Castle Stede

Castle Stede, motte and bailey castle near Hornby, Lancashire

Castle Stede

Where is it – England, North West England

Who looks after it –  Unknown 

What is it –  Castle or Fort, Free access 

When is it from – Norman

Castle Stede near Hornby (Hornebi at the time of Domesday was owned by Tostig, brother of King Harold) was a substantial motte and bailey fortress, dated as late 11th century by Historic England.  However, some suggest this was constructed on the site of an earlier Iron Age fort or settlement.  Stede probably means ‘place’ or ‘enclosed place’ in Old English.  There is no certainty over who built it, despite claims on several websites that the builder was a Roger de Montbegon.  However, there is evidence to suggest that the castle was in use in 1205, when it was taken from Roger de Montbegon (1165-1226) by King John and returned a mere three months later.

It is one of several motte and bailey castles along the Lune Valley, probably constructed by the Normans post-Conquest.  Others include Halton, Melling, Arkholme, Whittington, Kirkby Lonsdale and Burton in Lonsdale.  Historic England says Castle Stede is “the best example of a motte and bailey castle in Lancashire.”  It is certainly a sophisticated looking earth structure, clearly visible for what it is.  All that remains above ground, though, are extensive earthworks – the oval-shaped bailey and the tree-covered mound of the motte. However, the strategic importance of the site, overlooking the Loyn Bridge crossing over the Lune, is illustrated by the presence of a WW2 pillbox close to a modern stone causeway leading into the bailey area.

In the later 13th century, Castle Stede passed into the hands of the powerful Nevilles, who built a new castle at Hornby and allowed Castle Stede to decay. There is limited parking west of Loyn Bridge, and access into the field on the opposite bank where the bailey is, but the tree-covered motte is fenced off.

There is no post code for Castle Stede. From Hornby, head north toward Gressingham and you will see the remains and the pillbox on your right, just before Loyn Bridge.



Fleet Lane, Hornby, Lancashire LA2 8LH 

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