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More Castles In Yorkshire

Updated on June 5, 2014

Pickering Castle

Pickering Castle
Pickering Castle | Source
Pickering Castle:
Pickering Castle, Castlegate, Pickering, North Yorkshire YO18 7AX, UK

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Work began on Pickering Castle in 1069, originally as a wooden motte and bailey, and later converted to stone.

Between 1180 and 1187 the inner curtain wall, the inner entrance and the the Coleman Tower were replaced.

From 1207-10 the bridges, inner bailey entrance, the staircase to the keep and the outer ward entrance were replaced.

The walls were strengthened, the inner entrance further upgraded, the outer shell of the keep rebuilt, and a chapel and the old hall built between 1218 and 1236.

In 1267 Henry III granted the castle and estate to his young son Edmund, and then was passed to Edmund's son Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. When Thomas married Alice de Lacy, extensive work was carried out to make the castle more comfortable before they took up residence, including building the new hall.

Around 1323, Pickering came under threat from the Scots, and the constable was ordered to further strengthen the defences. The ditches were cleared and the wooden palisade was replaced by a stone curtain wall with four towers. Local materials were used, and the estate was expected to finance the building work while making a profit for the King.

Under the Tudors and Stuarts the castle was in decline, with finer building materials being removed by the constable, Sir Richard Cholmley to build his new house at Roxby. No repair work was ever carried out, and subsequently the castle was only suited as a court and prison.

In 1652 the estate was sold by the Commonwealth government for £6967 8s 7½d, with the castle itself valued at a mere £200. At the Restoration the castle was returned to Charles II.

Helmsley Castle

Helmsley Castle
Helmsley Castle | Source
Helmsley Castle:
Helmsley Castle, North York Moors National Park, Castlegate, Helmsley, North Yorkshire YO62 5AB, UK

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Helmsley Castle was first built from wood in around 1120, by Walter l'Espec. On his death in 1154 the castle passed to his sister Adelina, who had married Peter de Ross.

In 1186, Sir Robert de Ross, one of the executors of the Magna Carta, began to convert the castle to stone, building the two main towers, the round corner towers and a gatehouse on the southern side of the castle. Robert died in 1227, being buried in Temple Church, and bequeathed the castle to his son William, who lived there from 1227 to 1258 and built a chapel in the courtyard.

William's son Robert inherited the castle and was Lord of Helmsley from 1258 to 1285. During his tenure he raised the east tower, built a new hall and kitchen, strengthened the castle, and constructed a wallto split the castle in two - the south side to be used by the family and the north side to be used by the stewards and officials.

The castle remained with the de Ross family until 1478, when Edmund de Ross sold the castle to Richard of Gloucester. Richard made no changes to the castle as it was already in good condition, and upon Richard's death at Bosworth the castle was returned to Edmund by Henry VII.

Edmund died in 1508 and the castle passed to his cousin, Sir George Manners of Etal, and then to George's son Thomas. Thomas was created Earl of Rutland in 1525. On Thomas' death in 1543 he was succeeded by his son Henry. Henry's son Edward had the old hall converted into a Tudor mansion and the chapel into a kitchen which he linked to the hall by a covered gallery. He also knocked down the old hall and converted the south barbican into a more comfortable residence.

Edward died in 1587 and his brother John inherited the castle, then John's son Roger, and then Roger's younger brother Francis. After Francis died in 1637 the castle passed to George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, who had married Francis' daughter Katherine.

During the English Civil War the castle was besieged by Sir Thomas Fairfax, and after holding for three months before surrendering, Parliament ordered the castle to be slighted. Much of the walls, gates and part of the East Tower were destroyed however, being of little defensive use, the mansion was spared. By this time the castle was owned by Sir George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, who married Fairfax' daughter, Mary in 1657.

