Romans, Anglo Saxons, Vikings and Normans all left their mark on Yorkshire with their forts and burial sites. Then came the Middle ages and the Medieval barons with their mighty castles, fortified houses and the need to defend the region from the marauding Scots.
This is a tourist information guide to those beautiful, romantic, impressive
and much loved Yorkshire tourist attractions.
The principle hunting lodge of the ancient Forest of Barden and home of the 10th Lord of Skipton, more commonly known as the Shepherd Lord.
The ruined tower overlooks the Priest's House, built in the early 16th century which the Shepherd Lord built for his private Chaplain.
The building has undergone many alterations and served many purposes including farm house. Today visitors are welcome to wander round the ruined Barden Tower and enjoy a meal at the Priest House now a very popular restaurant.
Beverley, once a prosperous medieval town due to its wool trade has no walls. It is protected by a ditch, palisade and four gates. Beverley had four main gates or bars to which, in the 15th Century, were added a number of smaller bars and turnstiles the only remaining gate is North Bar
North Bar guarded the approach to Beverley from the North from Molescroft, along what is now Molescroft Road. As one gets closer to the North Bar the road becomes New Walk and finally North Bar Without. Going through the Bar, one enters North Bar Within, The gates of North Bar are still installed and until fairly recently, they used to be closed annually once a year.
It has been stated that some 112,300 bricks were used in its construction at a cost of 3s 7d (approx. 18p) a thousand. A bricklayer was paid 6d per day and a labourer 4d per day. The decorative cornice above the entrance was formed by laying a course of bricks diagonally between two projecting courses of bricks.
The other three bars,at Newbegin Bar, Keldgate (or South Bar), and Norwood Bar, respectively.
Overlooking the River Wharfe are the ruins of the 12th century Priory and the thriving parish church. With seating both in and around the Priory Church, this is the perfect location to sit back, admire the view and escape the 21st century.The land at Bolton was granted to the Augustinian Canons in 1154 by Lady Alice de Rumilly.
After the dissolution of the monastries in 1539 the nave of the Priory was allowed to continue as a parish church. All the other priory buildings were stripped of their lead roofs, leaving the stone work exposed to the elements. Over time the stone structures weakened and began to fall down. Rather than leaving good stone to go to waste is was pillaged and today can be found in buildings up and down the Wharfe valley.
Bolton Castle is a spectacular mediaeval fortress, situated in the heart of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, on the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It was built in 1399 by Richard le Scrope, 1st Lord Scrope of Bolton and Lord Chancellor of England.
The plan of the castle is a quadrangle with accommodation along each side and a tower at each corner. There is only one entry into the courtyard, and that is through a vaulted passage with a portcullis at each end. Inside the courtyard are five identical doorways, each protected by its own portcullis, effectively trapping any attackers who made it into the courtyard.
Bolton Castle, Near Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 4ET, UK
Bowes Castle was built a spart of Yorkshires Norman fortification it is thought to have been built by Alan, Earl of Richmond, soon after the Norman conquest of 1066 on the site of the old Roman fort, a date of 1087 indicating how strategic the location was to the Norman conquerors.
Bowes is on the Roman road through Stainmore which led to Cataractonium on the other side of the pennines and it appears as though the castle was constructed on the foundations of the Lavatrae Roman Fort. The present ruins of the castle are fifty-three feet in height, the remains being of the keep, surrounded on two sides by the remains of an original inner moat.
If first impressions hold any credence at all, sight of the magnificent gatehouse at Burton Agnes Hall does not fail to fulfil the expectations of splendour that await the unsuspecting visitor. This is a grand Elizabethan house, full of treasures both old and modern, legends and stories wrapped in its walls, gardens full of interest and surprises, and a history going back to Norman times.
In 1601-1610, it was one of the last major houses built by the celebrated Elizabethan architect, Sir Robert Smythson. Symmetrical in red brick with stone dressings.
