Kendal is a large market town situated on the River Kent, on the eastern edge of Cumbria, and is the southern gateway to the Lake District.
A medieval market with pageantry, music, and entertainment takes over the streets with strolling players, jugglers, and jesters, while sellers ply their wares at market stalls. Begun in the 13th century, the trade flourished in the 14th century when Flemish weavers came to the area.The 12th century stone ruins of Kendal Castle sit on a hill on the western edge of the town, offering views over the town and the surrounding hills.(An earlier motte castle-Castle Howe-was built in 1087 on the other side of town, but it was abandoned in the 13th century.) The castle was built by the de Lancaster family, barons of Kendal, and was originally of earth and timber construction.It was rebuilt in stone in the late 12th century by Gilbert Fitz Reinfred, who became the owner through marriage.The castle then passed through several owners, including the Crown.From this time through the 19th century there were many mills on the River Kent.
The town's motto 'pannus mihi panis' (wool is my bread) relates to 'Kendal Green', a rough, hardwearing material worn by Kendal archers.
The town's old cobbled lanes and byways branch off the attractive main street.
The yards of houses in Kendal were named after the owners, and many of the yards ran down to the river, where weaving shops, dyeing works and factories were located.
Richard II gave it to the well-known Parr family of which Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife, was a member-she married Henry in 1543. The castle ruins do not show any evidence of a keep or a gatehouse.
The remains of two towers and some walls still exist.
Unfortunately the castle suffered the fate of many neglected buildings-much of its stone was carried away to be used by others for building.