I went to Clitheroe Castle this afternoon. It’s been on my mind since I spent last weekend giving The de Lacy Inheritance a final edit.
There’s been a castle on the site since shortly after the Norman Conquest. The original would have been a timber structure and this stone keep was built around 1187 by Robert de Lacy, so at the time my novel is set it was only a few years old. Much of the story is set in and around the castle and in the photo below you can clearly see that it is built on an outcrop of limestone.
The small keep originally stood within a protective curtain wall with a gatehouse to the eastern side and within the bailey there were other buildings (possibly wooden) including the chapel of St Michael. Sadly no trace of these remain.
There are a couple of stories that account for the hole in the side of the keep. One says that the devil through a rock from Pendle Hill. The other says it was made by Cromwell’s army so that the castle couldn’t be used as a stronghold against them.
The site has recently undergone some redevelopment and now has a new and very interesting museum that has a range of exhibits about the history of the area as well as the castle.