Lancaster Town Hall is one of the impressive buildings in Dalton Square. Its courtroom was the venue for the famous murder trial of Doctor Buck Ruxton and the grisly murder which occurred at number 2 Dalton Square. This was a trial which would end in the hanging of Doctor Buck Ruxton for the murder of his wife Isabella and his maid Mary.
Lancaster Town Hall was financed by Lord Ashton; a local millionaire made rich after inheriting his father’s Oil Cloth and Linoleum business. Construction began in 1906, after two years of consultancy, to replace the Market Square town hall which is now the City Museum. The building opened in 1909.
Ashton also donated to local churches and a Queen Victoria Monument which stands in Dalton Square to this day.
The original Hall included not just the Council’s service and department rooms but also the Lancaster Police Station, with prisoner cells in the basement and the Magistrates Court on the ground floor. The public hall, at the back of the building, is known as the Ashton Hall (not to be confused with the building that is now Lancaster Golf Club).
The site of Dalton Square, where the Hall stands, has been inhabited for hundreds of years. It is recorded that in the early thirteenth centenary, around 1260, Dominican friars established a friary. At the time this would have placed the friary to the east of the city. The friars, rather than staying inside like monks, travelled the nearby countryside and city to preach their teachings.
In Pure Spirit
The butcher Buck Ruxton would have spent nights in the Town Hall jail and cells before standing trial in the Courtroom. Do you think the hundred-year-old building could have any form of spiritual connection to Number 2 Dalton Square where the murders took place? Keep in mind that Ruxton was hanged in Manchester.
Image Credit: Clem Rutter.