Castle is a medieval castle located in the town with the same name in North
Helmsley Castle History
All that remains of the
earliest castle erected in the 1120s by Walter Espec are the massive earthworks. Most of the stone
structure dates back to the 13th century, which was constructed by Robert de Roos
Castle started out as an earth and timber castle under Walter Espec. The castle passed to
his son-in-law Robert de Roos. Robert leveled off the inner earthworks and began stone construction
by erecting a curtain wall and round corner towers.
The castle had no central keep
like most castles of the period, instead it relied heavily on the vast earthworks surrounding the
castle for defense. In the center of the east curtain wall, Robert erected a two story
In the 13th century, barbicans
were added to both gates to provide more protection. The 14th century saw the East Tower expand
upwards an additional full story, making it a massive "D" shaped tower, half of which can be seen
in the photo above.
Although strongly defended,
Helmsley Castle never saw much action until the Civil War when it was successfully
besieged in 1644 and made indefensible by demolishing parts of the curtain walls and blowing up the
East Tower. The remains of the destroyed tower can still be seen laying in the ditch next to the
In 1688, Helmsley Castle was
sold to Charles Duncombe breaking the succession from Walter Espec and the de Roos lords. Today the
castle is in the care of English Heritage which has just completed construction of a brand new
visitors center for Helmsley Castle.
Helmsley Castle Highlights
The earthworks alone make
Helmsley Castle worth a visit. The massive ditches and hills completely surround the castle making
it difficult to attack. In fact it was only due to starving out the inhabitants that Helmsley
Castle was successfully besieged during the Civil War.
At the South end of the castle
stands the large remains of the barbican which had a drawbridge and was flanked by to massive drum
Besides the East Tower, the
West Tower and Great Hall are the most impressive parts of the castle remaining today. They are not
as grand as the East Tower, but remain largely intact. The Great Hall houses some displays and
artifacts from the castle.
Castle Visitor Information
Helmsley Castle is located off the A170 between Thirsk
and Scarborough, near Helmsley's Town Center. The car park is to the left just after the
Helmsley castle is open to the
Closed: 24- 26 Dec and 1
A castle gift shop is
available in the castle and visitors can participate an audio tour too.
For updated information about opening times and tickets visit the
official website or contact the Tourist Information Centre at 01439
Helmsley Castle Location: Castlegate, Helmsley, York, North Yorkshire YO62 5AB, United
Get help woth directions using the map provided bellow:
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