Kendal once known as "Kirby Kendal" takes its name from the River Kent and the Old Norse word "dair" meaning "valley". Kendal dates back to at least the iron Age when a fort was built about two miles south of the present day town. In AD 90 the Romans built a fort on the site which remained occupied until AD 270. The Normans built a motte and bailey castle to the west of the town, then known as "Kirbie Strickland" which was replaced in the 12th century by a stone fortification for the barony of Kendal.
In later years the town has been well known for the production of Kendal mint cake and snuff and tobacco products. The town's strategic position on the fringes of the picturesque Lake District has led to a rise in tourism and popularity.
Kendal Castle was built in the 12th century as the home of the Lancaster family, who were the Barons of Kendal. Bt the 15th century the castle was owned by the Parr family. By the time Catherine Parr married King Henry VIII the family had long deserted the castle and it had fallen into disrepair.