Liverpool Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are no visible remains

NameLiverpool Castle
Alternative NamesLeverepul
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityLiverpool
1974 AuthorityMerseyside
Civil ParishLiverpool

Liverpool Castle is first mentioned in 1347 among the estates of the honour of Lancaster as being moated with four towers. During the Civil War it was occupied by the Royalists in 1643, and in 1659 Parliament ordered it to be demolished. But only the gatehouse and part of the walls were pulled down. In 1725 the castle was completely demolished for the construction of St George's Church, which has since been demolished (Fishwick 1901).

In 1927 during the excavations for a public convenience in Derby Square NW of the Queen Victoria Memorial, the west moat was found.

The north moat was found during the excavations for the now (1928) Midland and National Provincial Banks. Some twenty feet from the SW corner of the latter Bank a subterranean tunnel running in a southerly direction below James Street was found. It is probable that the tunnel connected the moat or ditch with the old tower or some defences on the shore. A sewer has now been constructed along the tunnel (Larkin 1927).

A castle was built at Liverpool early in the reign of Henry III, probably by William de Ferrers. It became a Lancastrian possession and thence a royal castle in 1399. There are references to a gateway, curtain wall, chapel and interval tower or angle tower in the 15th century (HKW). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Cox's article of 1892 is elderly and has some esoteric content that needs to be read with circumspection but is a thorough examination of primary sources, antiquarian descriptions and archaeological remains. A replica of the ruins of this castle, based on Cox's conjectures was started to be built at Rivington (see Air Photo in 1912 but never finished. The patent letter of Henry III given to William Ferrers in 1235 was not a licence to crenellate or fortify his castle (The term licentia does not occur in the text). It was a royal request to the local population to support (faciant rationabile auxilium) Ferrers in strengthen his (?already existing) castle.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ342902
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  • Grimsditch, Brian, Nevell, Michael and Nevell, Richard, 2012, Buckton Castle and the Castles of the North West England (University of Salford Archaeological Monograph 2) p. 103-4
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  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books) p. 32-34
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  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1911, 'Liverpool: The castle and development of the town' VCH Lancashire Vol. 4 p. 4-8 online transcription
  • Hand, C.R., 1910, Notes respecting the Annals of Liverpool Castle (Liverpool: Howell) p. 6-31
  • Touzeau,J., 1910, 'The Castle of Liverpool' in The Rise and Progress of Liverpool (The Liverpool Booksellers Co) Vol. 1 p. 221- , 349-358
  • Hand, C.R., 1909, Liverpool Castle and its Builders
  • Gardner, W., 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks:- Lancashire South of the Sands' in Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), VCH Lancashire Vol. 2 p. 551 (slight) online copy
  • Fishwick, 1907, 'Castles and Fortified Houses' in Fishwick and P.H. Ditchfield (eds), Memorials of Old Lancashire (London: Bemrose and sons) Vol. 2 p. 15-17 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 198-9 online copy
  • Gregson, 1824, Portfolio of Fragments Relative to the History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Lancaster (Liverpool) p. 169-70


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 268
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 40 online copy


  • Nevell, Richard, 2012-13, 'Castle gatehouses in North West England' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 26 p. 258-81 online copy
  • Guy, Neil, 2005, 'Liverpool Castle' Castle Studies Group Bulletin Vol. 18 p. 188-201
  • Davey,P.J. and McNeil, R., 1980-81, 'Excavations in South Castle Street, Liverpool 1976 and 1977' Journal of the Merseyside Archaeological Society Vol. 4 (whole issue)
  • Sale, R.M., 1977-8, 'Liverpool, Merseyside' CBA Newsletter and Calendar 1 p. 112
  • Davey, P.J., 1977, 'South Castle Street 1976: Interim Report' Journal of the Merseyside Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 13-15
  • Charwell, B., 1928, 'Liverpool Castle' Liverpool Diocesan Review Vol. 3 p. 363-366
  • Larkin, F.C.,1927, 'Excavations on the Site of Liverpool Castle, 1927' Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire Vol. 79 p. 175-199
  • Hand, C.R., 1918, 'Liverpool Castle 1235' Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire Vol. 70 p. 139 online copy
  • Gladstone, R., 1907, 'A report on Liverpool castle 2nd October 1559' Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire Vol. 59 p. 162-4
  • Fishwick, H., 1901, 'The Old Castles of Lancashire.' Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 19 p. 61-3 online copy
  • Cox, E.W., 1892, 'An Attempt to Recover the Plans of the Castle of Liverpool from Authentic records; Considered in Connection with Medieval Principles of Defence and Construction' Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire Vol. 42 p. 195-254 (map, plans, diag) online copy

Primary Sources