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Birtle Castle Hill

In the civil parish of Rochdale.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Rochdale.
1974 county of Greater Manchester.
Medieval County of Lancashire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD82771247
Latitude 53.60850° Longitude -2.26187°

Birtle Castle Hill has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


Presumed site of a castle, based on the name 'Castle Hill', marked on maps of 1928-1939. The location is an improbable one and there is no supporting earthwork evidence. (PastScape)

'Not far from thence {Castle Steads: earthwork SD 71 SE 9} at a place called "Castle Hill" there seems to have been in the feudal times a lordship of the royalty tenure, with power of imprisonment and execution of criminals. A hill just by is still called Gallows Hill'. {Not mentioned in VCH} (Aiken).
No evidence of earthworks or of extant remains, are visible in the vicinity of the published site. The alleged position seems a most improbable one, in that it is situated part way down a hill side in a very vulnerable site. Mr A Taylor of Castle Hill Farm stated that he has ploughed over the area for many years and has never found any trace of foundations or other indicative material (F1 RL 07-JUN-61). (PastScape)

The story that the manor court for Tottington fee was formerly held here appears in Aikin, Country round Manch. 269. (VCH)

The PastScape record of May 2013 mis-located the site as in Bury and incorrectly states it is not mentioned in the VCH. However the VCH comments are slight and do not suggest a high status house of any form here. The site is quite clearly marked on the 1894 OS map and the field investigators comments on the suitability of the location can be seriously questioned as being prejudicial and based on received wisdom as to the military role of castles. The adjacent Gallows Hill does leave the possibility that there was some sort of legal court here although by what right or for what jurisdiction is unclear. The nearby church of St John the Baptist is C19 and not of medieval origin although the reason for siting the church where it is in the dispersed township is a question worth asking.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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