A Cumbrian couple think they’ve created the first castle opened during the reign of King Charles III and they’ve discovered other royal links in the process.
Gordon and Dawn McGregor enlisted the help of Carlisle building firm McKnight to create the impressive structure on the outskirts of Brampton and say they are so proud of the results.
Peel Castle and the adjoining Castlesteads wing have been built in the grounds of Garth House which was once owned by David Tate, the creator of the Lilliput Lane tiny collectors’ houses.
The properties have been built from scratch in the grounds where some greenhouses once stood.
During the course of their research, Gordon and Dawn discovered another royal connection.
John Sullivan, David Tate’s gardener, who still tends the grounds of Garth House, told Gordon and Dawn about a Clematis “Princess Diana”, gifted to David, which still grows in the gardens today.
The Prince of Wales, as he was then, even sent his head gardener from Highgrove up to Garth House to help establish a hedge in the gardens.
“The McKnight team did an amazing job of bringing our drawings to life,” said Gordon, who owns property management company PPM.
“You would think the castle had been here forever. I think we’ve made a work of art.
“I have known their owner, Wayne McKnight, for years. We needed their technical skills and I knew we could trust them and that we were on the same page.”
Gordon had very fixed ideas about how the two properties, which are now open as luxury holiday accommodation, would look.
He wanted Castlesteads to be quirky, with a gangplank-style walkway crossing the upper floor of the property as a focal point.
In Peel Castle, he wanted the big rooms you would expect in a dramatic structure. There are castellations on the roof, along with other fortress-type features like arrow slits.
Hidden on the roof of Peel Castle, is The Gin Terrace a place to sit and watch the sun go down.
Gordon added: “There are sun loungers and an outdoor sink up there, complete with a refrigerator – it’s a long way down to the kitchen to get more cold beers.”
Wayne McKnight of McKnight Builders said: “We are incredibly pleased with the finished castle. What a project to get involved with! It looks like it’s been there for decades and is a fantastic addition to the Cumbrian countryside. I am really proud of the work done by Project Manager, Gary Bell, and the entire team at McKnight.”