Friday, 24 April 2015

A Fortified Manor House Built on Rock: Spofforth Castle

Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire

A fascinating and exciting ruin to explore, with lots of hidden nooks and crannies, Spofforth Castle is built on a rocky outcrop and was the principal seat of the Percys until the late 14th century.

Originally a fortified manor house, it was built by William de Percy, a favourite of William the Conqueror, in the 11th century. It is reputed that rebel barons drew up the Magna Carta here in 1215.


Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire


A license to crenelate was granted to a Henry de Percy in 1308. Unfortunately the Percys supported the House of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses and, following the battle of Towton in 1461, the Yorkists burnt the castle and plundered the surrounding countryside.

Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire

Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire



In 1559, the ruined castle was restored by Henry, Lord Percy, but the seat of Percy power was now Alnwick in Northumbria, and 1604 saw the last recorded occupant, the castle finally being reduced to a ruin again during the English Civil War.

It is now under the guardianship of English Heritage, and entrance is free.


Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire

Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire

Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire


One of the many interesting features, is that it is built on a rocky outcrop, and the solid face forms one side of the west range, with a series of cut steps and a passage (blocked) that used to lead up to the great hall from the undercroft. (Excellent couple of worn steps, for worn step aficionados...)

Spofforth Castle, Spofforth, North Yorkshire


A fascinating and atmospheric ruin to visit, if you're ever in the area!

Thanks for reading!

Anne

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