Preston Castle, Lancashire

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are no visible remains

NamePreston Castle, Lancashire
Alternative NamesTulketh
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityLancashire
1974 AuthorityLancashire
Civil ParishPreston

The site of a Motte and Bailey castle, which went out of use by 1123. The mound was levelled in 1855. A circular mound with a basal diameter of about 125ft standing upon the extremity of a projecting cliff at Ashton. A semi-circular ditch detached the nose of the promontory from the mainland, suggesting the crescentic form of bailey. (PastScape)

A circular mound with a basal diameter of about 125 ft stood upon the extremity of a projecting cliff at Ashton, within the grounds of Tulketh

Hall. A semi-circular ditch detached the nose of the promontory from the mainland, suggesting the crescentric form of bailey. These remains existed until 1855 but were later destroyed, and the site is now much excavated and built over. At whatever time the castle was constructed, it would have ceased to be in use for military purposes in 1123. In that year the site was given to thirteen Cistercian monks to settle there. (PastScape ref. VCH)

Stephen Count of Boulogne, afterwards king, in 1123 gave Tulketh to the Abbot of Savigny to found an abbey of his order there; Simeon of Dur. Opera. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 267. The monks resigned it in 1127 on going to Furness. (VCH 1912)

Gatehouse Comments

Tulketh was a fraction of the small manor of Ashton one a several manors in the parish of Preston. It does not seem to have been able to supported a castle or a small monastic foundation so their are real questions as to how a castle came to be founded here in the first place. The VCH does suggest the site had some natural strength and strategic value in controlling the River Ribble (in combination with the castle at Penwortham which is mentioned in Domesday) and certainly this castle would seem likely to have a C11 foundation (unless it represented a strengthening of an existing site). Was the Ribble an early boundary in the Norman conquest of Lancashire and Cumbria (it was certainly a boundary used in Domesday under the latin name of Ripam) and was this motte actually built as a military base rather than as an administrative centre making it a rare example of what was supposedly the 'classic' (i.e. Armitage; Allen Brown) castle story? Whatever the origin with the boundary of England moving north and without an income to support it this small castle became redundant and could readily be given away. This is an important object lesson in castle dating? were it not for the documentary evidence of the foundation of an abbey here in 1123 this site would have probably been given the 'standard' date of The Anarchy (i.e, 1130s-40s)

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSD523300
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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. 112
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 37
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 249
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 282
  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 285, 288
  • Farrer, Wm, and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1912, 'Townships: Lea, Ashton, Ingol and Cottam' VCH Lancashire Vol. 7 p. 129-137n50 online transcription
  • Gardner, W., 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks:- Lancashire South of the Sands' in Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), VCH Lancashire Vol. 2 p. 536-7 online copy
  • Baines, E., 1868-70 (2edn edited and enlarged by John Harland), History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster (London: George Routledge and sons) Vol. 2 p. 437, 630
  • Hardwick, 1857, History of Preston (Preston) p. 117-20
  • Baines, E., 1836, History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster (London: Fisher, Son, and Jackson) Vol. 4 p. 304 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Arnold, T. (ed), 1885, 'Historia regum, A. D. 616-1129' Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia (London: Longman Rolls Series 75) Vol. 2 p. 267


  • Lancashire County Council and Egerton Lea Consultancy, 2006, Lancashire Historic Town Survey Programme: Preston with Walton-le-Dale and Penwortham; Historic Town Assessment Report (Lancashire County Council) online copy