May 20, 2011

Upon making the shock discovery that so-called Castle Howard is in fact no such thing – just some poncey great house – Bankstone’s charity-fundraising round-Yorkshire monkeybiking medievalists have ditched the pile from their itinerary and added scenic Ryedale ruin Sheriff Hutton Castle in its place.

Much better idea.

So now, in part four of our handy print-out-and-keep ten-part guide to Yorkshire’s greatest fortified structures, we bring you… fanfare… the untold story of Sheriff Hutton Castle.

Sheriff Hutton (or Shetton as the locals pronounce it) is a charming North Yorks village with a school and a church and a pub and stuff – and also, as you may have inferred from a number of contextual clues already provided, a (photogenically dilapidated wreck of a) castle.

Originally constructed from lath and daub by Welland de Wousel in the summer of 1365, the earliest castle on the site did not survive the winter of that year. A subsequent stone castle was begun in 1377 by Sir Gary de Neville despite strong local objections to its controversial design.

In 1382, however, Neville was granted a full “license to crenellate” by Good King Dick and the structure was topped out to general acclaim the following year.

The castle remained in the Neville family until 1471, when, following the debacle of the Battle of the Barnett, the estate passed to Richard Duke of Gloucester who found it a handy base for popping into nearby York whenever the fancy took him.

Thereafter, the story of this once proud edifice degenerates into a sad catalogue of neglect and dissolution. By 1525, a royal survey described it as “Needs work. Bit of a project, to be honest.” and by 1618, when it was acquired by certain senior members of the cheese-harp playing Ingram family, SHC was said to be “ruinous.” By the early twentieth century it had further decayed to the point where it was fit only for use as a farmyard – barely that, indeed.

A thoroughly romantic tale, we hope you will agree!

Now hie thee ‘pon the nonce to the webbe sitte “Just Giving” and vouchsafe all monies ye may spare to that noblest of noble causes, the Ambulance of the Air of the Countie of Yorkeshire (YAA) by clicking here.


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