The Prescotian Webzine

ARCHEOLOGISTS have recently discovered mediaeval remains of the original Castle near Ormskirk. The west wing of the later Lathom House is now being restored and will become a rehabilitation unit. This section of the historic house, a Grade II Listed Building, is all that remains above ground of the new Lathom House which was originally built for the Earls of Derby in 1720 by the influential archiitect, Giacomo Leoni. Before that time, the house had a long and in t eresting history. It had been the principal home of the Earls of Derby and by the 16th century had become a substantial fortress,

of Derby and by the 16th century had become a substantial fortress, reputedly the largest castle in the north of England. During the Civil War, Lathom House was the last Royalist stronghold in Lancashire and as such was of great symbolic importance. In 1644, whilst the Earl was in the Isle of Man, the Countess of Derby successfully defended the castle for three years against a siege. This action is well documented by the historians.

The following year, Cromwell's forces again attacked Lathom House and this time were successful. They so destroyed it that no trace remained. The subsequent edifice of 1720 fell into a ruinous state and it is the west wing of this structure which is presently being restored.

The Archeological Unit of Lancaster University created much interest when the moat of the mediaeval castle was revealed during trial excavations. As work proceeds on the repair of the 18th century building, more fragments of the castle are being unearthed.

The site, one mile from Westhead, near Ormskirk, is close to Lathom Park Chapel and Pilkington's Research Laboratories.

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