HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Lancaster Castle

Hob Uid: 41218
Location :
Lancashire
Lancaster
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SD4735861849
Summary : Medieval stone castle, replacing earlier motte and bailey, considerably altered in the 20th century by construction of the Shire Hall. The monument is also visible as upstanding structures on air photographs mapped as part of the North West Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey. Roger de Poitou is credited with the restoration or rebuilding of the castle with a keep prior to AD 1102. The castle was taken by Hubert de Burgh in 1199 and partly destroyed by the Scots in 1314. The castle was besieged by Royalists during the civil war and has been used as a prison since 1745. It is on the site of a Roman fort and Saxon fortification. HMP Lancaster was the County Gaol for Lancaster and it is situated inside Lancaster Castle. The first reference to a gaol inside the castle occurs in 1196. Building work commenced in 1802, with Joseph Gandy appointed as architect. The king's evidence tower was constructed and between 1818 and 1821 a female penitentiary was built. A treadwheel was added in 1822. Between 1845 and 1877 extensions were made. The prison closed in 1916, followed by a programme of refurbishment started in 1954 and the prison re-opened in 1955.
More information : [SD47356183] Castle [G.T.]. N (1)

Lancaster Castle, as now seen, is principally a mediaeval
structure; this has been considerably altered during the last
century by the building of the great Shire Hall in place of the
ancient towers and walls on its NW. side. The site is on an
isolated hill; the present castle gradually replaced an earlier
motte and bailey castle with timbered palisading. (2)

The Castle stands upon the site of a Roman station. William the Conqueror confirmed Lancaster, then a vill of Halton, to ROGER de POITOU. He is credited with the restoration or rebuilding of the castle. He was the builder of the keep which was set on a mound of Saxon origin. The building must have been erected prior to A.D. 1102. In 1199 the castle was besieged and taken by Hubert de Burgh and the earthworks strongly fortified. In 1209 Earl of Chester had to provide men for the construction of the moats and fosses. The castle was partially destroyed by the Scots in 1314. From the foundation upwards, there is no trace of Saxon masonry. (3)

Similar info. to (3)....... In the Civil War the Castle was first in the hands of the Royalists, but the townspeople took possession of it for the Parliament. Later it was unsuccessfully besieged by the Royalists under the Earl of Derby. Some time afterwards it was partly dismantled, but withstood another siege in Aug. 1648. Since 1745 it has been almost wholly used as a common prison. (4)

LANCASTER CASTLE occupies the site of a Roman camp and a Saxon wooden fort. [Similar info. to (2)]. (5)

The mediaeval castle covered an irregular area measuring c. 380' E-W and 350' N-S. In 1663 the high sheriff petitioned the king to see the castle repaired as formerly. Estimate of cost of repair returned on 12th Jan. 1663-4 was #1,957. The repairs then effected seem to have subsisted down to the end of the 18th cent. when certain alterations were made in 1788. (6)

Date of erection of Keep estimated to be c.1088-1090 A.D. (7)

The Castle was used as a prison until 1915, now used for
County Assizes thrice yearly. For extent, description and present condition please see O.S. 25", component cards & photographs. (8)

Listed in Cathcart King. (9)

Granted by William I to Roger of Poitou, by Henry I to Stephen, Count of Mortain, and by Richard I to his brother John, Lancaster Castle reverted to the Crown after John's rebellion. In 1267 it was granted to Edmund, 1st Earl of Lancaster, and since 1399 has formed the nucleus of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Duchy was administered from the castle, the latter including the county courts, gaol, and lodgings for the Duchy officials. During the Civil War, Parliament ordered that all of the walls should be pulled down, onlt the gatehouse and the buildings in the south and west with towers being retained. The order was only partially carried out because a Parliamentary force successfully with stood a siege in 1648. However, demolition was proceeded with in 1649, except for those buildings necessary for the Courts of Justice and the gaol. Folowing the Restoraton, the justices of the peace petitioned the King to restore the castle, but the cost of £1957 was considered prohibitive. Considerable repairs were made until the responsibility for the upkeep of the castle passed to the expense of the County , and the new courts, prisons and other buildings were built between 1788-1823. (10,11)

