Morhull, Warton or Halsteads

The castle lay a little under half way from Lancaster to Kendal and therefore would have been a convenient stopping point for the lords of Kendal who were hereditary constables of Lancaster castle, possibly as early as the reign of King Stephen (1135-54).  It was possibly as early as 1138 that the king had granted William Fitz Gilbert (d.1170) Warton together with Garstang for the service a single knight.  Certainly William's heirs, Gilbert Fitz Remfry (d.1220) and Hawise Lancaster (d.1213/20), were holding such a lordship of the Crown later in the twelfth century as part of the honour of Lancaster.  In April 1200, Gilbert Fitz Remfry was allowed a free court and gallows at Warton which was a part of the knight's fee he held in Lancashire.  Gilbert was also granted a Wednesday market at the same time.  On 22 January 1216, Gilbert Fitz Remfry (d.1220) surrendered his castle of ‘Mirhull' to King John ‘in tenancy', although there is no evidence that John ever took command of it and it continued in the hands of Gilbert and his heirs.  On the death of Gilbert's son, William Lancaster, in November 1246, it was mentioned as the capital messuage of Warton when it was assigned to Walter Lindsay (d.1271) as his portion of the Lancaster inheritance.  This assumes that Kendal and Warton castles were to be the caputs of the 2 new baronies.  In 1324 the manor was held by the service of a quarter of a knight's fee and 20d service for ward at Lancaster castle and service at 2 local courts, while its own court was worth 6s 8d a year. It seems to have remained as a ‘castle' until being last recorded around 1435.

The castle is alleged of have been a motte and bailey, but the site has been quarried away for gravel extraction and the resulting pit flooded to form Pine Lake in the 1970s.  Apparently pottery as early as the ‘thirteenth century' was found along with a gold ring mounted with an uncut diamond at or near the site.  There were also traces of a mortared rubble wall on one side of a mound.  With the destruction of the site any speculation about the nature of the site without firm evidence is uncertain.


Copyright©2023 Paul Martin Remfry