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Website Dedicated to
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The Ashton Pals

Greenhalgh, the name, the place, the History

  Greenhalgh Castle History

The castle was built in 1490 by Thomas Stanley - the Earl of Derbyshire, in order to defend his estates around Garstang. It was later besieged by Cromwell's parliamentary army during 1646 who later ordered it to be dismantled. Today just one of the towers remains although many of the local farmhouses have incorporated the stones in their buildings. A ghost is said to haunt nearby Gubberford Bridge where a Soldier killed his estranged wife during the siege of Greenhalgh.

It is said that the castle or more the land on which it stands was a gift to Thomas Stanley from Henry Tudor for his services (Treachery) during the battle of Bosworth. The Stanley's went to Bosworth with Richard III, some 4'000 men of the 12'000 total were under their command. Henry Tudor turned up with 5'000 men so was well out numbered. The battle turned in a flash as Henry, realizing that he was out numbered galloped toward the Stanley's line with some 50 men hoping to get his support, Richard seized what he saw as a chance and attacked.

Unfortunately for Richard the Stanley's who were watching this probably were not happy with such a large force some 1000 men attacking Henry with only 50 men. So the Stanley's joined the fight on the side of Henry Tudor with their 4000 men. Richard had no chance he was overwhelmed and cut down, and that was that. It was Thomas Stanley who placed the crown on Henry's head proclaiming him to be king.

This castle and it's owners stand tall in the history of this great nation. Its a great shame that Cromwell saw fit to destroy such an important building. Though not surprising considering it's royalist history.

This is an interesting part of English history, if you want to find out more then go to my favorite search engine www.google.com and type Boswoth field or Henry Tudor or Henry VII there is loads out there, Have fun!

Graham Greenhalgh has kindly written this and adds a great deal of detail to the content above. Thanks Graham

On the 9th April 1483 King Edward IV of England died. He left the throne to his then twelve year old son Prince Edward. Until the lad was old enough to rule England he would be under the protection of Edward IV brother Richard of Gloucester.

After a series of plots on 6th July 1483 Richard of Gloucester from the House of York was crown King Richard III of England. Young Prince Edward and his younger brother Richard Duke of York had disappeared from their lodgings in the Tower of London. The only rival left for the throne of England was Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster. He returned from exile in France on 7th August 1485 to start a military campaign to take the crown.

On the 22nd August 1485 Henry Tudor fought King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. King Richard had obtained the support of Sir Thomas Stanley (The Second Baron Stanley of the Manor of Stanley near Leek in Staffordshire), by holding his son Lord Strange as ransom. Sir Thomas Stanley with his brother Sir William Stanley had command of 4500 troops on the battlefield effectively held the balance of power between King Richard and Henry Tudor. However, never one to back a losing hand, Sir Thomas held his troops until late in the day, despite the threat to the life of his son. As it became clear Henry Tudor would take the field Sir Thomas rallied to his cause. In recognition of his support the now King Henry VII promoted Sir Thomas Stanley to the 1st Earl of Derby. Incidentally, his son Lord Strange also managed to survive the battle.

Despite the fact that King Richard III was killed at the battle of Bosworth Field. Despite the marriage of the new King Henry VII of Lancaster to Elizabeth of York in an attempt to end the rivalries between the two great families by ties of blood. There remained Yorkist supporters who would revenge the defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field and restore a Yorkist monarchy. To this end in 1487 Lord Lovell and the Earl of Lincoln assembled an army in Dublin. They produced a boy called Lambert Simnell whom they claimed was the long lost Prince Edward (from the Tower of London) and set sail for England.

They landed in north Lancashire and assembled other supports to their cause including Sir Thomas Broughton, Sir Thomas Pilkington, Robert Hilton and James Harrington. King Henry VII marched north to meet the invasion and gather Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby and his troops on the way. They met the invaders near Newark on Trent and defeated the upstarts. Again in recognition of his services Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby was granted ownership of much of the lands from Sir Thomas Broughton, Sir Thomas Pilkington, Robert Hilton and James Harrington. Of particular interest to us are the lands of James Harrington around Elswick, Plumpton, Preston, Thornton and Broughton in central Lancashire. To protect these new lands Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby was granted by King Henry VII on 2nd August 1490 a licence to 'wall with stone, lime and other material is his manor called Greenhall in the parish of Garstang, and embattle, turrellate, machicolate or otherwise fortify them, and to hold forever....' put simply to build a castle.

