Halton Castle

Location: Halton, Cheshire


Description of Halton Castle

Halton Castle is a medieval citadel near a town of Halton, Cheshire in England. It was constructed in the 11th century by Nigel of Cotentin who constructed first motte and bailey castle here. Halton castle is located at the top of the hill called Halton Hill, a sandstone prominence from which the town can be seen. It is classified as Grade I (Grade I) in the list of buildings in the United Kingdom and qualified as a protected old building (planned monument). It was the residence of the Barons of Halton from the XI century until the XIV, when it passed to the Duchy of Lancaster, it was besieged twice during the English Civil War, so its structure deteriorated.


In the 18th century, a new courthouse was built on the site of the former guard house. Halton Castle is in ruins except for the courthouse, which has been converted into a pub. The first floor is used as an establishment and the basements are used as a pub cellar. The walls of the castle are in ruinous condition but the circumference is intact and it is possible to make a detour on the outside. From its prominent position you can see sweeping views in all directions, including Lancashire, Cheshire, the Pennines, the hills of the Peak District National Park and the mountains of North Wales.



Although there is no evidence in this regard, it is believed that Halton Hill was already inhabited in prehistoric times. After the Norman conquest of England , Hugh d'Avranches , Earl of Chester , established the barony of Halton. The first baron that is recorded is Nigel de Cotentin and it is almost certain that it was he who built a wooden castle on the speck, although the excavations carried out between 1986 and 1987 found no evidence of any feudal speck or a tower or wooden palisade . Most likely, during the 12th century the wooden structure was replaced by a castle made with local sandstone although there is no documentary evidence of these remains. The construction details are vague, but it has been suggested that John of Gaunt, the 14th baron, made reforms in the castle, but not on this has been confirmed by documentary evidence. 9 When the 15th baron, Henry Bolingbroke, ascended the throne as Henry IV of England , the castle became part of the properties of the Duchy of Lancaster .

The first documented tests on works carried out in Halton Castle show that during the 15th and 16th centuries , maintenance works were regularly carried out in the castle. Between 1450 and 1457 a new door was built. There is no evidence that the castle was involved in the Two Roses War , perhaps due to its poorly known position. However, an inspection of the Royal Palaces in 1609 suggests that at that time the castle was in poor condition. During the Tudor periodThe castle became less used as a fortress and more as a prison, administrative center and courthouse. In 1580 - 81 , the castle was designated as a prison for Catholics recusantes , but there is no evidence that it was ever used for this purpose.

Real visits
There is little evidence of visits by relevant personalities to the castle, although it is believed that in 1207 King John I of England visited the castle and donated five pounds for the maintenance of the chapel. It is certain that Edward II of England visited the castle and remained there for three days in November 1323 , at which time he also visited the Priory of Norton .

Civil War
When the English civil war broke out, the castle had a garrison of monarchists under the command of Captain Walter Primrose, who had been appointed by the Earl of Rivers . The castle was besieged by parliamentary forces under Sir William Brereton in 1643 and the royalists finally surrendered after a few weeks. Upon hearing of the arrival of superior monarchist forces commanded by Ruperto del Rhine , the parliamentarians left the castle, which passed again at the hands of the monarchists at the orders of Colonel Fenwick.

In 1644 there was a second siege but, after the monarchists had less luck elsewhere, they decided to leave Halton and the castle was occupied again by the parliamentarians under William Brereton. In 1646 , a war council was held in Warrington , where it was decided that the defenses of the castles of Halton and Beeston should be dismantled, after which Halton Castle ceased to perform military functions. Around 1650 the castle was in a "very dilapidated" state.

The castle continued to deteriorate although the guard's house continued to be used as a courthouse. In 1728 , George Cholmondeley , second count of Cholmondeley leased the crown to the castle. In 1737 a courthouse was built in the place occupied by the guardian's house in the Middle Ages . Henry Sephton, an architect and builder from Liverpool, and John Orme, Carpenter of Prescot, were appointed to do the job . The courtroom was on the first floor, while the prisoners remained in the basement About 1792 , the courthouse was in ruins and funds were found for repair, although the origin of these funds is unclear. The court continued to function on site until 1908 .

Around 1800 three crazy walls were added to the walls that were in ruins in the eastern part of the castle so that the view from Norton Priory was more impressive, where Sir Richard Brooke lived. One of these walls was demolished about 1906 . During the Victorian era, a sunken garden and two pictures of grass were built on the castle grounds. In 1977 the castle was leased to the Halton Borough Council, and the enclosure of the castle was excavated in 1986 - 87 .