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Lancaster Castler


Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle dominates the skyline of the region, and rightly so. As one of the nation's largest prison citadels, the castle was the embodiment of sovereign law and power throughout the middle ages. Experience the gruesome history of crime and punishment in Britain (almost) first-hand.

Castle Castle

The evolution of justice

Much like the castle itself, justice in England took many years to come to maturity. In the darker days of the country's youth, the legal system was brutal, biased, and oh so eager to exercise its will upon the populace. It was also a source of endless fascination for the people, and visits to Lancaster's public assizes became a treasured national pastime.

As you explore the freezing cells and hollow corridors of this Royal fortress, you'll be privy to a unique perspective on the history of justice - a perfect cross-section of the evolution of law throughout the ages. Join John Higgin Senior - the prison governor - and lend him your ear as he unravels the unfortunate tales of the men and women caught in the iron grasp of the law.



Noose Rack

A discovery of witches

For centuries, the Duchy of Lancaster and its castle have remained the exclusive property of the crown. Its Royal heritage dates back to 1267 when Henry III gifted his son Edmund the 'county, honor, and castle of Lancaster'.

However, despite its prestigious history, there is another story for which the castle is more famous - the tragic and infamous tale of the mysterious Pendle Witches.

In the early 17th century, King James passed an act that deemed all acts of witchcraft punishable by death. This law was used by courts to rush through spurious trials that would bring in huge crowds. Many fell victim to these trials, and in 1612 nine men and women were hanged on dubious charges of witchcraft.

Explore the dark tale of the Pendle Witches from within the very walls that watched it unfold.




About your visit

The app

Meet William Shakespeare, the Venerable Bede, Sir Joseph Banks, and a cast of colourful figures ready to take you on a journey through the annals of history. Along the way, you'll discover some of England's tallest tales, horrifying histories, magical myths, and larger-than-life legends.

All these stories and more will give you unique insight into the history of England's most stunning heritage sites. Simply download the English Historic Cities app now and take it with you to one of our 12 essential locations around the UK.

Useful info

Castle Park

Opening hours: 10am – 5pm daily

01524 64998