It originated as a Norman fortified manor house in the 12th century founded by Alain de Parrhoet, la Zouch. During the next three centuries it was extended. In 1464 it was granted by Edward IV to William, Lord Hastings who converted it into a castle. The principal building of this time was the Hastings Tower which was high. It is rectangular in shape measuring about by with walls nearly thick on the ground floor.
The castle has been host to many royal visitors, including Henry VII, Mary Queen of Scots, James I and Charles I. The castle was a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War. It fell to Parliament forces in 1646, and was then made unusable.
It is possible to climb to the top of the Hastings tower and to explore an underground passage from the kitchen to the tower which was probably created during the Civil War.