Hapton Castle

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House, and also as a Possible Masonry Castle, and also as a Possible Pele Tower

There are masonry footings remains

NameHapton Castle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityLancashire
1974 AuthorityLancashire
Civil ParishHapton

Despite a combination of stone robbing and part infilling of the defensive ditch, the site of Hapton Castle survives reasonably well and remains largely unencumbered by modern development. It will retain buried remains of the medieval castle which is known to have been occupied from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Hapton Castle. It is located on a small plateau immediately to the east of the rocky ravine of Castle Clough and includes a roughly oval flat platform surrounded on two sides by a substantial ditch. The platform measures approximately 40m north-south by 30m east-west and contains a 4m length of the castle's stone walling standing up to five courses high on its south side and another short piece of walling, now turf covered, on its east side. The platform is surrounded on the south and part of the east sides by a dry ditch up to 14m wide and 4m deep. This ditch has been infilled on the north and part of the east sides. On the west side, immediately above the ravine, the monument's defences consist of an earthen bank up to 2m wide by 1m high and an internal ditch c.1m wide. Hapton Castle is thought to have been in existence in 1328 when Gilbert de la Leigh purchased Hapton from John Talbot. It was the seat of the Lords of Hapton until the erection of Hapton Tower c.2.5km to the south east in 1510. The building was still inhabited in 1667 but was in ruins by 1725 and no longer existed in 1800. The castle is thought to have consisted of a stone tower keep and a stout wooden palisade or stone wall enclosing a yard. (Scheduling Report)

"On the verge of the Castle Clough ...

are the small remains of the Castle of Hapton, the seat of its ancient lords; and till the erection of Hapton Tower (SD 82 NW 3), the occasional residence of the Dalaleghs and Townleys" (Whitaker).

The site of Hapton Castle is a simple rectilinear enclosure some 40.0m N-S by 30.0m E-W formed by a substantial dry ditch 14.0m wide and up to 4.0m deep (now partially infilled), and the rock face of a natural gorge. Two fragments of masonry are the only remains on the central area, which probably supported a tower and/or small barmkin (F2 RWE 03-APR-75). (PastScape)

a few bits of masonry, all that remains of Hapton Castle.

This was not so much a castle as a fortified manor house built in 1242.

From the 14th century this was the house of the de-la-hegh family. Later this passed by marriage into the Towneley family.

Later in the 16th century, Sir John Towneley built Hapton Tower on the top of Hambledon Hill. (Ron Freethy 2010)

Gatehouse Comments

The medieval manor was held for a fraction of a knights fee. The castle itself seems to have been small in area and probably little more than a small tower house and timber hall within a walled or fenced enclosure. The VCH notes that the term castle is not used in historic charters. Said to have been succeeded by Hapton Tower although the PastScape records make the two towers of similar dates (although there may be confabulation between the two sites and their scant historical documentation). The source for a construction date of 1242 given by Ron Freethy is unclear to Gatehouse but certainly not unreasonable. An earlier manor house, of unknown form, was probably here rather than the isolated site up Hameldon Hill of Hapton Tower. Hapton Tower may have been a hunting lodge and possibly at times the chief family residence but it would seem likely the administrative and legal functions of the manor court were generally carried out at the castle as this would be more convenient for the township.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSD788314
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Ainsworth, R., 1928_The Old Homesteads of Accrington and District_ (Accrington) p. 387-
  • Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1911, VCH Lancashire Vol. 6 p. 507 online transcription
  • 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. 63-4 online copy