Clitheroe Castle

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Clitheroe Castle
Clitheroe Castle.JPG
Clitheroe Castle August 2007
Location Clitheroe, Lancashire
Coordinates 53°52′15″N 2°23′35″W / 53.8709°N 2.3931°W / 53.8709; -2.3931Coordinates: 53°52′15″N 2°23′35″W / 53.8709°N 2.3931°W / 53.8709; -2.3931
OS grid reference SD 742416
Designated 10 April 1915 [1]
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated 19 May 1950 [2]
Reference no. 1071553
Clitheroe Castle is located in the Borough of Ribble Valley
Clitheroe Castle
Location of Clitheroe Castle in the Borough of Ribble Valley

Clitheroe Castle in Clitheroe, Lancashire, England, is a motte-and-bailey castle built on a natural carboniferous limestone outcrop.

It has been suggested that Clitheroe Castle may have been first built before 1086 as there is reference to the "castellatu Rogerii pictaviensis" in the Domesday Book. However, it is likely the passage refers to another castle.[3] One alternative is that it was built around 1186 by Robert de Lacy as an administrative centre for his estates in the area but later passed by inheritance to the Crown. It consists of one of the smallest keeps in the country[nb 1] and at one time it was surrounded by a curtain wall. It was anciently the seat of the Lords of Bowland.

A document from 1304 mentions ditches and moats surrounding the castle, however these have since been filled in.[5]

There is a legend that the Devil threw a boulder from Pendle Hill and hit the castle creating the hole visible in its side today, but this hole was made in 1649 as ordered by the government. It was to be put in "such condition that in might neither be a charge to the Commonwealth to keep it, nor a danger to have it kept against them".[1]

Clitheroe Castle Museum[edit]

Clitheroe Castle Museum can be found in the Steward's House built in the 18th century. It is a museum of local history. The museum underwent a £3.5-million refurbishment, starting in 2007 and open to the public in May 2009.[6] Today the castle is freely open to the public and in the bailey is the Clitheroe Castle Museum, which does have an admission charge.

See also[edit]

Media gallery[edit]


  1. ^ According to Lancashire County Council's website it is the second smallest surviving keep in England.[4]
  • Adams, Paul (2005-6), 'Clitheroe Castle', Castle Studies Group Journal, Vol 19 p179–192
  • Edwards, B. J. N. (1984), "George Vertue’s engraving of Clitheroe Castle", Antiquaries Journal 64: 366–372, doi:10.1017/s0003581500080501 
  • Farrer, William; Brownbill, J. (eds) (1911), "Townships: Clitheroe", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, pp. 360–372 
  • Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1980), The David & Charles Book of Castles, David & Charles, ISBN 0-7153-7976-3
  • Gooderson, P.J. (1980), A History of Lancashire, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-2588-1
  • Harfield, C. G. (1991), "A Hand-list of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book", English Historical Review 106: 371–392, doi:10.1093/ehr/CVI.CCCCXIX.371, JSTOR 573107 
  • Jones, R.O. (1982), Clitheroe Castle
  • Langshaw, A. (1940), A Guide to Clitheroe Castle

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]