Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster

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Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster
Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster - geograph.org.uk - 895914.jpg
Entrance front of the Judges' Lodgings
Location Castle Street, Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Coordinates Coordinates: 54°03′01″N 2°48′13″W / 54.0502°N 2.8036°W / 54.0502; -2.8036
Restored by SD 475 619
Architectural style(s) Georgian
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated 22 December 1953
Reference No. 1298414
Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster is located in Lancaster city centre
Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster
Location in Lancaster

The Judges' Lodgings, formerly a town house and now a museum, is located in Castle Street, Lancaster, Lancashire, England. It is designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.[1] The building is the oldest existing town house in Lancaster, and was also the first house in Lancaster to have shutters.[2]


Previous buildings[edit]

There is evidence that older buildings have stood on the site. The remains of a Roman kiln were discovered in the garden. It is likely that the first house on the site was built in wood, and later replaced in stone. It is possible the house built in 1314 for Robert de Holland was on this site.[3] The oldest fabric in the present house dates from the 1550s.[4]

Current building[edit]

The building was constructed around 1625, re-using structural timbers and possibly on an earlier foundation.[1] By 1639 the house was owned by Thomas Covell, Mayor of Lancaster, and Keeper of Lancaster Castle. That building has been called the "Old Hall" of Lancaster.[2] For many years the house was used as lodgings by visiting judges attending the Assizes court at Lancaster Castle.[4] There is evidence that the house was used for this purpose as early as 1635.

Lancaster was severely damaged by Royalist forces in 1643 during the Civil War.[5] Around 1662 the property was bought by Thomas Cole, Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire.[2] The building was extended and altered in 1675, and the new building was called "New Hall".[1][2]

The house was sold in 1826 to the county magistrates.[5] Following this an extension was added to the side of the building, and other alterations were made.[4] Use of the house by visiting judges ended in 1975,[6] and the building was converted into a museum.[5] This includes a Museum of Childhood, and a collection of furniture made by the Lancaster firm of Gillows.[7]


The building is constructed in sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings and slate roofs. It has a U-shaped plan.[5] The entrance front faces west, is symmetrical, has three storeys and a basement, and is in seven bays.[1] The architectural style is Georgian.[4] The doorcase has Tuscan columns supporting blocks carved with lions' heads, a triglyph frieze containing flowers, and an open segmental pediment containing a painting of the arms of Lancashire.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d English Heritage. "The Judges' Lodgings, attached foregate, steps, gatepiers, gates and railings (1298414)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Cross Fleury (1891). Time-Honoured Lancaster.  p.436
  3. ^ "The parish of Lancaster (in Lonsdale hundred) - General history and castle". British History Online. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Judges Lodgings: Architecture, Lancashire Museums, retrieved 8 November 2011 
  5. ^ a b c d e Hartwell, Clare; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2009) [1969], Lancashire: North, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 383–384, ISBN 978-0-300-12667-9 
  6. ^ Judges Lodgings, Lancashire Museums, retrieved 8 November 2011 
  7. ^ Judges Lodgings: Collections, Lancashire Museums, retrieved 8 November 2011 

External links[edit]