Situated on the north east coast of Yorkshire, some six miles inland of Bridlington, the bracing climate at Burton Agnes Hall has been cleverly tamed within spectacular walled gardens. Along with the herbaceous borders, the scented garden and the jungle garden, all ages will delight in the giant outdoor board games to be found sheltering between the plants.
Castle Hill is a Scheduled Ancient Monument situated on a hilltop overlooking Huddersfield, in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees. It has been settled for at least 4,000 years. Experts regard it as one of Yorkshire's most important early Iron Age hill forts.
The summit of Castle Hill is by far the most conspicuous landmark in Huddersfield. The Hill has been a place of recreation for hundreds of years and the easily discernable remains of past occupation have made it a subject for legend, speculation and scientific study.
The hill owes its shape to an outlying cap of hard Grenoside sandstone, which has protected the softer stone beneath from erosion. The first people to set eyes on Castle Hill were probably hunters and gatherers of the Mesolithic age, camping amongst the forests which at that time covered the land. In the Neolithic and Bronze Age, there appears to have been widespread travel or trade along the river valleys connecting the Yorkshire Wolds, the Peak District and the Mersey and Ribble estuaries.
"Castle Howard is one of Britain's finest historic houses and is still home to my family whose forebears conceived, designed, and built it over three centuries ago.
The construction of Castle Howard took more than 100 years before it could be said to have been finally completed, and spanned the lifetime of three earls and numerous architects and craftsmen. As the house was built and decorated so the grounds were filled with lakes, temples, monuments and a grand mausoleum. A thriving estate grew up encompassing several villages and acres of farmland.
The most famous Roman site in the Moors is the Cawthorn military complex. Recently work has been underway to re-interpret Cawthorn. Long considered a group of practise camps, it is now clear that the well-preserved earthwork remains include two forts, one with an annexe, together with a temporary camp built to a very odd plan. This site really comes to life as you walk around the Cawthorn Trail.
Although long assumed to be so, experts now consider that the well-known Wheeldale Road may not in fact date to the Roman period. It was perhaps built late in the occupation, at a time when normal standards were not applied and thus it appears ‘less Roman’ in character.
Cawthorn ‘Camps’ and Wheeldale Road are both open to the public. The best preserved Roman Signal Station can be viewed within the grounds of Scarborough Castle.
As one of the most important cities in England, and an important base for holding and administering the north, York was the site for two of the castles William the Conqueror built in the years immediately following his conquest.
This great tower, perched high on a Norman motte, remains a solemn reminder of York's troubled past. In 1068, William the Conqueror constructed a large mound (motte) on the banks of the River Ouse and built a wooden castle at the top. Just over 100 years later, amid the riots in York when a group of Jews took refuge in the tower, it was burned to the ground. Something of a gruesome legend exists about this incident. Apparently, the reddish vein running through the brickwork on the outside of the tower, was 'dyed' by the blood of the Jewish victims as they were mercilessly slaughtered.
A second timber construction was erected but, early in the 13th century, this tower was blown down by a devastating gale. In 1245 Henry III ordered the tower to be rebuilt and strengthened. Consequently, a quatrefoil tower of four overlapping circles - resembling a four-leafed clover - was built, as well as a curtain wall with semi-circular towers, and two gateways built around the bailey of York Castle. The stone building was completed in 1313, but less than fifty years later the castle cracked from top to bottom when part of the mound subsided into the moat. In 1322, Roger de Clifford was hanged by chains from the wall of the tower for opposing Edward II, and after that the keep was known as 'Clifford's Tower'.
The remains of the 12th century castle are dominated by the 100 ft high circular keep, which is supported by six buttresses. In the mid-1990s, the keep was restored, with a wooden roof and two floors rebuilt.
The castle was probably built by Hamelin de Warenne on the site of an earlier Norman castle. The building is considered one of South Yorkshire's primary tourist attractions, and sees in excess of 30,000 visitors per year. It is managed by The Ivanhoe Trust under a unique management agreement between English Heritage and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, who own the land. The Trust exists to maximise the use of the site as an educational resource and tourist attraction.
