Halton Castle is a castle in the small rural village of Halton, which is part of the town of Runcorn in Cheshire, England. Halton Castle is located on the top of Halton Hill, a sandstone prominence overlooking the village of Halton. A motte and bailey castle was built on Halton Hill with construction dating all the way back to 1071. The original castle building was replaced with the current sandstone castle in the 13th century. Halton Castle is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building. The castle is also a scheduled ancient monument.
The History of Halton Castle
The building alterations of Halton Castle continued until at least 1609 when the castle structure is recorded as in disrepair. Halton Castle was the seat of the Barons of Halton from the 11th century until the 14th century and it was then passed over to the Duchy of Lancaster. There is much evidence pointing towards the idea that Halton Hill was a settlement in prehistoric times. In 1207 King John visited and donated £5 towards the upkeep of the chapel at Halton Hill. Edward II visited Halton Castle for three days in November 1323, during the time which he also visited Norton Priory.
During the Tudor period, Halton Castle was primarily used as a prison, administrative centre and a court of law. A new gate tower was also built between 1450-1457. This served as an important part of the castle during the Tudor period. In 1580 – 1581, Halton Castle was designated to be used as a prison for Catholic recusants. According to a survey of the Royal palaces in 1609, Halton Castle had already fallen into disrepair by then.
The Present State of Halton Castle
Halton Castle continues to be owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and is managed by the Norton Priory Museum Trust. It is occasionally opened to the public.