1. William Parker, Baron Monteagle owned Hornby Castle in the early seventeenth century. He became famous when warned of the Gunpowder Plot to kill King James I (VI of Scotland) by an anonymous letter. He alerted the authorities leading to the foiling of the assassination attempt.
2. Colonel Francis Charteris was the owner of Hornby Castle in the early eighteenth century. He was convicted of raping one of his servants, Anne Bond, and sentenced to death. But on 10 April 1730 George II granted him a Royal pardon and also returned his estates.
Postcode: LA2 8JT
Lat/Long: 54.110494N 2.636131W
Notes: The entrance to the castle (and the bridge) are found on Main Street that runs through Hornby. There is a small public car park next to the bridge.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
The castle is a private residence with no routine access although the gardens are opened to the public on a couple of occasions per year. The castle itself can be viewed from a distance from the main bridge over the River Wenning.
Replacing an earlier motte-and-bailey fortification, Hornby Castle was built as a Lordly residence for its owners. Originally the property of the Neville family, it later passed to the Stanleys and then to the Parkers who held it for the King during the Civil War. It was later heavily modified and ‘restored’ in a Gothic style.
HISTORY OF HORNBY CASTLE
Hornby Castle was built as a direct replacement for nearby Castle Stede but, like that earlier fortification, the chronology of its construction is not fully known. The manor was originally owned by the Montbegon family before passing to Henry de Monewdon who sold it to the powerful Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent. It remained with his heirs for two generations but then passed through marriage first to the Lungvillier family and then to the Nevilles. It was probably the latter who built the castle here at Hornby.
Situated on the summit of a hill overlooking the River Wenning (around one mile from its confluence with the Lune), the original medieval layout seems to have been a quadrangular arrangement with rounder corner towers and additional wards extending down the hill towards the village where the modern entrance to the castle's grounds can be found.
Hornby passed through marriage to Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby in 1457. These were turbulent times for the aristocracy of England as factional fighting of the Wars of the Roses led to the downfall of prominent families. The Stanley’s navigated through these troubled waters being favoured by both Yorkist and Lancastrian monarchs. Thomas Stanley's marriage to Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor, and subsequent action (for Henry) at the Battle of Bosworth Field (1485) cemented his fortunes. Under the new regime his son, Sir Edward Stanley, assumed the role of High Sheriff of Lancashire and this perhaps prompted major building work at Hornby; the central Keep dates from this period. Edward went on to play a key role in command of the Rearguard at the Battle of Flodden (1513) whilst his son would be key in suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace; the 1536 rebellion against Henry VIII. Thomas Stanley died without a male heir and the castle passed through marriage to William Parker, Baron Monteagle.
At the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, Hornby Castle was owned by Henry Parker, Baron Monteagle. He was an ardent Royalist and this prompted an attack on the castle in 1643 by General Ralph Assheton, Commander of Parliamentary forces in Lancashire. It was recovered by the Royalists and was later occupied by Scottish forces in July 1648 under James Hamilton, Duke of Hamilton who had swept into Northern England in support of Charles I. Defeated at the Battle of Preston in August, Hornby Castle was returned to the Parkers but the war had ruined them and the then owner – Thomas Parker - sold the site to Robert Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan in 1663.
In the subsequent century the castle went through various owners eventually coming into the hands of the infamous Colonel Francis Charteris who made extensive modifications in the first half of the eighteenth century including demolition of the medieval towers and construction of new residential quarters. Charteris briefly forfeited the castle after his conviction for rape in February 1730 but his estates were restored after a special plea to George II. Further upgrades were made to Hornby in the mid nineteenth century when the structure was revamped in a Gothic style. It remains a private residence to this day.