Thurland Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameThurland Castle
Alternative NamesThusland; Thorslond; Fyrrelande
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityLancashire
1974 AuthorityLancashire
Civil ParishCantsfield

The original Thurland Castle built in the 14th century was largely destroyed after the siege of 1643. During the 19th century it was extensively rebuilt and probably incorporates some of the earlier structure (VCH; listing report)

The exterior of the castle appears purely 19th century except for the main door which is earlier, possibly 15th century. What has previously been described as the dungeon is probably part of the former gatehouse (F1 JB 24-FEB-71).

Thurland Castle is located on low ground just north of the confluence of the river Greta with the Lune. This site is perhaps the least likely ... to have supported an earthwork castle. It comprises a circuit of walls and towers, surrounded by a moat and, true to its 14th century origins, it does not posses a freestanding keep. Sir Thomas Tunstall obtained a licence to fortify the site from Henry IV but the building was besieged and at least partially demolished during the Civil War of 1643. The ruins were rebuilt as a country house in 1809 and 1829 but following a large fire was extensively rebuilt in the 1880s. The castle has recently been refurbished and converted into a series of luxury apartments. (Lancashire County Council)

THURLAND CASTLE is situated about half a mile to the west of Cantsfield village and about a quarter of a mile to the south of Tunstall, and stands on a low natural mound completely encircled by a moat about 25 ft. wide filled with water. The site, which is at the foot of the slope of a hill between the River Greeta on the south and the Cant Beck on the north, was originally a defensive one, the castle effectively commanding the whole of its surroundings. The building appears to have been originally erected in the 14th century, and early in the 15th century Sir Thomas Tunstall obtained a licence to crenellate the house

Very little of this building, however, now remains, it having been left in a more or less ruinous state after the siege in 1643, when the interior was burned and a considerable portion of the house destroyed. (VCH 1914)

Gatehouse Comments

The Tunstall's must have had a manor house here before the C14 but Thurland castle appears to be a new foundation within a deer park and the older house may have been the church (at SD614739) or, perhaps, where Tunstall Hall now stands (SD608734). There remains a question as to the reason that Thurland Castle is surronded by a circular moat rather than the more typical (fashionable) square moat. Although the area is generally flat the castle is placed on a slight hillock and the moat may just refelct this topography.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceSD610730
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • 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. 113
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, Index and Amendments to Mike Salter's English Castles Books (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 10
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 38
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 136 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 247
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 263
  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1969, Buildings of England: Lancashire, The rural north (Harmondsworth) p. 249 (important for the character of the masonry)
  • Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1914, VCH Lancashire Vol. 8 p. 235-7 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Gardner, W., 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks:- Lancashire South of the Sands' in Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), VCH Lancashire Vol. 2 p. 551 (plan) 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. 11-12 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 203-5 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 217, 421 online copy


  • 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. 272
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 122 online copy


  • Fishwick, H., 1901, 'The Old Castles of Lancashire.' Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 19 p. 67-8 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry IV (1401-05) Vol. 2 p. 164 online copy