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Meet a family that has lived in the same house for 800 years!

The Pennington Family has lived at Muncaster Castle that long. And, you thought those 20 somethings still living at home were bad! In fact, Levens Hall, with its spectacular topiary garden featured in our show, is owned by Hal Bagot, and it has been in his family for over 700 years.

Muncaster Castle sits in a militarily advantageous spot overlooking the River Esk. It has been of strategic importance since Roman times, and part of the castle sits on a foundation laid by the Romans.

The lands were originally granted to the Pennington Family in 1208, and they have lived there ever since. In 1464, Sir John Pennington gave shelter to Henry VI, wandering after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Hexham, part of the War of the Roses. On his departure “Holy King Harry” gave his glass drinking bowl to the family saying as long as it remained unbroken and intact the Pennington Family would thrive in this place. Although put away for safe keeping, the bowl, now referred to as the “Luck of Muncaster”, is still intact as is the family. My guide and current owner, Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington, quipped to me that they don’t take the bowl out much. He said he’d hate to be the one who accidentally broke it!

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