UK and Ireland

Beeston Castle

One of the most striking castles in England may hold a legendary treasure.

The castle is Beeston, in Cheshire, a 13th century fortress set atop a 500 foot high cliff. The site now occupied by the castle has been used as a fortress since at least the Bronze Age. The current castle was built by Ranulf, Earl of Chester, around 1226.

Ranulf built Beeston in the style of the Saracen fortresses he had seen in Syria while he was on Crusade. Ranulf and his son both died before Beeston was completed, and the castle passed to the crown. It was used by Henry III as a garrison and prison during his Welsh wars, and the defenses were later strengthened by Edward II.

The defenses include two sets of perimeter walls, accessed by way of an impressive gateway. Beeston saw action in the Civil War, when a royalist garrison held out for 12 months against a Parliamentary siege until forced to surrender by starvation. after the siege Parliament ordered the castle destroyed, creating the moody ruin we can see today.

But what of the treasure?

Persistent legend tells that King Richard II hid a fortune in gold coin and precious objects at Beeston before he went on a trip to Ireland in 1399. Richard never had a chance to recover his treasure because when he returned from Ireland he was captured, and eventually killed by the Duke of Lancaster, who then became Henry IV.

Old tales tell that the gold was hidden in a secret passage at the bottom of a deep well-shaft. Modern treasure-hunters used sophisticated electronic equipment to discover three passages leading off the well-shaft.

No trace of a treasure was found, but they conjectured that a fourth, as yet undiscovered, passage exists, and it is there that the treasure will be found!

Beeston Castle is in the care of English Heritage, and is located 11 miles south east of Chester.

Address: Beeston Castle, Chapel Lane, Beeston, Cheshire CW6 9TX


David Ross
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David Ross

David Ross is the Editor of Originally from North America, David moved to the UK in 2004 and now lives in the north Cotswolds with his wife, Rosemary, and his children Garett and Claire. As well as being passionate about history, David is also an avid photographer.

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