District: Ribble Valley
Name : Clitheroe Castle.
Description : Stone castle with the early Norman keep surviving. Museum.
The castle is on top of an isolated crag, rising in the middle of the vale down which the River Ribble runs. The Castle consists of a circular walled keep on the northern and highest part of the crag. Within which stands a tall, square tower. To the south of this and at a lower point of elevation of the slope, lies an oblong bailey. The mound is apparently a natural, semi-circular rock, possibly scraped artificially in places. It is most precipitous on the north and west. The top is truncated and nearly circular, with a diameter of c.80ft and is at least 22ft higher at the north end of the bailey. The mound has a wall on every side except the south where the bailey abuts it. The encircling wall is 12ft from the inside and 6ft thick, built of limestone rubble. On the southern half of the summit area a square tower is built inside the wall. Possibly there was an outer court at a still lower level than the bailey. No fosses are now visible, but they did exist. Castle ditches and moats are mentioned in a document of 1304. The ancient entrance to the castle was on the eastern side and the approach on the west seems to be of more recent origin.
The keep is of limestone rubble with yellow ashlar dressings with wide pilaster buttresses enclosing the angles. Later extensions have been made to those to the east and south. The basement is lit by loops in round headed recesses, one in each wall, except the north east which lay beneath the entrance stair. The entrance is a plain round headed arch near the north end of the north east wall. A smaller door opposite near the west end of the west wall gave access to a bridge to the rubble curtain wall. The first floor rested on an offset, with square headed loops in round headed recesses in the north west and south east walls. The former is flanked by a round headed doorway leading to a barrel vaulted mural chamber in the west angle and a square headed doorway to the spiral staircase in the north angle which rises to the plain upper floor, again set back.
The layout consists of an outer bailey, an inner bailey and the keep with its curtain wall and gatehouse (nothing now remains). This was a square structure of two storeys. A chapel was situated at the south end of the inner bailey, 52ft long and 20ft wide.