Skipton Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Skipton Castle.

  • Skipton Castle is one of the best preserved castles anywhere in Britain. It is located in the town of Skipton, North Yorkshire, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.
  • The castle was intended to help keep the Scottish tribes out of northern England. It was built in the early 12th century to replace an earlier castle made from wood and earth.
  • In 1310, King Edward II gave Skipton Castle to Robert Clifford, who became Lord Clifford of Skipton. It belonged to the Clifford family until 1676.
  • During the first few years of the English Civil War of 1642 to 1651, Skipton Castle was the only Royalist stronghold in the north of England. The Royalists surrendered after a three year siege.
  • Legend has it that during the siege, sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to minimize the impact of cannon shots. Skipton’s coat of arms has sheep fleeces on it.

Skipton Castle

  • The castle has two floors of rooms, all connected to six large defensive towers. The bedrooms, kitchen and great hall are on the first floor, while the ground floor has cellars and storage rooms.
  • The castle’s enclosed courtyard is known as the Conduit Court. It has a yew tree supposedly planted by Lady Anne in 1659, making the tree over 350 years old.
  • Medieval stonemasons often left a symbol or letter in the stone so they could get paid for their work. Masons’ marks can still be seen today in parts of the castle.
  • Throughout much of its history, the castle has relied on nearby Skipton Castle Woods for food, fuel and building materials. The woods are home to over 160 plant, tree and grass species.The castle’s chapel was often used for wedding ceremonies before being converted into stables in 1635. Today, Skipton castle is still a popular and memorable place to get married.

What next? Discover more facts about castles by visiting our castles resources page.

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