Notes: The motte, which highly visible and topped with a flag-pole, is located on the western edge of Halton in vicinity of the main roundabout. On-road car parking is possible.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
The remains of a motte with some earthwork traces of the bailey. Unfortunately the mound is set on private ground with no public access although it can be viewed from the adjacent roads.
Cote Burn. The castle was built above the Cote Burn near where it intersects with the River Lune. The steep banks afforded the castle good protection on several sides.
Initially raised by Roger de Poitou on land granted to him by William II, Halton Castle (also known as Castle Hill) was one of a number of mote-and-bailey fortifications built along the Lune valley. Attacked and destroyed by a Scottish raid in 1322 it was never rebuilt.
HISTORY OF HALTON CASTLE (CASTLE HILL)
Halton Castle was raised in the late eleventh century possibly by Count Roger de Poitou. In 1092 he had been granted control of a large swathe of territory in Lancashire - predominantly between the Rivers Ribble and Lune - in exchange for his support of William II's conquest of Cumbria in the same year. Configured as a motte-and-bailey structure, the earthwork mound was situated on a natural summit overlooking Cote Beck near its junction with the River Lune. The position was protected on three sides by a steep slope whilst on the north flatter terrain provided sufficient space for the crescent shaped bailey. However, the proximity of higher ground directly beyond this, made the castle vulnerable to an attack by a well equipped force. It is therefore likely that, as with many of the contemporary fortifications raised along the Lune valley, the purpose of this castle was to enable Roger to control (and tax) this fertile agricultural region rather than for defence. Whilst some traces of masonry have been found at the site, suggesting some of the internal buildings of the castle were built in stone, the substantive defences were of timber.
Halton was held by the Gernet family in the twelfth and most of the thirteenth centuries then in the 1290s passed through marriage to William Dacre, later Baron Dacre. However the manor was sacked in 1322 by Robert the Bruce who, following his earlier victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, was regularly raiding Northern England in an attempt to force Edward II to recognise his claim to the Scottish throne. The castle was also badly damaged in this attack and never rebuilt. During the early years of World War II, an observation post was constructed on top of the motte. This was demolished after the war and later a flag pole erected in its place.