A Celtic camp or caer (preserved in the name of Carlisle) provided an early military station for the Romans. After the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, Carlisle became the Romans’ administrative centre in the northwest. Following centuries of intermittent conflict between Picts, Saxons and Viking raiders, the Normans seized Carlisle from the Scots in 1092, and William Rufus began construction of the castle and town walls.
The English continued to develop Carlisle as a military stronghold throughout the Middle Ages, constructing the city walls, citadels and the great gates. During the Civil War, Royalist Carlisle was an important strategic base; the city was eventually taken, battered and starving, by the Roundhead Scottish army after a nine-month siege.
Peace only came to Carlisle with the Restoration. The city’s future as an industrial centre was sealed with the arrival of the railways and the first cotton mills during the Industrial Revolution.