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Knight to remember; turbulent past of castle that once dominated city's skyline - and history.

Byline: LORNA HUGHES ECHO Reporter @lorna_hughes

LIVERPOOL once had a medieval castle - and you'll probably have walked past its site without even realising it.

The Castle of Liverpool stood on the site now occupied by Derby Square and Liverpool Crown Court.

It is commemorated in a bronze plaque on the Victoria Monument in the square, on the side facing what is now All Bar One.

The castle was built as a result of King John issuing a Letters Patents, popularly known as the Royal Charter, to Liverpool on August 28, 1207 - at a time when the tiny fishing port was becoming an important trading centre.

The site chosen was a plateau overlooking the River Mersey.

The castle is believed to have been constructed around 1235, although some records suggest it could have been as early as 1208.

Built from sandstone and designed to be self-supporting in times of siege, the castle had four towers and was surrounded by a dry moat.

Historians believe the main entrance faced what we now know as Castle Street.

The Victoria Monument stands in what was the middle of the castle site.

It included an orchard, a chapel, a bakehouse and a herb garden.

The commanding structure had a gatehouse flanked by two towers at the north east corner facing Castle Street and its footprint was around the same size as Harlech Castle, in North Wales.

Some of the most dramatic scenes of Liverpool's history were played out in the shadow of the castle during the Civil War.

In May, 1643, Cromwell's Parliamentary forces - the Roundheads - took the city and the crucial supply route to Ireland it controlled.

Royalists gained control of the fortress in 1644, but only after suffering the loss of 1,500 men in one week of fighting.

King Charles II ordered the castle's destruction after ascending to the throne in 1660.

By 1700, the castle had become a shelter for the homeless and, in 1714, George I authorised its removal.

The site was given to the Mayor and Corporation of Liverpool at an annual rent of PS6 13s and 4d (PS6.67).

St George's Church was built there in 1734 and stood on the site until 1899.

The Queen Victoria monument on the site was unveiled on October 11, 1902, twenty months after her death.

A bronze plaque dedicated to the Castle of Liverpool can be found in the stonework of the monument.

The whole area was the subject of an architectural dig in 1976, before contractors moved in to build the court complex.

Some believe that the remains of the 13th-century stronghold, including dungeons, still lie beneath Derby Square.

In Lever Park, at Rivington, near Chorley, William Lever - of Lever and Co Soap and Port Sunlight fame - built a folly which is a scale, partial replica of Liverpool Castle in ruins.

Building started in 1912 and the replica, which was not completed, was based on a conjectural reconstruction of the castle in 1892.


Picture: LIVERPOOL RECORDS OFFICE How Liverpool Castle would have looked

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 27, 2017
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