The monument is also visible as upstanding structures on air photographs mapped as part of the North West Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey.
(12-13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1931-38 A.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Lancaster, volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 528-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8c
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Oral: Mr Smith 10.12.53 Court Keeper, The Castle, Lancaster.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 246
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Jan-83
Source Number : 10
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 692-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 3 : 1485-1660 (part 1)
Source details :
Page(s) : 260-1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR HSL/UK/67/671 4964 08-SEP-1967
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SD 4761/73 (17108/37) 31-MAR-1998
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Evans R. 1982. The Fabrication of Virtue. English Prison Architecture 1750-1840, 152
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : History of Lancashire (ed 1868) Vol II pp 169, and 554-563. (Baines)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2b
Source : Medieval military architecture in England. Volume 1
Source details :
Page(s) : 123,138,401
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society
Source details : (EW Cox) (Plan)
Page(s) : 95-122
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12 - 1897
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Lancaster Castle (1885) pp 6-7 (Ed. J.L. Milner).
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : "The Castles of England" Vol. 2 (1897) pp 194-196. (Sir J.D. Mackenzie).
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Lancaster, volume 8
Source details :
Page(s) : 05-Aug
Figs. : PLAN
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Official Guide to Lancaster Castle (1944).
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JHO 10-DEC-53
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Mound
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built 1088-90
Monument End Date : 1090
Monument Start Date : 1088
Monument Type : Keep, Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Construction of treadwheel, 1822.
Monument End Date : 1822
Monument Start Date : 1822
Monument Type : Prison, Prison Treadmill
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Additions made between 1845 and 1877.
Monument End Date : 1877
Monument Start Date : 1845
Monument Type : Prison, Cell Block
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built circa 1860.
Monument End Date : 1870
Monument Start Date : 1850
Monument Type : Prison, Cell Block
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built between 1869 and 1870.
Monument End Date : 1870
Monument Start Date : 1869
Monument Type : Prison, Cell Block
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Alterations made between 1872 and 1876.
Monument End Date : 1876
Monument Start Date : 1872
Monument Type : Prison, Cell Block, Chapel
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Closed in 1916.
Monument End Date : 1916
Monument Start Date : 1916
Monument Type : Prison
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Refurbished between 1954 and 1957.
Monument End Date : 1957
Monument Start Date : 1954
Monument Type : Prison
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Re-opens in 1955.
Monument End Date : 1955
Monument Start Date : 1955
Monument Type : Prison
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : built before 1102
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1102
Monument Type : Castle, Court Room, Gaol
Evidence : Extant Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : partly destroyed
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1314
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Largely demolished 1649
Monument End Date : 1649
Monument Start Date : 1649
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Additions made in 1788.
Monument End Date : 1788
Monument Start Date : 1788
Monument Type : Prison, Prison Governors House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Additions made in 1793.
Monument End Date : 1793
Monument Start Date : 1793
Monument Type : Prison, Cell Block
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Additions made in 1798.
Monument End Date : 1798
Monument Start Date : 1798
Monument Type : Prison, Shire Hall, County Court, Debtors Prison
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Additions begun in 1802.
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1802
Monument Type : Prison, Cell Block, Tower
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Construction of penitentiary, 1818-21.
Monument End Date : 1821
Monument Start Date : 1818
Monument Type : Prison, Penitentiary
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 93737
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 383090
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Lancashire)
External Cross Reference Number : PRN448
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Lancashire)
External Cross Reference Number : PRN3349
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 111799
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SD 46 SE 23
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1485180
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SD 46 SE 23
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1953-12-10
End Date : 1953-12-10
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: PRISONS PROJECT
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-01
Associated Activities : Primary, LANCASTER CASTLE/FORMER HOSPITAL OF HM PRISON
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANCASTER CASTLE/HM PRISON
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANCASTER CASTLE, FORECOURT DRAINAGE WORKS.
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANCASTER CASTLE, WITCHES TOWER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANCASTER CASTLE: WITCHES' TOWER
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BARRISTER'S ROBING ROOM, SHIRE HALL, LANCASTER CASTLE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE:NORTH WEST COAST NMP RAPID COASTAL ZONE ASSESSMENT SURVEY
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-11-26
End Date : 2009-05-22
Associated Activities : Primary, LANCASTER CASTLE KEEP
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31