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Castle Rushen

Period: Medieval - Modern

NGR Easting: 226510

NGR Northing: 467450

Description: Medieval stone castle.

Castle Rushen is widely regarded as one of the most complete medieval fortresses in Europe. It was begun by the Norse kings of Man in the later 12th century, probably by Reginald (1187-1226), though its form was influenced by Anglo-Norman design. It was captured by Robert Bruce during a Scottish raid in 1313 that was intended to frustrate English activity in the Irish Sea, but seems to have undergone repair and significant development soon after.

In 1417 it was the location for a Tynwald assembly and again in 1422 for an assembly held before Sir John Stanley, the new English overlord. At this time it had attained its modern height and a curtain wall had been added. By the 16th century further development had taken place, transforming it into an artillery fortress protected against cannon-fire by an outer glacis.

In the mid 17th century the castle was refortified by James Stanley the 7th Earl of Derby as part of his defence of the Island against Parliamentary forces. In spite of this the castle fell due to a rebellion by the Manx against the Stanley family in 1651 in the face of a threatened siege by Parliamentary forces.

More recently the castle served a more administrative function, acting as the governor’s residence and as a prison. In the early 1900s the many late accretions resulting from its development as a prison were removed, restoring it to some of its former glory as a medieval fortress and the seat of kings whose power held sway over the Irish Sea and the Western Isles of Scotland.

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: castle

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0080.00


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