The name Conisbrough is thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon Cyningesburh - meaning 'the defended burh of the King', suggesting the area once belonged to one of the Anglo-Saxon kings, prior to the Norman Conquest. At the time of the Norman Conquest the manor of Conisbrough was held by King Harold
Conisbrough Castle, Castle Hill, Conisbrough, Doncaster. South Yorkshire. DN12 3BU
The first castle was built in the 11th century on high ground at Castleton by the de Brus family who also built Skelton Castle. Stone from the first Danby Castle was used at the beginning of the 14th Century to construct the present palatial castle which dominates the Esk Valley. It was unusual in having a projecting tower in each corner.
A unique 14th Century castle standing on a spur of Danby High Moor and commanding extensive views over the Esk valley.
At the time of the Norman Conquest, Danby was part of the Saxon estate of Crumberclive. The estate was given to the Fitz Baldric Family who may have built the first castle in the area, at Castleton west of Danby. The Fitz Baldrics lost their land when they rebelled against the king and it passed on to the Brus or Bruce family who rebuilt the earth and timber castle in stone. Robert de Brus founded Guisborough Priory in 1119. In 1272 the Brus family died childless, and the Estate passed to the Thwengs, and then to the Latimers, whose Arms appear on the North Front of Danby Castle.
Danby Castle Farm, Danby, Whitby, North Yorkshire. YO21
Danes’ Dyke consists of prehistoric earthworks, possibly intended as a defence, and woodland that runs 2½ miles across Flamborough Head. Despite its name, Danes’ Dyke had nothing to do with the Danes, and was a much earlier site - probably dating back to the Bronze Age. Indeed the site was excavated by Major-General Augustus Pitt-Rivers in 1879 and Bronze Age arrowheads were found. Today, the area attracts many resident breeding and wintering birds, and is an excellent site for bird watchers at migration times.
The earthwork acts as a western boundary, isolating almost 13km2 of headland, which is otherwise defined by high, vertical chalk cliffs, except for the two small coves of North Landing and South Landing. It effectively cuts off the peninsula,turning it into a fortified area, which would have contained all the resources needed to support a sizeable population
Danes Dyke, Flamborough Head, Flamborough, East Yorkshire YO15 1AG
Gilling Castle near Gilling East, North Yorkshire is a fortified tower house built in the early 14th century, possibly on the site of an early Norman castle.
This was then extended in the 16th and 18th centuries.
Now used by Ampleforth School.
The castle was originally the home of the Etton family, who appeared there at the end of the 12th century. It was Thomas de Etton who built the fortified manor house in the 14th Century - a large tower almost square, whose basement still forms the core of the present building.
Gilling Castle, now St Martin’s Ampleforth Gilling East York YO62 4HP
Hazelwood Castle is a magnificent old castellated edifice, charmingly situated on an eminence, and famed for the extent and richness of its prospects. The front of the mansion consists of a centre and two wings, and the entrance is approached by a flight of 17 stone steps. The entrance hall is 50 feet by 30 feet. Round the walls a beautiful frieze is supported by fine fluted columns, and above the frieze are shields emblazoned with the family arms. The ceilings of the principal rooms are exceedingly rich in gilding and decoration. The castle is about three miles S.W. of Tadcaster.
The recorded history of Hazlewood Castle starts with the Domesday Book carried out for King William.
The entry is for Sir Mauger the Vavasour residing in the Hall of a Thane at Hazlewood.
Castle Hazlewood, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, LS24 9NJ
Harewood House, home to the Queen's cousin, the Earl of Harewood, provides a wonderful day out for all the family.
The House, with its outstanding art collections, splendid State Rooms and fascinating 'Below Stairs' exhibition, is set in spectacular grounds, which include formal gardens and gentle woodland walks. A visit to Harewood offers the opportunity to marvel at the collections in the House, explore the Gardens and Bird Garden, take a boat trip across the lake, (subject to availability), while youngsters can enjoy the challenge and excitement of the Adventure Playground!
