- Lancaster Castle
Infobox HM Prison
name = HMP Lancaster Castle
size = 200px
type = Adult Male/Category C
figures = 238 (August 2008)
governor = Peter Francis
prisonid = 311
Lancaster Castle is a
castleand a prisonin Lancaster, Lancashire, England. (gbmapping|SD473620)
Its origins lie in Roman times. The castle and priory were founded by
Roger of Poitouat the end of the eleventh century, with part of the Norman keepsurviving to this day. The most substantial medieval remnant was largely the result of rebuilding during the fourteenth century, during the time of John of Gaunt, leading to the castle also being known as John O'Gaunt's castle.
During the 12th century the castle was supposed to have been occupied temporarily by the Scots under David I. The Scots possession of the castle may be the reasoning for its conversion from a
motte and baileycastle into one of a stone keepduring the occupation, an attempt to strengthen the Scots' claims to lands above the river Ribble.
The castle has been a prison since at least
1196and is now partly open to the public. The notorious Pendle Witchestrial took place here, in the time of Thomas Covell, the Governor of the Castle and Prison. The castle survived an attack by Robert Bruce and more than one royalist attack during the English civil war.
The Shire Hall, which was built in 1802 to a design by Thomas Harrison, has displays of heraldic shields, and the Grand Jury room has a collection of Gillow furniture. There is also a
Crown Courtand some medieval dungeons.
United States, the Lancaster County Prisonin Lancaster, Pennsylvaniawas built as an almost exact replica of Lancaster Castle.
Local residents of Lancaster have questioned the continued use of the castle as an HM Prison, on the grounds that this denies access to Lancashire's foremost ancient monument. Access to the keep, towers, battlements and dungeons is currently denied to visitors.The castle does host and organise events for the public. Function Factory Theatre [http://www.functionfactorytheatre.co.uk] appear there regularly to perform their play "Cold Light Singing" which is based on the true story of the Pendle Witches.
Due to the unique situation of having a prison and courthouse in the same building, it has been hosted for cases where there was a perceived risk of the prisoners being sprung on the journey from court to prison, for example the
The Castle was also the site of the most public hanging outside London.Fact|date=December 2007
Castles in England
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