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The original Leasowe Castle was built in 1593 by Ferdinando,
the 5th Earl of Derby (2nd heir to the English throne). In the
following year he was awarded with the Manor of Wallasey,
and in 1594 became the Mayor of Liverpool.  The original
purpose of the building is not known but it is likely that some
of the extensions made to it have been built in connection
with sporting activities, possibly as a viewing area for the
famous
Wallasey Races, the forerunners of the Derby Race
and for hawking events.  
The original octagonal tower was built with an entrance door five and a half feet above
ground level. This would have given security and protection against flooding from the high
tides, and also the ground floor would have served as a stable.  The walls were built three
feet in thick, and a later owner, possibly
William the 6th Earl of Derby constructed four turrets
onto the original tower.  Two additional turrets were added some time later possibly around
the early 17th century as they closely resemble the architectural style of the racing stable,
which until 1898, stood at the top of Sandiways Road in Wallasey.  The door jambs of the
original entrance still stand today approximately 9 feet above ground level.  On this basis it
seems likely that some sort of stairway was used to gain entry.  The entrance is dominated
by the renowned Stone and Iron “Battle Staircase” which leads to the old tower.  The original
Coat of Arms and mounting stone for horsemen are still intact. The handrails show dates of
battles, the reigning Sovereign and Generals in command of the troops.  The Star Chamber
room retains the ceiling taken from the old Exchange Buildings which were to be demolished.
The ceiling was decorated with bright stars so that convicts could gaze up at them when
sentenced at the Court of Westminster.  

In the early 17th century the building had become known as "New Hall", possibly to
distinguish it from Wallasey Hall which was built at the turn of the 17th century.  The Stanley
family (the Earls of Derby), seem to have given up the building within a century of its
construction, and it rapidly deteriorated to a ruin.  It soon became known as Mockbeggar Hall,
a name commonly given to old ruined manorial halls.  A chart of North Wirral, the Grenville
Collins Pilot of 16SO shows the castles name as Mockbeggar Hall, and the foreshore as
Mockbeggar Wharf, a name still used on today's Ordinance Survey Maps.

The castle has played host to kings of the Isle of Man, to the Stuart family and to
King William
III, who stayed overnight before boarding a ship to Ireland during the 17th century.  The
castle became more an more run down because of the dwindling fortune of the earls until it
was eventually confiscated as a result of the civil war.  The name "Leasowe Castle" first
appears when the castle passed through several families until bought in 1802 by Mrs Boode.  
Mrs Boode made several alterations around 1818 and the castle played refuge to many
survivors of ship wrecks across the coast.  Mrs Boode was killed in 1826 and a memorial
erected in remembrance in Wallasey.  Mrs Boodes daughter Mary Anne married
Colonel
Edward Cust in 1821 and the castle remained in the Cust family until 1895.  

Edward Cust, the 6th son of Lord Brownlow, tried initially to run the castle as a hotel,
unsuccessful he then took up residence in 1843 and made many additions to the building.  Sir
Edward Cust made many additions to the castle.  He added the surrounding wall as a further
defensive measure, given his military background he must have felt the castle to be
inadequate. In addition to the wall he added the gates and gate house for further
protection.  The dining room on the ground floor also known as the star chamber because of
the stars on the ceiling, was decorated with oak panelling from the Star Chamber at
Westminster Palace, purchased when the old exchequer buildings were demolished in 1836.  
The star chamber was once a judicial court dating back to the 15th century, sadly the wooden
panels along with all the furnishings were removed in 1893.  The room once known as the
board room, now on a raised mezzanine floor was fitted with bog oak from the submerged
forest at Meols further down the coast.  Most likely delivered by horse and cart and pack
horses along pack horse lane.   

Sir Edward was known as a bit of a joker and he placed an oak seat at the bottom of the
castle garden overlooking the sea. He named the seat 'Canute's Chair' and had carved on
the back, "sea come not hither nor wet the sole of my foot". There are some people,
however, who believe that King Canute actually visited Leasowe in 1016 AD. There are no
traces of the chair today.
Not far from the chair were the "Mermaid Stones". These three boulders are thought to have
been deposited by the glaciers from the last ice Age. They are associated with the legend of
the Mermaid of the Black Rock, who is supposed to have sat upon the stones.

After Custs death in 1878, the castle passed to his only son who subsequently out the castle
and grounds up for sale in 1893.  In 1911 it was bought by the Trustees of the Railway
Convalescent Homes.  The castle was used briefly as a prisoner of war camp during WW1 but
that was the last military action the castle would see.  It was later bought in 1974 by the
Wallasey Corporation for the sum of 113,00 pounds.  I 1979 the castle was up for sale again
after throwing out plans to turn it into a youth hostel.  Wirral Borough Council eventually sold
it in 1980 to Ken Harding who opened it first as a leisure centre and eventually as a hotel.  




Click on the image below to enlarge...
Ferdinando, the castles 1st owner
Ferdinando, the 5th Earl of Derby
The history of the a
man and his child being
locked in a room and
left there to starve. The
man, to save himself
and his child from such
a painful death, killed
his son and then
commited suicide. The
pair have been
witnessed by many
paying visitors to the
hotel, in the haunted
room. Many of the
people who work in the
hotel have witnessed
customers running
down corridors in terror
after seeing the two
spirits. Not so long ago
the Castle suffered
from a terrible fire that
meant that most of the
building had to be
rebuilt. Since the
rebuilding of the ruined
parts there have been
many witnesses of a
ghost who is only
visable from the waist
up from the floor. This
is because when the
Castle was being rebuilt
the floors where built at
a slightly higher level
than the original floor
had been.


Other rumours about
Leasowe Castle are that
there are many secret
pasages running
throughout the building
and it is said that these
passages are haunted.
This story however has
not been proven as
there are no first hand
witnesses to these
hauntings...