Lancaster Castle, Lancashire Genealogy

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Guide to Lancaster Castle, Lancashire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish register transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Lancaster Castle, Lancashire
Lancaster Castle Lancashire.JPG
Type Extra-parochial area (England)
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Lonsdale; West Derby
County Lancashire, England Genealogy
Poor Law Union Lancaster
Registration District Lancaster
Records begin
Parish registers: For records see surrounding parishes
Bishop's Transcripts: For records see surrounding parishes
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Not Applicable
Diocese Not Applicable
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Search the courts of the surrounding parishes
Location of Archive
Lancashire Archives

Parochial History[edit | edit source]

Lancaster Castle was an extra-parochial place within Lancaster Municipal Borough--all lying within the Lancaster Parish.

Castle History[edit | edit source]

Lancaster Castle is a medieval castle, a Crown Court, and a Category C men's prison, located in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. The castle buildings are owned by Lancashire County Council, which leases a major part of the structure to Her Majesty's Prison Service. The site itself is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster.

Due to the unique situation of having a prison and courthouse in the same building, it has been host to cases where there was a perceived risk of prisoners escaping on the journey from court to prison.

The Crown Court is the oldest working court-room in Britain. It also holds the dubious distinction of being the court in Britain where the most death sentences have been passed.

The Castle was also the site of the most public hangings outside London. After 1800 the executions at Lancaster Castle took place at "Hanging Corner", in a angle between the tower and the wall on the east side of the terrace steps. On the ground-floor of the tower is the "Drop Room" which contains relics of the many executions, and can be visited today.

Out of 200 executions at Lancaster Castle, only 43 were for murder; other crimes included burglary, passing forged notes, robbery and cattle-stealing. For over 50 years, the Prison Chaplain was Parson Rowley who is said to have attended 170 criminals to their execution.

On March 25th 1865 Stephen Burke was hanged for the murder of his wife, this was the last public execution at the Castle.

The castle has been a prison since at least 1196 and is now partly open to the public. The notorious Pendle Witches trial took place here, in the time of Thomas Covell, the Governor of the Castle and Prison. The castle survived an attack by Robert Bruce and more than one royalist attack during the English civil war.

The Shire Hall, which was built in 1802 to a design by Thomas Harrison, has displays of heraldic shields, and the Grand Jury room has a collection of Gillow furniture. There is also a Crown Court and some medieval dungeons.

The castle was linked on to Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster from Henry III in 1267, and from this the castle is part of the Duchy of Lancaster, currently owned by Queen Elizabeth II.

In the United States, the Lancaster County Prison in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was built in 1737 as an almost exact replica of Lancaster Castle.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records[edit | edit source]

Since the Castle is an extra parochial place refer to the adjacent Lancaster Priory church, the mother church for Lancaster Lancaster St Mary, Lancashire Genealogy

Census records[edit | edit source]

Poor Law Unions
[edit | edit source]

Lancaster Poor Law Union,Lancashire

Probate records
[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers
[edit | edit source]

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Websites[edit | edit source]