Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle, built partly on a Roman fort

Lancaster Castle

Where is it – England, North West England

Who looks after it –  Duchy of Lancaster 

What is it –  Castle or Fort 

When is it from – Medieval

Lancaster Castle has a brooding presence in the city, where it has been used as a prison since the 12th century.  In fact, it continued to be a prison until 2011 and is still used as a court.  Its association with crime and punishment is notorious – this was the scene of the famous 17th century Lancashire Witch trials, and numerous sentences of death and transportation (Lancaster became known as a hanging town).  The last execution at Lancaster Castle took place in 1910. The trial of the Birmingham Six took place at Lancaster in 1975.  The origins of the castle are a little uncertain.  Recorded as Loncastre in the Domesday survey of 1086, the pre-conquest settlement had been owned by Tostig, exiled brother of King Harold.  The current castle dates from 1150, but is thought to have been founded by Count Roger de Poitou, who held lands in Lancaster from 1092 until 1102, when he rebelled against the King.  It stands partly on the site of a Roman fort built overlooking the river Lune in the 1st century AD.  The later medieval castle may have started life as a simple motte and bailey fortress similar to others in the Lune Valley.  Unlike them, however, Lancaster Castle has been at the centre of English history for about 1,000 years. The castle buildings are owned by the British sovereign as Duke of Lancaster and, since the closure of the prison, have been undergoing refurbishment as a visitor attraction, operated by the Duchy of Lancaster.



Castle Parade, Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 1YJ 

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