Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle

Location: Skipton, North Yorkshire Map

Constructed: 1090 by Robert de Romille

Tel. 01756 792442

Open: daily

Closed: 25 Dec

Entrance Fee: adult £5.80

children (5- 15 yrs) £3.20

Official site


History of Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle is a massive medieval fortress situated in Skipton, North Yorkshire in United Kingdom. Skipton Castle was constructed in 1090 by Robert de Romille as a wooden timber fortress. The citadel was given to Robert Clifford by king Edward II. In 1310 new owners replaced the previous fort with a stone castle. Just four years later Robert Clifford was killed in 1314 in the Battle of Bannockburn (final scenes of "Braveheart" in case you were wandering which battle is that) where English were defeated by the Scottish warriors.


During the English Civil War (1642- 51) Skipton Castle became known as one of the Royalist centres. Parliamentary forces under command of Oliver Cromwell laid a siege to the citadel. During constant bombardment the defenders used to hang sheep fleeces on the walls of the castle to reduce damage by the cannons. This significantly decreased effectiveness of gun powder lengthening the stalemate to three years until 1645 when the defenders surrendered. To this day you can see fleece in the coat of arms of the Clifford family. Military defences were badly damaged by the victors to prevent further use by the enemy. Anne Clifford was allowed to restore her castle in 1650's at the war's end with a condition that remodelling would not make castle impregnable to cannon fire. Walls and roofs of reconstructed residence were made thinner to follow an agreement. At the completion of restoration in 1659 Anne Clifford planted a Yew tree in the court yard.


The castle has six fortified towers , with a domestic body that connects two towers on the north side, protected by a precipice towards the Eller Beck River. The first floor comprises the original kitchen, the main room, rooms and the room of the lord. The new kitchens, the storage sector and work warehouses are on the ground floor. The remaining towers are of a military nature and purpose. In the 16th and 17th centuries, a new entrance staircase (replacing the original drawbridge), a domestic wing and larger windows in the original structure were added. The roof is completely intact.

An exterior wall encloses interior courtyards and subsidiary buildings, including the ruins of a 12th-century chapel. The wall is crossed by a Norman entrance. The east tower of the entrance contains a 17th century shell grotto, one of two remaining from this period. (The other is in Woburn Abbey ).