Built in 1190,
Middleham Castle today is in the care
of English Heritage.
Construction on the current
castle site began in the mid 12th century. Prior to that, a Motte and Bailey style castle existed
in Middleham from the time of William the Conqueror.
The original castle consisted
of not much more than earthworks and perhaps a wooden palisade. When the new castle was built, it
was constructed of stone and had a massive central keep, thus the old castle was abandoned. Today
the earthworks can still be seen to the Southwest of the existing castle.
In 1270, Middleham
Castle passed by marriage to Robert de Nevill and remained in their family possession
until 1471. Around 1300, stone curtain walls were added, surrounding the massive keep. The castle
passed down through generations of Nevill's until 1471 when Richard Nevill, the Earl of Warwick,
was killed at the Battle of Barnet. King Edward IV then granted the castle to his brother Richard,
Duke of Gloucester, who later became King Richard III.
Richard III spent some of his
youthful years at Middleham in the care of Richard Nevill and was very fond of the castle. Richard
made Middleham Castle his principal castle in the North of England and it was at Middleham that his
young son Prince Edward died in 1484. Richard was crowned King of England in 1483 and was killed at
the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 just over two years after becoming King.
After his death, the castle
was seized by Henry Tudor, King Henry VII. It was maintained until the 16th century when it was
sold by King James I and fell into ruin. In the 1925 it was placed in the guardianship of the
Office of Works who made repairs to the castle and made it safe once again during the 1930s. In
1984 the castle came under the care and ownership of English Heritage.
Middleham Castle Visitor Information
For a castle in ruins,
Middleham Castle is still an imposing site. The remaining ruins are massive and fun to explore. In
order to get a good view, before you enter the castles entrance, walk to the left around and past
the castle walls and follow the road back a few hundred yards so you can see the castle in its
The Castle entrance itself is
on the village side of the castle. Cross over the wooden bridge and go through the gatehouse. Upon
exiting the main gatehouse, you will see the gift shop to the left where you purchase your
Most of the Middleham Castle foundations are still intact and the guidebook will help
you determine what each room was used for around the castle.
The most impressive part of
the castle is the central keep. You can still see how the keep was divided into two parts and had
Kitchens and cellars were
located on the ground floor and the great hall and chambers were on the second
The stone staircase is long
since gone to the second level, but a modern wooden staircase provides access to the upper level
and the top of the keep which probably has some great views of the North Yorkshire countryside and
the old castle earthworks to the Southwest.
One of the most
beautiful views of the castle can be found by leaving the town of Middleham and driving up the
hill behind it where you can see the castle rise up from the valley below over the
The castle is open to the
Closed Tuesdays and
Wednesdays during winter
Group visitors can get a 15%
discount for more then 11 person, plus a free ticket for more then 20 persons. Contact 01969
623899 for booking and details.
A gift shop is also open in
For upaded info about opening
times and tickets visit the official website or contact the Tourist Centre at: 01969
The castle is
located in the town in Middleham, 2 miles South of Leyburn off the A6108 in North Yorkshire
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