Carlisle Citadel

Has been described as a Certain Artillery Fort

There are major building remains

NameCarlisle Citadel
Alternative NamesNisi Prius Court; Court House; Assize Court; Crown Court
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishCarlisle

The site is known as the The Citadel which refers to the earlier Henrician artillery fort located on this site. The Citadel was built in 1541-1542 to designs by Stephen von Haschenperg and consisted of a triangular enclosure with massive round towers situated at the angles. The fortress was mostly demolished to make way for the present towers in 1810 and only the lower levels of the eastern tower are original. Prior to the construction of Henry VIII's artillery fort the site was occupied by the Botcher Gate or English Gate (see NY45NW 52). The Citadel was intended to be of independent strength, which made sense given the obsolete state of Carlisle's defences. The Botcher gate was initially walled up, and it appears that a raised floor level was added with two gunports in the former gateway. On its west side, but set slightly back, was a second recangular tower mounting twin gunports. To the east and west of the resulting double tower were built curtain walls to connect with two large, round bulwarks, two storeyed, 60 feet in diameter with 12 foot thick walls. Within these were casemates mounting artillery. It was also fortified on its northern face within the city walls. A half round tower was constructed to house ordnance to command the city. This was attached to the round bulwarks by curtain walls. The construction of the Citadel nessesited the rebuilding of the adjacent walls and the creation of a new gate, the English Gate, in the west wall just north of the Citadel. By 1604 the Citadel was effectively little more than a gaol. (PastScape)

Built on top of the remain of the Citadel are 'two immense oval towers, built in 1810-1811 by Sir Robert Smirke, to a design originally by Thomas Telford. Until recently they served as the civil courts (east tower) and criminal courts (west tower). The towers are constructed in red sandstone ashlar with a partly machicolated cornice and battlemented parapets

The towers have recently undergone major restoration.' (PastScape)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY402556
Latitude54.8917007446289
Longitude-2.93356990814209
Eastings340250
Northings555660
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Summerson, H., 2011, ‘The defences of medieval Carlisle’, in M. Brennand and K. J. Stringer (eds), The making of Carlisle: from Roman to railways, 85-102 (Kendal: CWAAS extra series 35)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 36
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 72-3 (plan)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 38
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1982, The history of the King's Works, Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) (London) p. 670-1
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 62-3
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth) p. 101
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 115-7
  • Jefferson, S., 1838, History and Antiquities of Carlisle p. 277-9 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Hughes, J., 1970, 'The building of the Courts, Carlisle, 1807-1822' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 70 p. 205-20 online copy
  • Oliver, G.D., 1916, 'The Citadel, Carlisle' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 16 p. 91-6 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Green, M.A.E.(ed), 1872, Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Elizabeth, Addenda 1580-1625 p. 17-18 no. 44 (Reference for for Dacre's 1580 survey of the West March) online copy