Peveril Castle dominates the little town of Castleton, Derbyshire, from its position high atop a ridge in the Peak District National Park. It is now owned by English Heritage, having been for centuries part of either the Crown Estates or the Duchy of Lancaster. Mostly in ruins, what is left seems to project raw power. Here you can see the remains of the Norman keep which replaced an original wooden structure in the early 12th century; you can see that the keep has lost most of its exterior gritstone cladding, revealling the rough limestone blocks and rubble filling.
If you make the steep climb from the English Heritage entrance building and visitor centre at the base of the hill, you are rewarded with some of the most impressive views in the Peak District, from Cave Dale to MamTor to Back Tor and the Hope Valley. In order to enter the keep of Peveril Castle, you must now climb a spiral staircase on its southern side; the original floors have long since gone, but you can consult a series of data boards which will tell you the story of life in the keep, as experienced by Peveril of the Peak, his family and their servants. There are some fine Norman windows, and some of the stones have been dressed with a broad chevron pattern. The upper story of the keep would likely have included the solar; private, more comfortable quarters for the lord of the castle and, especially, the female members of his family.
The castle did have its moment of glory in history, however. King Henry II of England received his fellow monarch, Malcolm IV of Scotland here, in 1157, to receive the Scots pledge of fealty. For this somewhat craven act, King Malcom was created Duke of Huntingdon by Henry.
There is still a local link to the Royal family and their properties in this area. The Royal toast, given at the end of official functions in the U.K. is, simply 'The Queen'. However, because of her dual function in the County of Lancashire (the county town of which is Lancaster), and in areas which were historically associated with the Duchy of Lancaster, namely, Merseyside and Greater Manchester (just over the ridge, to the west of Peveril Castle), the unique, official toast is given as, 'The Queen, Duke of Lancaster'.
There is, of course, the matter of ‘Peveril of the Peak’, one of the Waverley Novels by Sir Walter Scott, which was written in 1823. It is his longest work, and gives you the feeling that he was being paid by the page. The kindest thing you can say about the novel is that it is no ‘Ivanhoe’!