Millom Castle

Millom Castle

Millom Castle is an ancient building at Millom in Cumbria. It is a Grade I listed building and scheduled ancient monument.

Prior to the Norman invasion of 1066, Millom was owned by Tostig Godwinson. He was formerly the Earl of Northumbria but had been overthrown and he then rebelled against his brother, Harold II. Tostig was killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (1066) and his lands had not been re-allocated before the Anglo-Saxon regime fell following the defeat at the Battle of Hastings (1066). Thereafter it was taken into Crown ownership and was still held by the King at the time of the Domesday Book (1086). Millom then disappears from the historical record until 1134 when a charter stated it was owned by Godard de Boyvill. It passed through marriage to the Hudleston family in 1240.

In a charter dated 24 August 1335 the then owner, John Hudleston, was granted permission to crenellate (fortify) his manor by Edward III. It is likely work started several years before this – the area had been raided by Scottish forces in 1322 as Robert the Bruce attempted to force a settlement to the First War of Scottish Independence. At Millom the area occupied by the castle was significantly enhanced. The former Great Hall was converted into a kitchen and a new Solar Tower was built to serve the administrative and domestic functions. The Great Tower, which today still dominates the site and remains the inhabited part of the castle, was added in the late sixteenth century presumably to enhance the accommodation whilst also ensuring a credible defence against Border Reivers.

During the Civil War the castle was attacked by Parliamentary forces in 1644 and thereafter partly demolished. Repairs were made in 1670 but the castle was never restored to its former glory and significant parts – including the Solar Tower and kitchen range – fell into ruin. Today the remains are part of a farm and not open to the public.

A manor on the site was granted to Godard de Boyvill, owner of the Manor of Millom, in around 1134. The manor came into the Hudleston family’s ownership in around 1240 when de Boyvill’s granddaughter married into the Hudleston family. John Hudleston was given a licence to crenellate in 1335. The great tower dates from the 16th or 17th century but was badly damaged by a cannon attack in 1648 during the English Civil War.

By 1739 the castle walls were in dilapidated condition. In 1748, Elizabeth Huddleston sold the castle to Sir James Lowther of Whitehaven. The great tower is now used as a farmhouse.

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