Harewood House Trust, Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, LS17 9LG. UK
Surrounded by spectacular banks and ditches, the great medieval castle’s impressive ruins stand beside the attractive market town of Helmsley. The fortress was probably begun after 1120 by Walter Espec – ‘Walter the Woodpecker’. Renowned for piety as well as soldiering, this Norman baron of ‘gigantic stature’ also founded nearby Rievaulx Abbey and Kirkham Priory,
Most of Helmsley’s surviving stonework defences were raised during the late 12th and 13th centuries, by the crusader Robert de Roos and his descendants. They include a pair of immensely strong ‘barbican’ entrances and the high, keep like east tower, unusually D-shaped in plan, which still dominates the town.
Helmsley Castle, Helmsley, North Yorkshire, YO62 5AB
Hornby Castle is a commanding structure, dominating the landscape from its lofty position above the River Wenning where the house has a 16th Century tower. The present building was re-modelled to designs by Edmund Sharpe and E G Paley in the 1850s and later altered by Paley and Austin towards the end of the 19th Century. In the mid 17th Century the castle fell to Colonel Ralph Assheton, the leader of the Parliamentary forces in North Lancashire and it was ordered that the castle be destroyed or rendered unusable. The order was not carried out and we have the good fortune to be able to enjoy this Grade I Listed Building to this day. The castle is a private residence and is not open to the public. However, a good viewing point for the castle and the River Wenning is from the bridge on the Main Street
A stronghold of Medieval Kings, Knaresborough Castle still stands towering over the River Nidd. It was built around 1100 by a Norman baron on a cliff above the River Nidd.
In the 1170s Hugh de Moreville and his followers took refuge there after assassinating Thomas Beckett.
The castle was later rebuilt between 1301-1307 by Edward I and later completed by Edward II. The castle was taken by Parliamentarian troops in 1644 during the Civil War, and largely destroyed in 1648 not as the result of warfare, but because of an order from Parliament to dismantle all Royalist castles.
The King's Tower was the site of Royal visitors and is the glory of the Castle to this day. It also houses the dungeon where you can find out for yourself how it felt to be at the King's mercy.
The Courthouse Museum is housed in the Castle's oldest building where you can learn about Knaresborough's royal residents, infamous locals and more!
Knaresborough Castle, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire HG5 8DE
Markenfield Hall is a spectacular mediaeval house, built mainly in 1310, and completely surrounded by its moat. It has been wonderfully little altered since, and is the most complete surviving medium-sized fourteenth century country house left in England.
The story of Markenfield Hall is one of the saddest and most romantic in English history. Deeply intertwined with the fortunes of nearby Fountains Abbey, this great house was one of the most important centres of the Rising of the North in 1569, which was the cause of its tragic downfall.
John de Markenfield held high office under the King, but this powerful family was brought to its tragic end by their leadership of the Rising in 1569.
The Rising was put down with great savagery. Over 200 who took part were hanged, drawn and quartered. The Markenfield family was forced to flee abroad and the house was confiscated for high treason.
The childhood and favourite home of Richard III, Middleham Castle was a fortress of the mighty Neville family, Earls of Westmoreland and of Warwick. Around the massive 12th Century central keep, they progressively constructed three ranges of luxurious chambers and lodgings, turning the castle into a fortified palace by the mid-15th century.
Though roofless, many of these buildings survive, making Middleham a fascinating castle to explore. Here Richard spent part of his youth, in the guardianship of ‘Warwick the Kingmaker’. An exhibition about notable personalities from the castle’s past includes a replica of the beautiful Middleham Jewel, a 15th-century pendant decorated with a large sapphire found near the castle.
Middleham Castle, Leyburn, North Yorkshire. DL8 4QR
Whilst not in Yorkshire now, it once fell just within the bounds of the North Riding.
Mortham Tower and house are planned around a courtyard with a south wall and gateway. The hall occupies the north range, with the later medieval tower and an attached wing to the northwest. The tower is square, with a 20th century flat roof behind a parapet with corner bartizans, and a northeast stair turret partly built into the attached range.
Mortham Tower was built by the Rokeby family following the destruction of their former residence by Scots raiders. Initially much added to, the tower declined in the 18th century, and was used as a farm outbuilding until its' restoration in 1939.
