Thurland Castle is believed to have been built in the 14th century, and early in the 15th century Sir Thomas Tunstall obtained permission to crenallate the house, converting it to a fortified residence. It remained in the Tunstall family until 1605 when it was sold by Francis Tunstall, son of Marmaduke Tunstall, brother of the famed Sir Brian Tunstall. The castle was bought by John Girlington, who died in 1612, leaving the property to his son and heir, Nicholas Girlington, who was then only 21 years of age.
The castle next passed to John Girlington upon the death of his father, Nicholas. John was knighted in 1642, and the castle became a royalist stronghold in 1643 during the English Civil War. Besieged for seven weeks, royalists attempting to relieve the garrison were defeated on October 1st, and the castle was surrendered a few days later and almost demolished. Sir John was killed in the war in 1645, and the castle passed to his son and heir, John Girlington, still a minor at his father's death.
Thurland Castle was seized by Parliament and leased in 1646 to Edward Aspinwall and Robert Cunliffe. The fortunes of the Girlington family were undoubtedly broken during the war, and although after the Restoration John Girlington seems to have recovered somewhat, the entire estate was sold in 1698 to John Borrett, a wealthy London lawyer.
By his will of 1738, John Borrett left the castle to his son, Thomas Borrett, who died in 1751, leaving two daughters, the oldest of whom was Susannah, who married William Evelyn. Susannah's trustees sold the estate in December 1771 to Robert Welch.
Henry Welch, son of the above Robert Welch, sold Thurland Castle to Miles North of Newton, who had already inherited part of the lands of Thurland as a descendant of a relative of the above John Borrett, who had died in 1738.
The castle was retained by the North family until 1885, when it was sold by a Mr. North North (yes, that name is correct) to Edward Brown Lees, who died in 1896, leaving the estate to his son, Eric Brown Lees, who was still the owner in 1914.
That is the last record I have of the ownership of Thurland Castle, taken from "The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster," volume III, published by Constable & Company, Ltd. of London in 1914. The book was found in the National Monuments Record Library, 55 Blandford Street, London W1.
The castle was partially restored in 1662-1663 after its original destruction in the Civil War, but it remained mostly in ruins until further restorations were done in 1809 and 1829 by the North family. It was destroyed again by fire in 1876, but it was later completely rebuilt as a modern mansion. When I visited the castle in 1999, it was undergoing another complete rebuilding, to be converted to luxury apartments.
I hope this information will be helpful.
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