Great Britain is a culturally rich and very diverse country. It can boast of a centuries-old history and unique architecture. Each city has its own characteristic features and Manchester isn’t an exception. It impresses with an amazing ancient architecture that was preserved to this day. One of the unique and at the same time mysterious locations in Manchester are the ruins of the mediaeval Buckton Castle. Do Manchester residents and visitors know its history, which dates back to the 1180s? Learn more at manchester-future.
History of castles in Manchester and England in general
The first castles on the territory of Manchester were built mainly of wood. It was the fastest and cheapest option. In the 12th century, the first stone castles began to appear on the territory of England and Manchester in particular. One of the reasons for such a shift was the exhaustion of forest resources.
Buckton Castle was one of the first stone castles on the territory of Manchester.
The remains of Buckton Castle are located near Carrbrook in Stalybridge, Manchester, England. It is most likely that it was built in the 12th century since that period was characterised by significant economic and political transformations.
Historians have never established the founder of Buckton Castle. Some suggest that one of the first castles in Manchester was built to establish Norman’s control over the region and protect newly conquered lands. This stone castle was huge and was located on top of a hill. It wasn’t only of defensive significance but also a symbol of power. Some historians believed that the castle was built during the Anarchy and reign of David I of Scotland, who gained control of much of northern England. In this case, the castle was to protect Cheshire. Other evidence suggests that the castle was most likely built by the Earls of Chester or William de Neville when he was Lord of Longdendale.
The castle’s features
Castles are unusual and unique buildings, shrouded in many secrets. Buckton Castle is no exception.
Buckton is a hill castle. It was made of 2.8 metres (9 feet) thick sandstone. It had a rounded shape and measured 35.6 by 26.2 metres (117 by 86 ft). The total area of the castle was about 730 square metres (0.18 acres). Backton Castle was also surrounded by a 10-metre-wide wide (33 feet) ditch.
The architecture of Buckton Castle is an excellent example of the mediaeval style. Being a circular stone fortress on top of an earthen hill, the castle was a motte-and-bailey fortification. At that time, such a construction was not only reliable protection but also a rational use of resources and terrain.
The ditch around the castle served as a defence as well. In particular, it complicated the adverse offensive and the hill provided a strategic advantage. The castle was an outstanding example of mediaeval engineering, with strong stone walls that endured the centuries. It was one of the first stone castles built on the territory of Manchester.
What happened to Buckton Castle?
Buckton Castle has passed through the centuries and experienced a lot of economic and political upheavals. The castle has witnessed many events.
During those troubled times, Buckton Castle gradually fell into disrepair, it was repeatedly attempted to pillage and eventually fell into ruins. However, its historical significance wasn’t lost. In the 21st century, its remains are a priceless relic, providing a glimpse into Manchester’s mediaeval past.
Over the years, archaeologists have tried to uncover the secrets of Buckton Castle that lie deep underground. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, major excavations were carried out on the site, providing new insight into what a mediaeval castle actually looked like. Thanks to that, scientists managed to create its model. In addition, during the excavations, scientists established the fact that the castle was most likely never completed in the 12th century.
Like many mediaeval structures, Buckton Castle slowly fell into disrepair over the centuries. The value of the castle decreased as new and more modern buildings appeared. The castle turned into a ruin. The once mighty fortress began to gradually crumble, succumbing to the forces of nature. Although time has taken its toll, it has also added to the castle’s mystery.
In the 21st century, only ruins remain of Buckton Castle, which was once perched on the hill. Although the castle is long gone, its remains continue to attract the tourists’ attention. The once mighty and impregnable fortress turned into ruins till the 21st century. It is surprising that at least something remained of the old mediaeval castle. It can only testify to the quality of the builders’ work.