Mortham tower Greta Bridge, Barnard Castle, County Durham
The Roman-built Multangular Tower stands in the Museum Gardens in the centre of York. It has been called the Multangular Tower since 1683. Between 1315 and 1683 it was called Elrondyng. The Multangular Tower was probably built during the reign of the Emperor Severus who was in York between 209 and 211.
It was built as part of the Roman defences that began in the late second or early third centuries AD. The main feature of these defences was the south-west wall of the Roman fortress that overlooked the River Ouse and the civil town (called the colonia) on the opposite bank. This wall has been described as one of the grandest examples of military architecture of its age.
Nappa Hall is a fine example of a 15th century fortified manor house. It was built in 1459 by James Metcalfe at a time when there were frequent raids by the Scots and is the ancestral home of the Metcalfe family. Usually referred to as a fortified manor house, sources suggest the lookout tower on the south-east corner which supports a viewing seat, was merely an observation tower for the ornamental gardens stretching south of the Hall down to the banks of the river Ure.
A single-storey central hall sits between two towers, a four-storey western tower and a two-storey eastern tower. The four-storey tower has a turret, lit by slit vents, for a spiral staircase that climbs to crenellated parapets.
Paull Holme Tower is now a 30ft high, 3
storey ruin. It is all that remains of a 15th century fortified manor house which once had a moat, a portcullis and crenellations. Archaeological evidence,
the 1672 hearth tax returns, early 19th century maps and the location
of the moat (now filled in) all indicate that this was a much larger house with two towers
and a range in-between. Its similarity to Kirby Muxloe castle (Leicestershire) and Hussey
Tower (Boston, Lincolnshire) suggests that it dates from around 1450-1480. The Holme family
owned the manor of Paull Holme from 1295 – 1928, but they gave
up residency there c.1700 and the house was occupied by various tenants from this date
onwards. The recently formed Paull Holme Preservation Society aims to restore the tower
and open it to the public.
Pontefract Castle has had a long and colourful
history since it was first started in the years following the Norman Conquest. It was
frequently at the centre of national events, acting as fortress, temporary home for lord
or king, centre of local administration, prison for important prisoners and armoury up
to its demolition in 1649.
In the Middle Ages, Pontefract Castle was one of the most important fortresses in the
country. It became a royal castle in 1399, upon the accession of Henry Bolinbroke to
the throne. Richard II subsequently died in the castle the following year after being
one of many important prisoners to lodge there.
During the English Civil War it was held by the King's supporters throughout three
sieges, but as a result, after 1649, it was largely demolished. The remains of the castle,
and the underground magazine chamber, are open to visitors. There is also a working
blacksmith on site.
Pontefract Castle, Castle Chain, Pontefract,
West Yorkshire. WF8 1QH
Pickering Castle is set in an attractive
moors-edge market town. It is a classic and wellpreserved example of an early earthwork
castle refortified in stone during the 13th and 14th centuries, centred upon a shellkeep
crowning an impressive motte.
Raised shortly after the Norman Conquest, Pickering was an early motte and bailey castle
- a simple, timber construction built on top of a grassy mound, surrounded by earthen
banks and ditches. The remains of the stone buildings now sitting on top of the mound,
and scattered around the inner bailey, date from the 13th century, and the curtain wall
with its three towers date from the reign of Edward II.
Little survives of the shell-keep - a small section of flat, external walling with a
circular inner wall, at one time containing several lean-to buildings. Originally the
keep had two entrances: the doorway and steps of the lesser entrance to the east can still
be seen, although the archway to the main entrance to the west has completely disappeared.
Pickering Castle, Pickering, North Yorkshire.
The dramatic 14thC castle built by the mighty Neville's has been home to Lord Barnard's family since 1626. In the well-preserved halls and chambers, history comes vibrantly to life. Throughout the castle the rooms display fine furniture, impressive artwork and elaborate architecture. Visitors can also enjoy the deer park, large walled gardens, coach and carriage collection, woodland adventure playground, picnic area and gift shop. Part of the stables has been converted to a tearoom, where former stalls have been incorporated to create an atmospheric setting. Events take place throughout the Summer.
