Sheriff Hutton Castle

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not to be confused with Hutton Castle in the Scottish Borders

Sheriff Hutton Castle
Sheriff Hutton, North Yorkshire, England
Sheriff hutton castle.jpg
Coordinates54°05′16″N 1°00′17″W / 54.08778°N 1.00472°W / 54.08778; -1.00472Coordinates: 54°05′16″N 1°00′17″W / 54.08778°N 1.00472°W / 54.08778; -1.00472
TypeStone quadrangular fortress
Site history
Builtc. 1135–1154

Sheriff Hutton Castle is a ruined quadrangular castle in the village of Sheriff Hutton, North Yorkshire, England.


The original motte and bailey castle, the remains of which can be seen to the south of the churchyard, was built here in the Forest of Galtres by Bertram de Bulmer, Sheriff of York during the reign of King Stephen (c. 1135–1154).

The stone castle was built at the western end of the village by John, Lord Neville in the late fourteenth century. In 1377, John Nevill obtained a charter for a market on Monday and an annual fair on the eve of the exaltation of the Holy Cross (14 September). A licence to crenellate was granted by Richard II in 1382, although it is unknown whether building work had commenced before this date. The building has been credited to John Llewyn, who also built nearby Bolton Castle in 1378, on stylistic and documentary grounds.

The castle passed to John's son, Ralph Neville, the first Earl of Westmorland. Upon Ralph's death in 1425, the Neville estates were partitioned. The younger Ralph retained the title and the Durham estates and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, later known as "Warwick the Kingmaker", inherited the Yorkshire estates, including Sheriff Hutton.

Upon the death of Richard Neville in 1471 at the Battle of Barnet, his lands were given to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Edward IV. Richard often stayed at the castle during his tenure as Lord of the North. Its proximity to York made it convenient to Richard.

By the middle of October 1480, Richard was at Sheriff Hutton where he received news from the Earl of Northumberland that the Scots might attempt retaliation for the raiding party that Richard had led across the borders. Northumberland wrote to the magistrates of York ordering them to prepare an armed force. The men of York sent an alderman to Richard at Sheriff Hutton seeking his advice.

Sheriff Hutton Castle

In 1484, Richard established a royal household for the young Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of George of Clarence, and John, Earl of Lincoln. In July 1484, Richard established the Council of the North, with its chief headquarters at Sheriff Hutton and Sandal Castle. The Council lasted for a century and a half.[citation needed]

In 1485, while awaiting the invasion of Henry Tudor at Nottingham, Richard sent his niece, Elizabeth of York, her sisters, and the Earls of Warwick, Lincoln, Lord Morley and John of Gloucester, to the castle.[citation needed]

After Richard's death at the Battle of Bosworth, the castle became the property of Henry VII.[citation needed] John Skelton visited the castle in 1495 and wrote a poem "The Garlande of Laurell" about lady Elizabeth Tilney (countess of Surrey, 1st wife of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, later 2nd Duke of Norfolk). Howards lived in the castle, although it still belonged to the crown, because Thomas Howard, later 2nd Duke of Norfolk was King's Lieutenant in North from 1489-1499 and possibly constable of Sheriff Hutton Castle.[citation needed] In 1499/1500 Sir Thomas Darcy (in 1509 made 1st Baron Darcy) became the castle's constable and steward (probably replacing Surrey).[citation needed] In 1509 Sir Thomas Darcy was then replaced by Sir Richard Cholmondeley.[citation needed] (Another source claims in 1525 the castle was where Henry VIII sent Henry Fitzroy to be raised, suggesting it still belonged to the crown.) A survey of this date describes the castle as being in need of repair. In 1536 Sir Henri sold the castle to the Howard family.[citation needed]

In 1537 Thomas Howard, the second Duke of Norfolk made repairs to the castle but, following the Council's relocation to York in the mid-sixteenth century, the castle went into decline. (Note:2nd Duke of Norfolk died in 1524, it most likely was his son and namesake-Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.)[citation needed]

A further campaign of repairs was undertaken by Henry, Earl of Huntingdon in 1572. The Earl hoped the President of the Council would use the castle as a residence, and he described it as an 'olde Castell aamoste ruinated.'[1] In 1618 it was again described as ruinous. The castle was acquired by the Ingram family in 1622, and stone from the site was used by them in the building of nearby Sheriff Hutton House.[citation needed]

The castle remained in the Ingram family until the early twentieth century, by which time the ruins were being used as a farmyard. It was designated a scheduled ancient monument in the 1950s, and has recently undergone some repairs by English Heritage. Today the castle is privately owned.[citation needed]


The castle is quadrangular in form, with four rectangular corner towers connected by ranges of buildings, enclosing an inner courtyard. The northern and western sides are straight, whereas those on the south and east contain obtuse, outward pointing angles at their centres. The entrance lies in the east wall, protected by a gatehouse.[citation needed]

Only sections of the towers stand to their original height, and the ranges of buildings and curtain walls between have now largely gone. A middle and outer ward originally existed, but these are now covered by the adjacent farm.[citation needed]

The castle is a Grade II* listed building,[2][3] and recognised as an internationally important structure.[4]


  1. ^ G. Dyfnallt Owen, ed., HMC, Manuscripts Marquess of Bath, vol. 5 (London, HMSO, 1980), p. 191
  2. ^ "Sheriff Hutton Castle". Heritage Gateway. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Sheriff Hutton Castle, Sheriff Hutton". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Images of England. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  • McCavana, Kate (1993). Sheriff Hutton Castle: An Archaeological Survey of the South West Tower and South Range (Report). University of York.

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