Towneley Castle Hill

Has been described as a Rejected Timber Castle (Motte)

There are uncertain remains

NameTowneley Castle Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityLancashire
1974 AuthorityLancashire
Civil ParishBurnley

Round knoll with indications of ditches south of the hall. (Gibson)

The original site of Townley appears to have been a tall and shapely knoll, southward from the present mansion, still denominated the Castle Hill, and immediately adjoining to the farm called Old House, on the eastern and precipitous side of which are the obscure remains of trenches, which on the three more accessible quarters have been demolished by the plough. Here therefore, in very early times, and far beyond any written memorials, was the Villa de Tunlay, the residence, unquestionably, of one of those independent lords before the Conquest who presided over every village and held immediately of the Crown. When this elevated situation was abandoned it is impossible to ascertain from written evidence or tradition; but the present house may in part at least lay claim to high antiquity. (Whittaker)

Gatehouse Comments

Not a manorial centre, has been cut into by railway. Also reputedly a site of a hunting lodge. In landscaped parkland. Whittaker may have been mislead by C19 received wisdom and the 'castle' place-name , the nature of the 'obscure remains of trenches' is open to question and while defensive ditches can not be entirely excluded other features, such as drainage ditches or even lynchets may be more likely. Can be rejected as a castle site. Was this, at one time, surmounted by a castellated folly? Is this just a hill within the demense of the castle, in this case Towneley Hall.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSD853305
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  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Whittaker, T.D., 1876 (4edn revised and enlarged by J. G. Nichols and Ponsonby Lyons), An History of the Original Parish of Whalley, and Honor of Clitheroe Vol. 2 p. 186 online copy