Pickering Castle

Pickering Castle

Location: Pickering, North Yorkshire  Map

Constructed: 1069–1070 by William the Conqueror


Description of Pickering Castle

Pickering Castle is a medieval motte- and- bailey citadel in Pickering, North Yorkshire in United Kingdom. Pickering Castle was constructed in 1069–1070 by William the Conqueror to secure newly conquered lands after his invasion of 1066. This first building consisted of a large, central wall (the core castle), the outer palisades (which included the outer bailey) and interior buildings, especially a donjon at the highest point of the castle. Some visitors claim to have seen a ghost of a grey monk who walks outside of the walls of the inner castle. Those who dared to come close to him claim that monk's face is covered by blood. He is also carrying some items underneath his cloak, but no one got a good at what it is.



Pickering Castle was originally a motte built of wood and earth. It was later rebuilt in stone and given a donjon. The current inner courtyard was originally the outer bailey and was built between 1180 and 1187. Between 1216 and 1236 the wooden keep was replaced by a stone one. The chapel was also built at this time, a reconstruction of which can still be found in the castle today. An outer courtyard and curtain wall, three towers and two moats - one outside the curtain wall and one in the outer courtyard - were added between 1323 and 1326. Later, a gatehouse, ovens, a knight's hall and warehouses were added. The castle complex is located in the valley of Pickering and is bounded on the west by a steep cliff that was easy to defend.



The first, wooden version was built by the Normans under William the Conqueror in 1069-1070. This first building consisted of a great central rampart (the inner bailey), the outer stockades (enclosing the outer bailey) and inner buildings, notably a keep at the highest point of the motte. Moats were also created, making it difficult to attack the walls. The main purpose of the castle at the time was to maintain control of the area after the Harrying of the North.

The ruins are particularly well preserved because Pickering Castle was one of the few castles unaffected by either the Wars of the Roses or the 17th century English Civil War.

In 1926 the Ministry of Works (the predecessor of English Heritage) took over the castle. It is a Scheduled Monument and open to the public.