OS Grid ref:- SD473619
The Norman castle keep at Clitheroe, which stands on a natural limestone outcrop, has dominated the surrounding landscape for over 800 years. Said to be one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire, and one of the smallest keeps in England, the castle was possibly built by Robert de Lacy circa 1186.
The keep measures around 20 feet square, with walls 10 feet thick, it is three stories high and is now roofless. The keep was once enclosed by a curtain wall, only part of which remains today.
In the middle ages the castle was the seat of the Lords of Bowland, the title dates back to 1092. It was once in the ownership of the Lacy family of Pontefract in Yorkshire. During the fourteenth century the Earl of Lancaster inherited the castle, but following his execution it became part of the crown estates.
During the civil war the keep was deliberately damaged after its capture by Parliamentary forces, repairs were carried out in 1848. After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Charles II gave the property to the first Duke of Albernarle, who had assisted in the Stuart's return to the throne.
Clitheroe Castle Museum, in the shadow of the Castle Keep, has new look galleries which take the visitor on a journey through 350 million years of history, heritage and geology of the local area and features exhibits of finds discovered on the site during excavations. After a huge refurbishment costing £3.5 million, the museum was awarded the 'Best Small Visitor Attraction of the Year' Award 20010/11 by the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board.
The castle is open to the public free of charge, there is a small admission fee for entrance to the museum.
The Clitheroe Castle grounds have many features open to the public. The 16 acres of parkland is home to Lancashire's first Labyrinth, a Community Rose Garden with sculptures and a Creative Activity Area which houses a timeline of plaques.