Why was it called Greenhall in the licence, who knows, possibly a spelling mistake, one pronunciation of the name Greenhalgh in Lancashire is Greenall or Greenhall. On a 1610 map of the area the castle is spelt Grennalgh Caft and the village near Elswick is spelt as Greena, another local pronunciation (Elswick is spelt Ilfwick) 's' was spelt 'f' in 1610, but it shows even map makers were by no mean literate and may have spelt names phonetically.

Addition Made by Kevin Greenhalgh January 2008
Joel Reitz emailed me with the following notes: Some time ago (Used past 1700) an "S" was written in an elongated way so looking like an F, but the letter is indeed an S. To find our more click the following link which is a Introduction to Old English Language & Script. Thanks Joel it all adds to the discussion...

The castle was created directly from an English Civil War, the War of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster and York. It would be destroyed in another, The English Civil War between the King (Royalists) and Parliament. During, want is known as the 1st English Civil War between King Charles I and parliament, Earl James the 7th Earl of Derby supported the Royalist cause.

By late 1644 parliamentary forces were in control of the whole of Lancashire except for Lathom House (another of the Derby's properties) and Greenhalgh Castle. Both Lathom House and Greenhalgh Castle held out for almost two years of siege. In May 1645 the garrison at Greenhalgh Castle surrendered on condition all the garrison were given safe conduct to return home unharmed. After the surrender the castle was rendered incapable of further military use by demolition teams. The ruins have continued to deteriorate until today only the lower portion of one of the towers remains standing.

The village of Greenhalgh is still there, one pub, a few houses and farms. It lies just off junction 3 of the M55 (a UK freeway) between Blackpool a coastal town and Preston (once a small port). It is in a farming area known as the Fylde Coast between the rivers Ribble and Wyre. Although Greenhalgh today is a very small village it may well have once been part of a large manor stretching over this area, with the same name. Because the Fylde Coast is bounded on 3 sides by water (the Irish sea and two river estuaries) if you wanted to protect the area the best fortification would be a castle on the inland side of the peninsular, say on a hill at Garstang!! Even from ground level you can see a substantial area of the Fylde coast today from that hill. From atop a castle tower 450 years ago you could watch all the comings and goings.

Remember a Castle was not just a defensive site, it was a place of civil control, tax collection and monitoring activities. Garstang would likely be a market town for the produce from the farming on the Fylde coast. It was on the route of an old Roman Road built originally to the troublesome border with the Celts in Scotland (Hadrians Wall), that would still have been a major route in the 15 century. Even today the A6 major west coast main road from London to Scotland and the M6 west coast freeway (busiest freeway in Britain) run through Garstang. It would be rare for a castle to be named after the owners, often anyone wealthy enough to own one castle would probably own more than one. The exception is the Queen her family name is Windsor (but then it is her family that is named after the castle not the castle named after them, a political change by a Germany family in Britain during the First World War).

The family name Greenhalgh may have a number of origins, family names are a relatively modern inventions (if you pardon the pun). So gentleman farmers living within the manor may have developed from Graham to Graham de Greenhalgh (Graham of Greenhalgh) to simply Graham Greenhalgh. Alternatively, skilled workers would be named after their abilities (mason, smith, wright, shepherd etc) peasants with no particular skill would be named after their location, Graham of Greenhalgh. Who knows!

Thanks to Graham for writing this, what a wonderful contribution to the Greenhalgh site.. And thanks to Peter for pointing it out. If you have read this, and have been inspired, and would like to contribute to the site. Please contact me by emailing kevin@greenhalgh-web.co.uk You will be adding to the biggest domain on Greenhalgh on the net