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Halton Castle, Runcorn

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Runcorn.
In the historic county of Cheshire.
Modern Authority of Halton.
1974 county of Cheshire.
Medieval County of Cheshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ53768202
Latitude 53.33302° Longitude -2.69573°

Halton Castle, Runcorn has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The ruined castle remains at Halton which stands on a prominent hill of red sandstone and overlooks the estuary of the River Mersey to the north and east. The first castle on the site was a motte and bailey timber castle built by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, in circa 1070. This was formed by cutting off the highest part of the promontory on the north western side by a ditch 8 metres wide and utilising the natural platform on the rest of the hilltop as a bailey. The castle was occupied by Nigel, the first baron of Halton. In the subsequent three centuries the phases of building and rebuilding in stone are obscured since all rebuilding took place after scraping the previous phase off the bedrock and rebuilding on that foundation. By circa 1250 the curtain wall had been built, together with a square tower on the west side, a round tower at the north end, and stone buildings in a range along the north western side. During this period, from C11 to C13, the ownership passed to the Lacy family, the Lords of Pontefract, who became Dukes of Lancaster in 1311. In C15 a gatehouse was constructed. The castle was used as a prison for Roman Catholic recusants in 1579. It was besieged and captured by Sir William Brereton in 1643 and partly demolished on Cromwells orders in 1644. In 1738 the gatehouse was replaced by a new courthouse and prison and a series of small lock-ups built in the castle interior. Nothing remains of the early timber castle phase of the buildings and the ditch of the early motte site was filled in in C13. The curtain wall only survives as foundations. The stone tower dates from C13 and measures 12m square at the base. Next to this are the foundations of the kitchen range. In circa 1800 the walls of a folly were constructed to the east of the courthouse where they still form a castellated feature. (PastScape)

Halton Castle is situated 325 ft.above sea level in a commanding position and covering a wide prospect in all directions.It is constructed of red sandstone and erected on living rock, in places the rock forming an integral part of the defences. Extant remains consist of a shell keep with internal domestic buildings, curtain walling (including two towers) surrounding the bailey, and an inner gateway. All present crenellations are modern and the whole has been restored at various periods - in some instances entire stretches of wall having been rebuilt. Apart from modern restoration, blocked slit windows and a blocked sally-port - the blocking contemporary with the curtaining - indicate improvements or modifications whilst the castle was still in use as such. Window tracery within the keep and in one of the former wall towers is of the Decorated period - some Perpendicular work is also visible. At no point could indentifiable remains of Norman building be noted. The standing remains are considerable and generally in a good condition, they vary in height from ground level to a max of approx. 8.0m. (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments–F1 FDC 08-JUL-1959)
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This record last updated 02/08/2017 11:22:08

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