Ravensworth Castle was the home of the Fitz-Hugh
family. Built in the late 14th century out of sandstone, the castle was used as a quarry
by the inhabitants of Ravensworth village when it was abandoned in the 16th century. It
is now listed in the "Buildings at Risk" register, launched in 1998 by English
Heritage: "Much repointing and consolidation needed to all parts of the building.
Significant parts of the standing remains, including the gate tower are now at risk."
The castle originally had curtain walls and three towers. The best preserved part of the
castle is the three-story north west keep / gate tower and its arch. Here was the main entrance
to the castle. The arch was protected by a portcullis, the guiding slots for which can still
Of the south east and south west towers little is left. The remains of some ancillary
buildings can be seen: a belfry tower towards the southwest, and a rectangular building
that stood in the centre of the castle walls. It is not known if this latter structure
was residential or used for stabling. One can also trace the water defences, later adapted
to form water gardens.
Ravensworth Castle, Ravensworth, Richmond,
North Yorkshire DL11 7ET
Richmond is among the oldest Norman stone fortresses in Britain, begun in the decades after the Conquest. The towering keep, over 30 metres (100 feet) high and remarkably complete within, was added during the reign of Henry II in the 1170s: its roof provides splendid views over the clustered houses of the pretty market town. Traditionally King Arthur lies sleeping in a cavern beneath the castle: more certainly, conscientious objectors were imprisoned in the keep during World War I. Their story is told in an interactive display exploring Richmond’s nine centuries of development, and woven into the contemporary Cockpit Garden. Created to reflect the castle’s history and architecture, this tranquil haven of topiary, grasses and herbaceous borders has superb vistas over the river Swale.
Richmond Castle, Richmond, North Yorkshire.
Welcome to Ripley Castle, home of the Ingilby
family for the last seven hundred years. Our history is one of political, military, religious
and social turbulence, of plague and persecution, of renaissance, enlightenment and industrial
revolution. It is a tale of romance, courage, loyalty and recklessness. There is no final
chapter because we are still here, still enjoying the adventure.
Henry Ingilby collected taxes for Edward III and helped the king to finance the construction
of Windsor Castle. His brother Thomas saved the king's life and was knighted for his courage.
Sir William held high office and served Henry VIII, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I through
some of their darkest days. Two of his sons toured the countryside inspiring rebellion:
they were 'the most dangerous papists in the North of England'. The Blessed Francis Ingilby
paid the ultimate price: he was executed in 1586.
James I stayed at the castle in 1603. By 1605 the Ingilbys were plotting to kill him:
nine of the eleven known conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot were close relations or associates.
The Ripley Castle Estate, Harrogate, North
Yorkshire, HG3 3AY
Sandal Castle is an early 12th century earthwork
motte and bailey fortress, founded by William de Warenne. In 1180, Hamelin de Plantagenet
founded the stone castle, which was strengthen throughout the 13th century. In the wide
outer ditch, are the foundations of the gatehouse, with fragments of the hall, a large
well and other foundations in the bailey. Guarding the motte, are the fine ashlar plinths
of twin round towers and an unusual D-shaped inner barbican, encased by a rock-cut ditch.
The site is owned by Wakefield Museums & Arts
Department and is open daily, from dawn until dusk. The Visitor Centre is open, Summer
Monday to Sunday 11:00-4:30pm, Winter Saturday and Sunday 12:00-4:00pm.
With over 2,500 years of turbulent history
behind it, Scarborough Castle defends a prominent headland between two bays, with sheer
drops to the sea.
Before the castle was built, this natural fortress was favoured by prehistoric
A rare 3,000-year-old sword from the Bronze Age is now displayed in the Castle’s
interactive exhibition. Yorkshire’s most spectacular castle has endured sieges from
the Roman army, attacks from Viking invaders, medieval kings, Civil War battles and German
naval bombardment during WWII. Now you can climb to the battlement viewing platforms for
dramatic coastline views, and take tea in the 18th-century Master Gunner’s House.
