Hapton Castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013816

Date first listed: 07-Feb-1979

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Hapton Castle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Burnley (District Authority)

Parish: Hapton

National Grid Reference: SD 78838 31479


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A tower keep castle is a strongly fortified residence in which the keep is the principal defensive feature. The keep may be free-standing or surrounded by a defensive enclosure; they are normally square in shape, although other shapes are known. Internally they have several floors providing accommodation of various types. If the keep has an attached enclosure this will normally be defined by a defensive wall, frequently with an external ditch. Access into the enclosure was provided by a bridge across the ditch, allowing entry via a gatehouse. Additional buildings, including stabling for animals and workshops, may be found within the enclosure. Tower keep castles were built throughout the medieval period, from immediately after the Norman Conquest to the mid- 15th century, with a peak in the middle of the 12th century. A few were constructed on the sites of earlier earthwork castle types but most were new creations. They provided strongly fortified residences for the king or leading families and occur in both urban or rural situations. Tower keep castles are widely dispersed throughout England with a major concentration on the Welsh border. They are rare nationally with only 104 recorded examples. Considerable diversity of form is exhibited with no two examples being exactly alike. With other castle types, they are major medieval monument types which, belonging to the highest levels of society, frequently acted as major administrative centres and formed the foci for developing settlement patterns. Castles generally provide an emotive and evocative link to the past and can provide a valuable educational resource, both with respect to medieval warfare and defence, and to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally important.

Despite a combination of stone robbing and part infilling of the defensive ditch, the site of Hapton Castle survives reasonably well and remains largely unencumbered by modern development. It will retain buried remains of the medieval castle which is known to have been occupied from the 14th to the 17th centuries.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Hapton Castle. It is located on a small plateau immediately to the east of the rocky ravine of Castle Clough and includes a roughly oval flat platform surrounded on two sides by a substantial ditch. The platform measures approximately 40m north-south by 30m east-west and contains a 4m length of the castle's stone walling standing up to five courses high on its south side and another short piece of walling, now turf covered, on its east side. The platform is surrounded on the south and part of the east sides by a dry ditch up to 14m wide and 4m deep. This ditch has been infilled on the north and part of the east sides. On the west side, immediately above the ravine, the monument's defences consist of an earthen bank up to 2m wide by 1m high and an internal ditch c.1m wide. Hapton Castle is thought to have been in existence in 1328 when Gilbert de la Leigh purchased Hapton from John Talbot. It was the seat of the Lords of Hapton until the erection of Hapton Tower c.2.5km to the south east in 1510. The building was still inhabited in 1667 but was in ruins by 1725 and no longer existed in 1800. The castle is thought to have consisted of a stone tower keep and a stout wooden palisade or stone wall enclosing a yard. A post and wire fence on the monument's western side is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 27679

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire: Volume IV, (1911), 507
Ainsworth, R, The Old Homesteads of Accrington and District, (1928), 387
Whittaker, TD, History of Whalley, (1801), 63-4
Ordnance Survey Record Card Ref No. SD 73 SE 11, Ordnance Survey, Hapton Castle,

End of official listing