Sunday 6 October 2013

Lancaster Castle or Her Majesty's Prison

Lancaster Castle is located on a height in the historically important town of Lancaster over-lording the town.

Lancaster Castle or Her Majesty's Prison

Lancaster castle was built on the site of three consecutive Roman forts. It consists of an extensive group of historic structures including the 12th C Keep, the 14th C Witches Tower, the 15th C Gatehouse and the Female Penitentiary which dates from the early years of 19th C. It is a Grade I listed building with the area to the north of it designated as Scheduled National Monument.

The Witches Dungeon

The Well Tower, also known as the Witches Tower was built in 1325 and has three vaulted stone flagged underground dungeons that housed the Lancashire witches (as per the tradition) prior to their trial in the castle in 1612. The Pendle witches, accused of witchcraft were tried here. In fact Lancaster University has one of its colleges named as Pendle College.

The Gatehouse of the Lancaster Castle

After Henry IV's accession the twin towered Gatehouse were constructed in the 15th C. It has two semi octagonal towers which rise 20 meters high above their sloping plinths.

The 10-sided Shire Hall of Lancaster Castle

The Shire Hall is a splendid 10 sided room giving the public an easy access to the courtroom. From the 18th C the castle was substantially modified to use as a court and prison. Though the courts are still functional the prison was closed in 2011.

Towers & Spires of the Lancaster Castle

The 12th C Keep which is also known as the Lungess Tower is 20 meters high with the outer walls almost 3 meters thick! Compare this with our modern houses which have walls barely a feet in thickness!

View of Lancaster and Ashton Memorial from the Castle

Lancaster Castle is the property of Her Majesty the Queen in right of her Duchy of Lancaster. One gets a view of the town as well as the Ashton Memorial known as the Taj Mahal of the North from the ramparts of the castle.

The castle is opened to the public from 10 AM to 5 PM with guided tours available. There is also a restaurant and souvenir shop. One can take a round outside also on the Castle Park. The entry fee is 8 GBP and the castle is walk-able distance from both the train and the coach/bus station.

Also read: Ashton Memorial - The Taj Mahal of the North

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