Scarborough Castle, Castle Road, Scarborough,
North Yorkshire. YO11 1HY
It was built as a fortified manor house in 1379 with four very tall towers and a large gatehouse, close to an earlier motte castle from 1140. It was in ruins in the 17th century and the walls were partially demolished. The castle, which is now in the grounds of a local farm, is a mere shadow of its former self. There are only a few turrets and the corners of the keep remaining.
Sheriff Hutton is so named because it was once held by Bertram de Bulmer, the Sheriff of York who died in 1166. It passed to the Neville family through marriage, and in 1382, John, Lord Neville, secured a license to crenellate the walls (making it a castle). In 1425, the Neville estates were partitioned. The younger son retained the title and the Durham estates and Richard Neville (the King-maker) inherited the Yorkshire estates, including Sheriff Hutton Castle.
Sheriff Hutton Castle is undergoing extensive repair, to try to save the fabric of the remaining buildings, and make the castle safe.
Sheriff Hutton Castle, Sheriff Hutton, North Yorkshire. YO60 6TA
Skipsea Castle is an impressive Norman earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by Drogo de Beauvriere. Standing on an island in Skipsea Mere and completely encased by a ditch, with a counterscarp bank, is the large 11th century motte. A wooden causeway once crossed the mere, to the large crescent shaped bailey, which is strongly defended by an inner and outer ditch and rampart. In the 12th century, William le Gros founded the stone castle, with the motte supporting a shell keep and a gatehouse but sadly only fragments of a wing-wall remain. This unusual castle was finally abandoned in the 14th century, after being destroyed in 1221, by the order of King Henry III.
Earthworks are all that remain of this Norman motte and bailey castle, built around 1086.
Skipsea Castle, Beeford Road, Skipsea, East Riding Yorkshire. YO25 8AQ
Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England and is well worth a visit at any season of the year.
Visitors can explore every corner of this impressive history-rich castle, which withstood a three-year siege during the Civil War. View the Banqueting Hall, the Kitchen, the Bedchamber and Privy. Climb from the depths of the Dungeon to the top storey of the Watch Tower.
Snape Castle is a fascinating historic building which during its existence has had many famous occupants, many being kinsmen to several English Kings and prominent families. There was a manor on the site of the present castle, built in 1250 by Lord Ranulph Fitzranulf, which passed into the ownership of the Neville family. They subsequently replaced it by building the castle between 1420 – 1450 and it remained in their family until 1798. In 1483 Lady Cecily, being a Neville, and then later the widowed Duchess of York and mother of Richard III, came to live in the castle to be later joined by Richard’s wife, Queen Anne. Lady Cecily was the grandmother of the ‘Princes in the Tower’.
Catherine Parr, widow of Sir John Neville, lived here for 10 years before becoming Henry VIII's sixth wife in 1543.
Snape Castle, Snape, Nr Beadale, North Yorkshire. DL8 2TW
Walmgate Bar consists of a passageway with arches at each end and a rectangular gatehouse with two storeys above. At the back of the gatehouse is a timber-framed projection supported on two stone columns. This was probably added in 1584-86. Walmgate Bar is the only bar to still have its barbican, portcullis and wooden inner doors.
The first gatehouse was built in the mid-twelfth century. The barbican was added in the fourteenth century. Heads were also displayed on this bar. In 1469 the head of Robert Hillyard was displayed.
The castle is owned by Scarborough Council and is said to be “an important example of a high status medieval manor complex”.
Ayton Castle is a late 14th century three storey stone tower house, with rib-vaulted chambers and twin mural stairs to give access to the upper floors. One corner stands to the height of the wall-head, where surviving corbels give evidence of a machicolated parapet and a corner turret.
To the east are the remnants of the inner and outer bailey ramparts, with the grass covered foundations of an inner gateway and traces of fishponds.
Ayton Castle, West Ayton, Scarborough, North Yorkshire