Halton Castle – Cheshire
The ruins of Halton Castle stand on a hill overlooking the River Mersey.
The first castle on this site, a motte and bailey construction, was built in 1070, soon after the Norman Conquest, and extended and rebuilt over the following three centuries. During this period the castle served as a relatively minor administrative centre, functioning as court, prison and depository for court records.
During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the castle was held by the Lacy family. In 1311 it passed to Thomas, second Earl of Lancaster, on the death of his father-in-law Henry Lacy. It has formed part of the Lancaster Estates since that time.
In the fifteenth century a gatehouse was constructed. A survey of 1476 mentions a number of buildings, including a great chamber, a withdrawing room, a chapel, a hall and a number of lesser domestic buildings.
During the Civil War, the castle was held for the Crown by Earl Rivers, the Steward of Halton. It fell to two parliamentary sieges in 1643 and 1644. Over the following years it suffered extensive damage and was dismantled on the orders of Cromwell.
After the Restoration of King Charles II the castle was returned to the monarch. In 1738 the gatehouse was replaced by a new courthouse and prison re-using masonry from the gate towers, but by the end of the century this had also begun to deteriorate.
The castle is now leased from the Duchy by Halton Borough Council and managed by The Norton Priory Museum Trust.