Skipsea Castle is the site of a Norman Motte and bailey castle located south of Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, on the B1249 road at Skipsea Brough. It was a prominent castle, but all that remains visible today are earthworks, the castle itself having been destroyed on the orders of King Henry III.
Skipsea Castle was built around 1086, in the years following the Norman Conquest by Drogo de la Bouerer, the first Earl of Holderness, to defend against Viking raids. A Fleming, he was related to William the Conqueror through marriage to one of William's cousins and took part in the Norman conquest of England. For this service, William the Conqueror placed Drogo's name on the "immortal Roll of Honour of Battle Abbey at Senlac or Hastings" and rewarded Drogo with the "so-called isle of Holderness".
Although Drogo built the castle, he eventually fled back to Flanders after the death of his wife, whom he may have killed. Drogo's hasty flight out of England has given rise to the legend that "Drogo murdered his wife by giving her a poison draught which he led her to believe was a love potion. He then rode a fast horse to the king's court, borrowed a large sum of money from William, and took ship to the continent before news of his deeds could reach the court. The ghost of a 'lady in white' is said to haunt Castle Hill".
In the 13th century, William de Forz, lord of Holderness, rebelled against the king. As a result, in 1221 William de Forz was excommunicated and Skipsea Castle was destroyed. In 1227, William de Forz was reconciled with King Henry III, and the site of Skipsea Castle was returned to him, but without any defences. According to local historians, "the gap in the earthwork known as the Scotch Gap is evidence of this".
The Castle and the Honor of Holderness passed on the death of William de Forz in 1241 to his son William de Forz, 4th Earl of Albemarle (died 1260). His widow Isabella, Countess of Devon, outlived all their children. On her death, Holderness passed to the king.
- "Skipsea Castle".
- "Forz , William de, count of Aumale (b. before 1216, d. 1260". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29480. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Forz , Isabella de, suo jure countess of Devon, and countess of Aumale (1237–1293". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/47209. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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