The castle lays a few hundred feet from the buried remains of a pre-Norman (Anglo-Saxon) monastery. This site was raided by Vikings in around 875, and then rebuilt in 926. Extensive archaeological excavations have found the buried remains of at least 200 people, clearly indicating a site of significant importance. The cemetery was probably disused for a long period of time, and eventually the whole site was superceded by a church on the site of the present St Andrews across the beck.
As mentioned before, the castle is easily accessible via the public right of way that runs alongside the gardens and the remains of the moat. From here, great views can be had. A few hundred yards to the North West, the church of St Andrews lays, with its carved bears and 12th and 13th century architecture.
It has been suggested that these remains represent the remains of a pele tower, possibly dating from the late 12th century. The earthworks are rectangular in shape, perhaps 60 feet by 20 feet and stand to about 6 feet in places.
The earth banks appeared to consist of a mixture of earth and rubble, and in places mature trees were growing from the remains. Each side of the enclosure was broken in half by a gap, perhaps 6 to 8 feet in length. There didn't appear to be any features in the centre of the site.
General consensus is that the position that these remains occupy, represent a good site for a tower, possibly a pele tower. Indeed, the point at which the current road bridge crosses the river Lowther, is very shallow. Here the water flows over a slick river bed made of solid stone. On a normal day, the water here is only a matter of a few inches deep.
A map of 1863 clearly shows a square enclosure on this spot, labelled as Castle Stead. The site is obviously of some antiquity. It is easily accessible too. The footpath leading to the remains, can be joined opposite the church of St Michael. Alternatively, you can make the steep scramble up the hill side from the road to the remains.
Looking at the above photograph, it's just possible to make out the other two towers at the rear of the building. These towers (behind the trees) are the later of the four towers. The two at the front on all the photos here are the South East and the South West towers, and as such, are the only remnants of the original pele tower. The walls of these two front towers are said to be much thicker than the two rear ones, possibly indicating their defensive qualities.