Lancashire Life|August 2020
Some are imposing landmarks, others now ruins and some not even that, but they all played a role in the county’s story
Stephen Roberts



There may have been earlier, 14th-century origins, but ‘licence to crenellate’ (build a castle) was granted at Bury in the 1460s, during the Wars of the Roses, with the fortress erected by Sir Thomas Pilkington. Lord Stanley, one of the anti-heroes of the Battle of Bosworth, then acquired it. Stanley’s tacit support for Henry Tudor at that engagement was a major factor in the Yorkist king, Richard III, losing his throne and life. The essence of Bury Castle was pretty much lost meanwhile with an armoury, then drill hall, built on the site. It was not until the Victorian era that workmen discovered the castle (1865) and the excavated and restored site (late-20th century) is now part of Castle Square.


This castle, first mentioned in 1102, early in the reign of Henry I, still has its modest keep atop Castle Hill and part of a wall. Roger de Poitou, who built Clitheroe Castle, was the son of one of William the Conqueror’s commanders at Hastings. Later, the castle passed to the de Lacy family, with the heiress Alice marrying the Plantagenet Thomas, second Earl of Lancaster, who rebelled against Edward II and was attainted and executed, his castle at Clitheroe becoming a part of the Duchy of Lancaster. The keep is the second-smallest surviving stone keep in England. Clitheroe Castle Museum is here too.


Situated near Garstang, Greenhalgh was built by the same Lord Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, who stood aside at Bosworth. Built-in 1490, it was a relatively late castle. He oversaw the construction of a rectangular building with four towers, but this was ruined by the Parliamentarians following its surrender during the English Civil War of the 17th century. A part of one tower remains today, in a picturesque setting by the Catholic church, with a lot of the other stone having been pilfered by local farms. The castle is on private land and cannot be visited but the remains are clearly visible from the nearby road and there is also an information board.



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August 2020