George died in 1687 and the castle was sold to Charles Duncombe who was knighted in 1699 and became Lord Mayor of London in 1708. On Charles' death in 1711 the castle was inhereited by his sister's husband, Thomas Brown. Thomas changed his name to Duncombe and had Duncombe Park built by John Vanbrugh, leaving the castle to decay.

The castle is now owned by the Feversham family, and is in the care of English Heritage.

Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle
Knaresborough Castle | Source
Knaresborough Castle:
Knaresborough Castle, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire HG5 8AS, UK

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A castle at Knaresborough is known to have been built by a Norman baron in 1100. Work is recorded as bein carried out by Henry I in 1130, and Hugh de Morville and his followers are known to have stayed at the castle in 1170 after the assassination of Thomas Beckett.

In 1205 King John took control of the castle, and spent considerable money towards improving the castle. Between 1307 and 1312 the castle was rebuilt by Edward I, with further work being done by Edward II, including the construction of the castle keep. In 1372 John of Gaunt acquired the castle for the Duchy o Lancaster, adding to a holdings that also included the castles at Pickering, Pontefract and Tickhill.

Parliamentary forces took the castle in 1644, and in 1648 the castle was mostly destroyed as a result of a parliamentary order to slight all Royalist fortifications.

Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle
Middleham Castle | Source
Middleham Castle:
Middleham Castle, Castle Hill, Middleham, North Yorkshire DL8 4QG, UK

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Middleham Castle was built in 1190 by Robert Fitzrandolph, 3rd Lord of Middleham and Spennithorne. The location was selected as a result of an earlier motte and bailey castle nearby.

From 1270 it was home to the Neville family for two centuries, most notably Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. After he death of Richard, Duke of York in 1460 his young sons George, Duke of Clarence and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, then aged just eleven and eight years old respectively, came to live at Middleham as wards of Warwick.

Warwick fought hard to have the Dukes' older brother Edward on the throne, and earned himself the epithet 'The Kingmaker' after Edward IV was crowned king in 1461, however Edward was not the king Warwick wanted him to be, and Warwick turned against him, imprisoning him at Middleham in 1469. Warwick died at the Battle of Barnet in 1470, and Edward was returned to he throne.

Richard married Warwick's younger daughter Anne in 1472 and their son, Edward of Middleham, was born at the castle in 1473, however he died there after a short illness, likely tuberculosis, in 1484. Richard and Anne were at Nottingham, and were said to be in a state bordering on madness when they heard of their son's death.

Richard was crowned King Richard III in 1483, and as matters of state required him in the capital, he spent very little time at Middleham during his two year reign. Richard died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and the castle was handed down through generations of monarchs until the reign of James I, at which point th castle was sold, and soon after fell into disrepair.

The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.

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© 2014 Rebecca Hillary


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    • bearnmom profile image

      Laura L Scotty 

      4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      I'm not saying the article wasn't of value. What I was pointing out that it was a bit tedious reading through all the dates. Maybe putting into a story line format would have grabbed me. I'm sure there are others who like it just as it is.

    • Rebecca Hillary profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Hillary 

      4 years ago from Yorkshire

      I'm sorry you didn't find it more interesting. Short of building a time machine and going back in time to speak to the people who lived there, all I can do is to give the history of the castles as I know it. I think it is interesting, but not everybody thinks the same way I do, so not eveybody will.

    • bearnmom profile image

      Laura L Scotty 

      4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Although the history of British castles can be interesting, this reads like a history book report. The most interesting fact was that Richard III lost his son while in ownership and was said to have been on the border of madness because of their son's death.

    • Rebecca Hillary profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Hillary 

      4 years ago from Yorkshire

      Thanks for your comment, Shelley. Yes it is a shame that the castles have fallen into disrepair, but in a way I think it adds to their character. I enjoy exploring ruins, and the fact that they've been around for almost 1,000 years makes them even more fascinating.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      4 years ago

      All so beautiful in their way, pity some were not kept up. Unimaginable and amazing to think about that these castles have been standing since the time of William the Conqueror. Up, interesting and beautiful


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