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Bolton Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Castle Bolton with East and West Bolton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3221 / 54°19'19"N

Longitude: -1.9499 / 1°56'59"W

OS Eastings: 403356.131787

OS Northings: 491836.000159

OS Grid: SE033918

Mapcode National: GBR GLTG.ND

Mapcode Global: WHB5K.0MRG

Entry Name: Bolton Castle

Scheduled Date: 8 February 1915

Last Amended: 16 December 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003582

English Heritage Legacy ID: NY 14

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Castle Bolton with East and West Bolton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


Quadrangular castle built 1379-98, designed by John Lewyn for Sir Richard Scrope. The castle was slighted by Parliamentary forces in 1647 and abandoned as a residence in 1675. The full footprint of the quadrangular core of the castle survives as a partially ruined standing building: the west and south ranges almost being complete, the north and east ranges being more ruinous. The extent of the castle's original outer-works is less well understood: the monument includes a surviving section of substantial moat ditch to the west.

Source: Historic England


The scheduling includes the upstanding remains of the castle and an area of earthworks to the west which includes a substantial section of moat ditch.

The standing structure of the castle consists of four corner towers which are rectangular, each typically measuring about 10m by 14m, originally being of five storeys topped by corner turrets. These are linked by curtain walls (generally of three storeys) to enclose a central courtyard nearly 28m by 17m. A small turret projects from the centres of both the north and south curtains. The footprint of the whole building is some 55m by 40m, with its long axis orientated approximately east -west.

Entrance to the castle was via a passage through the east curtain into the inner courtyard and thence via five defended doorways distributed around the yard, the principal entrance being diagonally across the yard in the north west corner. The Great Hall occupied the upper floors of the north curtain to overlook the church which lies just outside the monument to the north. The castle's chapel occupies the top of the south curtain. The main kitchen occupied the north-east tower, with a secondary kitchen in the south curtain adjacent to the south-east tower, being the garrison tower overlooking the castle entrance. The highest status apartments occupied the upper portions of the western towers, accessed via an inner hall (known as the Great Chamber) on the top floor of the west curtain. This high-status inner hall could only be accessed via a lobby linked to the upper end of the Great Hall, the lobby also providing access to a third hall (on the first floor of the west curtain, known as the Guest Hall) surviving a further apartment with two chambers. The administrative heart of the castle and the estate is believed to have centred on a hall on the third floor of the south-east tower, this hall serving six chambers, one (known as the Auditor's Chamber) provided with two strong rooms. The vaulted chambers of the castle's ground floor also included some accommodation, but were mainly given over to service functions and stores, the south range including a mill, brewery and bakery.

The south-west tower and the west curtain survive effectively complete, being both roofed and glazed, although the turrets to the tower are ruinous. Most of the south curtain stands to full height, although the upper floor (including the chapel) is roofless. The north-west and south-east towers also effectively stand to full height, but with the upper floors surviving as roofless shells. Only the base of the north-eastern tower and the northern end of the east curtain survive following the collapse of the tower in 1761. However, the southern end of the east curtain, including the gateway, is largely intact. The northern curtain (including the Great Hall), largely stands to full height as an open shell.

The outer works of the castle are poorly understood, but the monument includes an area to the west of the standing building which includes a substantial moat ditch surviving as an earthwork. The scheduling also includes land to the north of the standing building through which a single track road with its verges now runs. This area is considered to retain buried evidence of the manor house that the castle replaced. The extent of other outer works of the castle are not well understood and therefore not included in the scheduling. Earthworks of the quarries that supplied the stone, as well as the remains of the late medieval designed landscape which was laid out for the castle are also not included in the scheduling.

The boundary of the scheduled monument is derived from the 1:10560 map used for the 1915 designation and does not follow modern boundaries. It includes the full footprint of the standing structure of the castle, together with a margin for the support and protection of the monument. This margin is extended on the north side to include the road with verges past the castle. To the west it extends to include the earthworks of a moat ditch.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bolton Castle, a late C14 castle built as a residence for Sir John Scrope, Chancellor of England, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural: the castle is a good example of late C14 high status secular architecture;

* Historical: the castle was built by one of the most powerful figures in the England at the time;

* Archaeological potential: the site retains buried remains which have the potential to increase our knowledge and understanding of the castle, and of this building type.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
M. J. B. Hislop, , 'Journal, British Archaeological Association' in Bolton Castle and the practice of architecture in the middle ages, , Vol. 149, (1996), 10-22
P. A. Faulkner, , 'Archaeological Journal' in Castle Planning in the Fourteenth Century, , Vol. 120, (1963), 215-235
P. Brears, , 'Archaeological Journal Vol 167' in Wressle Castle: Functions, Fixtures and Furnishings for Henry Percy 'The Magnificent' Fifth Earl of Northumberland, 1498-1527, , Vol. 167, (2010), 55-114

Source: Historic England

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