Lancaster Castle

Lancashire Museums, UK

EMu user since 2003


Lancaster CastleLancaster Castle stands on a site first occupied by the Romans. In 1093 the Norman lord Roger de Poitou built a motte and bailey on the site and over the succeeding centuries other structures have been erected to form the magnificent building we see today: the Keep dates from c.1150, the Witches Tower from the 13th Century and the magnificent John O’Gaunt Gateway from the early years of the 15th Century.

Lancaster CastleThis is a building closely associated with the history of crime and its punishment. Some of the people tried in the Assizes held in the castle were to die for their faith or after accusations of witchcraft, while hundreds went to the gallows for a multitude of crimes ranging from murder to forgery. Many more were sentenced to Transportation to Australia. The castle continues to function as a court and prison today.

In 1399 Henry Bolingbroke, the third Duke of Lancaster, deposed his cousin Richard II and took the throne as King Henry IV. Ownership of the castle has remained with the monarchy ever since and all subsequent monarchs have owned the castle and held the title Duke of Lancaster in this right.

Acknowledgements: Lancaster Castle
Photographer (front): Christine Goodier