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Carlisle Citadel

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Nisi Prius Court; Court House; Assize Court; Crown Court

In the civil parish of Carlisle.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY40255566
Latitude 54.89170° Longitude -2.93357°

Carlisle Citadel has been described as a certain Artillery Fort.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The site is known as the The Citadel which refers to the earlier Henrician artillery fort located on this site. The Citadel was built in 1541-1542 to designs by Stephen von Haschenperg and consisted of a triangular enclosure with massive round towers situated at the angles. The fortress was mostly demolished to make way for the present towers in 1810 and only the lower levels of the eastern tower are original. Prior to the construction of Henry VIII's artillery fort the site was occupied by the Botcher Gate or English Gate (see NY45NW 52). The Citadel was intended to be of independent strength, which made sense given the obsolete state of Carlisle's defences. The Botcher gate was initially walled up, and it appears that a raised floor level was added with two gunports in the former gateway. On its west side, but set slightly back, was a second recangular tower mounting twin gunports. To the east and west of the resulting double tower were built curtain walls to connect with two large, round bulwarks, two storeyed, 60 feet in diameter with 12 foot thick walls. Within these were casemates mounting artillery. It was also fortified on its northern face within the city walls. A half round tower was constructed to house ordnance to command the city. This was attached to the round bulwarks by curtain walls. The construction of the Citadel nessesited the rebuilding of the adjacent walls and the creation of a new gate, the English Gate, in the west wall just north of the Citadel. By 1604 the Citadel was effectively little more than a gaol. (PastScape)

Built on top of the remain of the Citadel are 'two immense oval towers, built in 1810-1811 by Sir Robert Smirke, to a design originally by Thomas Telford. Until recently they served as the civil courts (east tower) and criminal courts (west tower). The towers are constructed in red sandstone ashlar with a partly machicolated cornice and battlemented parapets. The towers have recently undergone major restoration.' (PastScape)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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