One of Clitheroe’s ‘claims to fame’ is that its castle is reputedly the smallest Norman keep in England. The land between the rivers Mersey and Ribble was granted by William I to one of his supporters, Roger of Poitou, who may have built the keep around 1086. It seems more likely, however, that it was built by Robert de Lacy about a hundred years later, as the centre of estates in the area. On one side is a large hole which according to legend was the result of a giant hurling a huge boulder from Pendle Hill. A more prosaic explanation is that the during the English Civil War, the Royalists deliberately damaged the castle, so that it would be of no use to the Parliamentary forces.
During that event, too, we had a guest speaker who just happened to be Canada's first woman astronaut. One afternoon I took her into Clitheroe as she wanted to do some shopping. Believe me, nothing seems more surreal than driving down Clitheroe’s main street with an astronaut in your car!