Notes: Found to the immediate West of the village on the A687. Onroad parking is possible nearby.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
The impressive remains of a motte including earthworks that mark the original line of the parapet that topped the mound. The outline of the bailey can also be seen.
NO OFFICIAL SITE
1. The site of the Norman motte might have originally been a Roman signalling station along the line of the Lancaster/Bainbridge Roman Road.
Burton-in-Lonsdale Castle was built in the manor of Whittington on land formerly owned by Tostig, Earl of Northumberland. Seized by William I after the Norman Conquest, it was later granted to the powerful Mowbray family who used it to administer their extensive Yorkshire and Lancashire estates.
HISTORY OF BURTON-IN-LONSDALE CASTLE (CASTLE HILL)
Situated on the banks of the River Greta, Burton-in-Lonsdale formed part of the Manor of Whittington. Prior to the Norman Conquest it was owned by Tostig, Earl of Northumberland and brother to King Harold II. However, the death of Tostig at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (1066) and the subsequent overthrown of the Anglo-Saxon rulers by William I, saw the lands confiscated by the new King. At some point after 1086 it was granted to Nigel de Abigni who had served in William's army and later would be steward to William II. When Nigel died in 1129 his son, Roger, took his mother's surname - de Mowbray - founding that powerful medieval family.
It is not precisely clear who built Burton-in-Lonsdale Castle. It may well have been agents for William I during his ownership or perhaps it was Nigel or his son. Either way the castle was erected in either the late eleventh or early twelfth century perhaps to augment the chain of castles the Normans had constructed along the Lune valley. Initially a ringwork defence - which consisted of a fortified enclosure within an outer bailey - it was latter upgraded to a motte-and-bailey structure. Aside from the earthworks the defences of the castle were of timber construction but the interior was well developed; archaeological examination in the early twentieth century confirmed the interior of the castle - including the motte, bailey and even the ditches, had all been paved. Today the mound remains a particularly fine example of a Norman defensive work.
The history of the castle itself is sketchy. The Pipe Rolls of 1130 record a garrison consisting of a Knight, 10 sergeants, a porter and a night watchman as "Burtona de Lanesdala". Although the manor briefly passed into the hands of William de Lancaster in the mid twelfth century, the Mowbray family soon regained control and kept it as one of their core estates. Burton Castle was used as a centre of administration for their surrounding lands which included large swathes of North West Yorkshire and Lancashire.
After the Battle of Bosworth (1485) the manor of Burton-in-Lonsdale was granted by Henry VII to Sir Edward Stanley - the son of Lord Stanley that had played such a critical role in the King's victory. However by this time the castle itself had been abandoned having went out of used at some point between 1322-69.