When the Romans settled in Lancaster they built the Wery wall to protect the fort that stood on the site of Lancaster Castle. This wall ran across the area now occupied by the Judges’ Lodgings. During a recent archaeological dig the remains of a Roman kiln were found in the back garden.
A building has stood on this site for hundreds of years but the house you see today has been significantly altered a number of times during the last 500 years. It is believed that the first building on the site was a wooden structure, which was later rebuilt in stone. The earliest surviving parts of the building date from the 1550s and include the huge stone fireplace that dominates the entrance hall and the ancient beams that can be found in the cellar.
During the 1640s Thomas Covell made significant alterations to the building. This early stone work is characterised by the irregular shape and size of the stones used.
In 1826 when the Duchy bought the house, an extension was built on the side, the back of the house was extended into the courtyard and some of the room layouts were changed to accommodate the visiting Assize Judge’s. The Victorian regular shaped stones contrast greatly with the older more haphazard stones and it is easy to see where one period ends and another begins.
The façade is dominated by the Georgian sash windows which date from around 1680, but the original transom and mullion windows are still evident in the stone work. As you move around the building, glimpses of earlier times are tantalisingly evident. From blocked up windows and doors, now half hidden by the footpath and a door lintel hidden in the stone work with the initials of previous owners still carved into it, this building has an intriguing history with many secrets waiting to be discovered.