Sheriff Hutton Castle

Coordinates: 54°05′16″N 1°00′17″W / 54.08778°N 1.00472°W / 54.08778; -1.00472
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not to be confused with Hutton Castle in the Scottish Borders

Sheriff Hutton Castle
Sheriff Hutton, North Yorkshire in England
Sheriff hutton castle.jpg
Relief map of North Yorkshire
Relief map of North Yorkshire
Sheriff Hutton Castle
Location of Sheriff Hutton Castle
Coordinates54°05′16″N 1°00′17″W / 54.08778°N 1.00472°W / 54.08778; -1.00472
TypeStone quadrangular fortress
Height98 feet (30 m)
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
Builtc. 1135–1154 (original site)
c. 1382 (second site)

Sheriff Hutton Castle is a ruined quadrangular castle in the village of Sheriff Hutton, North Yorkshire, England. The site of the castle is 10 miles (16 km) north of York, and 8 miles (13 km) south-east of Easingwold.


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).[1]

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.[2] The building has been credited to John Llewyn, who also built nearby Bolton Castle in 1378, on stylistic and documentary grounds.[3]

The castle passed to John's son, Ralph Neville, the first Earl of Westmorland.[4] Upon Ralph's death in 1425, the Neville estates were partitioned. Ralph’s grandson, Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, retained the title and the Durham estates and his younger brother, Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, retained the Yorkshire estates, including Sheriff Hutton.[5]

Upon the death of Salisbury’s son, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, in 1471 at the Battle of Barnet, his lands were given to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Edward IV by right of his wife, Anne Neville.[6] 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 Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, and John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln. In July 1484, Richard established the Council of the North, with its chief headquarters at Sheriff Hutton and Sandal Castle.[7] The Council lasted for a century and a half.[8] In 1485, the pretender to the throne, lambert Simnel, was transferred from the castle to the Tower of London by Henry Tudor.[9]

In 1485, while awaiting the invasion of Henry VII 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.[10]

After Richard's death at the Battle of Bosworth, the castle became the property of Henry VII.[2] 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). The 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.[2] In 1499/1500 Sir Thomas Darcy (in 1509 made 1st Baron Darcy) became the castle's constable and steward (replacing Surrey).[11][12] 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.[13]) A survey of this date describes the castle as being in need of repair. In 1536 Sir Henry 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.[14][note 1]

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.'[15] In 1618 it was again described as ruinous. The castle was acquired by the Ingram family in 1622,[16] and stone from the site was used for various buildings in Sheriff Hutton village.[3]

The castle remained in the Ingram family until the early twentieth century, by which time the ruins were being used as a farmyard. However, the castle and the adjacent park were leased in the 18th/19th centuries by George Lowther Thompson.[17] It was designated a scheduled ancient monument in the 1950s.[18] The castle is now privately owned, being in the possession of the Howarth family since the 1940s, it was sold in 2019 to another private owner.[19][20]


Both castle sites lie on the south side of the village, being some 10 miles (16 km) north of York, and 8 miles (13 km) south-east of Easingwold.[21][22] 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.[23] The fabric of the castle was largely rubble mudstone, dressed with sandstone, which was quarried at Terrington.[24][20][25]

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.[3]

The castle is a Grade II* listed building,[26][27] and recognised as an internationally important structure.[28]


  1. ^ The 2nd Duke of Norfolk died in 1524, it most likely was his son and namesake-Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk who made the repairs.[11]


  1. ^ Page 1968, p. 174.
  2. ^ a b c Dennison 1996, p. 4.
  3. ^ a b c Dennison 1996, p. 1.
  4. ^ Tuck, Anthony (23 September 2004). "Neville, Ralph, first earl of Westmorland". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19951. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Pollard, A. J. (23 September 2004). "Neville, Richard, fifth earl of Salisbury". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19954. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Todd 1824, p. 4.
  7. ^ Brooks, F. W. (1966) [1954]. York and the Council of the North. London: St Anthony Press. p. 7. OCLC 884002903.
  8. ^ Wachman, Richard (17 October 2011). "North-south divide widens as public sector cuts hit businesses". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  9. ^ Bennett, Michael J. (23 September 2004). "Simnel, Lambert". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25569. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^ MacKenzie 1896, p. 260.
  11. ^ a b David M., Head (23 September 2004). "Howard, Thomas, second duke of Norfolk". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13939. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  12. ^ Hoyle, R. W. (23 September 2004). "Darcy, Thomas, Baron Darcy of Darcy". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7148. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  13. ^ Pevsner 2002, p. 340.
  14. ^ Dennison 1996, p. 5.
  15. ^ G. Dyfnallt Owen, ed., HMC, Manuscripts Marquess of Bath, vol. 5 (London, HMSO, 1980), p. 191
  16. ^ Dennison 1996, p. 3.
  17. ^ Reynolds, Graham (1954). "Portraits by Nicholas Hilliard and his assistants of King James I and His family". The Volume of the Walpole Society. Oxford: The Walpole Society. 34: 21. OCLC 220741293.
  18. ^ Historic England. "Sheriff Hutton quadrangular castle and early garden earthworks (1019593)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Sheriff Hutton Castle goes up for sale as part of £1.1m sale". BBC News. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  20. ^ a b Mackie, John (31 January 2019). "New owners for historic castle in Ryedale village". York Press. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  21. ^ MacKenzie 1896, p. 259.
  22. ^ "Genuki: Sheriff Hutton, Yorkshire (North Riding)". Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  23. ^ Dennison 1996, p. 24.
  24. ^ Warren, Barton Howe (1996). "Sherriff Hutton Castle Archaeological Watching Brief". Barton Howe Warren and Blackledge: 4. doi:10.5284/1037081.
  25. ^ Todd 1824, p. 6.
  26. ^ "Sheriff Hutton Castle". Heritage Gateway. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  27. ^ Historic England. "Sheriff Hutton castle (Grade II*) (1149592)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Images of England. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2012.


  • Dennison, Ed (1996). "Archaeological and architectural Survey Sheriff Hutton Castle". Ed Dennison Archaeological Services Ltd Report Series (1996/1 O.R01). doi:10.5284/1037082.
  • McCavana, Kate (1993). Sheriff Hutton Castle: An Archaeological Survey of the South West Tower and South Range (Report). University of York.
  • MacKenzie, James Dixon (1896). The castles of England : their story and structure Volume 2. London: Heinemann. p. 269. OCLC 504892038.
  • Page, William (1968). The Victoria history of the county of York, North Riding. London: Dawsons of Pall Mall for the University of London Institute of Historical Research. ISBN 0712903100.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, Sir (2002). Yorkshire, the North Riding. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300096658.
  • Todd, George W. (1824). Castellum Huttonicum. Some account of Sheriff-Hutton castle. York: Todd. OCLC 1051531392.

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