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 located in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales.  Bolton Castle was constructed between 1378 and 1399 by Richard le Scrope, 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton. Amazingly his family still owns the castle. A quadrangular citadel played an important brief, but important role during the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion that unfolded in 1536. Breaking off with Catholic Church by Henry VIII caused a popular uprising against dissolution of monasteries and auctioning Church's lands. Sir John Scrope, 8th Baron Scrope of Bolton allowed Adam Sedbar, Abbot of Jervaulx to enter his castle and offered him protection from the pursuit. It was fairly evident that standing up to king Henry is futile and dangerous so the castle was abandoned in search of a safer heaven. Royal army captured fortifications and torched them in retribution for betrayal. Abbot Adam Sedbar was eventually caught and executed for treason, while Sir John Scrope somehow managed to win back trust of the monarch. Despite his obvious treason he got back his seat in Parliament.


Just few decades later Bolton Castle got a chance to make history again. This time it was it Mary, Queen of Scots, who visited the castle in 1568. Technically "visiting" is another way of saying she was incarcerated here after her defeat at the Battle of Langside in 1568. Her captor Henry Scrope, 9th Baron Scrope of Bolton decided that Carlisle is less suited as prison due to lack of security. So fearing possible attempts to free the Catholic queen by her supporters he was gracious enough to give her his own apartments in the South- West tower of the castle. There she spent a year under supervision of Henry Scrope and with help of 51 knights, servants, cooks, hairdressers, apothecary, physician, surgeon, ladies- in- waiting... and so on. Well, you get the point. Poor thing. If it wasn't for her end anyone would like to get her life. She was eventually executed in 1587 in Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire. Although many eye witnesses that her spirit did not leave the walls of the citadel. Her ghost is said to be walking around empty halls and rooms.


Now you would think the history would offer the castle peaceful and serene life after it, but no John Scrope had to side with a king during English Civil War and before you knew it Parliament forces besieged Bolton Castle in Autumn 1644 until November 1645. One of the legends state that military commander of the fort Colonel Chaytor cut off his hand and threw it to the troops below the walls. Eventually the Royalist garrison ate all reserves and all the horses that they had. The defenders accepted defeat. John Scrope died shortly thereafter in 1646 from plague. He was 23 at the time. The bill of £7,000 that Parliament sent it to the owner of the castle was obviously never paid.