the River Eden in the Vale of Mallerstang in the late 12th century, probably by Hugh de Morville. Like the nearby castles of and Appleby Brough, Pendragon came into the possession of the Clifford family. It was abandoned after a raiding Scottish army set fire to the castle in 1341, but was rebuilt in 1360. It was left in ruins by another fire in 1541, but was restored in the mid 17th century by Lady Anne Clifford. The castle gradually fell back into ruin after her death – and now remains a romantic ruin, set in glorious scenery.