Hornby Castle

Hornby Castle

Hornby Castle

Where is it – England, North West England

Who looks after it –  Private - not open to the public 

What is it –  Castle or Fort, Garden 

When is it from – Victorian

Hornby Castle was built, probably by the powerful Neville family in the 13th century, to replace nearby Castle Stede. Situated amidst trees on a hill overlooking the River Wenning, Hornby Castle makes quite an impression when approaching the village from Lancaster. The estate passed through marriage to Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby in 1457. Stanley married Lady Margaret Beaufort and it was his decision to switch sides at the Battle of Bosworth in 1483 that was decisive in securing the throne for Margaret’s son, Henry VII. Stanley’s son Edward played a significant role at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, built the octagonal church tower in the village and carried out various improvements to the castle. James I (VI of Scotland) is said to have stayed at Hornby. At the time of the English Civil War in the 1640s, Hornby Castle was owned by Henry Parker, a Royalist, and the castle was taken by Parliamentary forces, then retaken. By the 18th century, the castle was owned by a Colonel Francis Charteris, who knocked down part of the medieval buildings and constructed a new residence. There is a suggestion that this Colonel Charteris was nicknamed ‘The Rape-Master General’, a singularly unpleasant character who worked hard to achieve his nick-name. He eventually sold it to John Marsden, known as ‘Silly Marsden’ of Wennington Hall, who was possibly mentally impaired. Further changes took place for various owners in the 19th century and the result is the Victorian Gothic structure seen today. At one time, the Hornby Castle Estate had major interests in local coal mines, which had been in use since at least the 16th century.

Although a private home, and therefore not open to the public, Hornby Castle does offer AirBnB accommodation and its gardens are open a couple of times a year. There is another Hornby Castle near Bedale in North Yorkshire.



Hornby, Lancashire LA2 8LA 

Scroll to Top