Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle


Location: North Yorkshire Map

Constructed: 1378- 1399  by Richard le Scrope

Tel. 01969 623981

Open: daily 11am- 5pm, 19th Feb- 30th Oct

Closed: 23- 25 Dec

Cost: Adults- £8.50
Concessions - £7 (O.A.P, students and children)
Family Ticket - £30.00 (2 adults and up to 3 children/concessions, must include 1 child)

Official site


Description of Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle is a 14th-century castle in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, England. The nearby village of Castle Bolton was named after the castle. An architectural monument of category I, included in the list of ancient monuments. The castle was damaged and looted during the English Revolution, but most of it survived. Never put up for sale and is still owned by descendants of the Scroop family.



The castle was built between 1378 and 1399 by Richard, 1st Baron Scroop of Bolton. The license for its construction was granted in July 1379, and the contract with the stonemason John Lewin was made in September 1378. Construction work cost 18 thousand marks. Sir Francis Knollys wrote that the castle had "the highest walls of any house he saw".

In 1536, John, 8th Baron Scroop supported the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion against the religious reforms of King Henry VIII and granted asylum to Adam Sedbar, abbot of Jervol. As a result, John Scroop was forced to flee to his father-in-law at Skipton Castle, and Abbot Sedbar was caught and executed. The king ordered Bolton Castle to be set on fire, causing great damage to them; over the following years, part of the damage was repaired. The Baron received a royal pardon and again took his seat in Parliament.

Mary Stuart
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned at Bolton Castle for six months. After the defeat of Scotland at the Battle of Langside in 1568, she fled to England, jeopardizing the position of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I. Mary was initially held at Carlisle Castle under the supervision of Henry, 9th Baron Scroop, but as she proved unsuitable for this purpose, in July 1568 Mary was transferred to Bolton. Here, Sir Francis Knollis became her warden, who provided the queen with Henry Scroop's private quarters in the southwest tower. Of her retinue, consisting of 51 knights, servants and ladies-in-waiting, only 30 people and six ladies-in-waiting were placed in the castle; the rest settled nearby. The royal court consisted of cooks, grooms, a hairdresser, a seamstress, a pharmacist, a doctor and a surgeon. Bolton Castle was not originally suitable for the queen's residence, so tapestries, carpets and furniture were borrowed from local wealthy houses and nearby Barnard Castle in County Durham. Queen Elizabeth herself lent several pewter decanters, as well as a copper teapot.

Maria's guards allowed her to walk around the neighborhood and hunt. Her main entertainment in the castle was the intricate hairstyles that the lady-in-waiting Maria Seton did for her. Francis Knollis taught her English, as the Queen only spoke French, Latin and Scots. She even met with local "papists" (Catholics), for which Knollis and Scroop were severely reprimanded. In January 1569 Mary was moved to Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire where she spent the next 18 years until her execution in 1587.

Later history
After the death in 1630 of Emanuel Scroop, 1st Earl of Sunderland, who had no legitimate children, Mary, the eldest of his three illegitimate daughters, inherited Bolton Castle. She married Charles Paulet, 6th Marquess of Winchister and 1st Duke of Bolton.

The castle is currently owned by their descendant Harry Ord-Powlet, 8th Baron Bolton. Bolton Castle, partly ruined and partly restored, is a tourist attraction run by the Baron's son, Thomas Ord-Paulet, and his wife. On the territory there is a large garden, including a labyrinth, an apothecary's garden, a meadow with wild flowers, a rose garden and a vineyard. For several months, visitors can watch falconry. Sometimes the castle is rented out for events.

Filming location
The castle has been the setting for several films, including Ivanhoe (1952) and Elizabeth (1998).