HOMEPAGE Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and parts of Cumbria Scenes

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51. Middleham Castle... and see also

51b. Middleham Village, Parish Church & River Cover Walk

Scenes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, North Yorkshire, England

 Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines Index

The first Middleham Castle was a motte-and-bailey castle probably built by Alan, Lord of Richmond in the late 11th century. These earthworks (see last lot of pictures) survive on the hill rising up south from the later castle illustrated below. The old motte-and-bailey castle was abandoned in the 12th century when the great Keep of the present Middleham Castle became the principal building and hence the new centre of power in the area. The massive stone Keep would have dominated the landscape and much of its walls survive. In later centuries further ranges of buildings were added which form part of the outer walls of the courtyard surrounding the Keep and by contemporary standards, life at Middleham Castle in the 15th century was by medieval standards quite palatial. In the15th century Middleham Castle was the home of several of the greatest English lords of their time including the future King Richard III.

Left: The ~1300 north-east tower of Middleham Castle.

Right: The north wall (mainly 1400-1483), north-east tower and the east defensive ditch of Middleham Castle.


The south-east corner of the outer walls of Middleham Castle. The outer walls surrounding the great keep were built around 1300.


The south wall of Middleham Castle (~1300, with some modifications from 1400-1483).


The south-east corner of the great Keep of Middleham Castle. The Keep dates from the late 12th century and is one of the largest in England.


The north-east corner of the outer walls of Middleham Castle with the north-east tower of the Gatehouse.


The three storied north-east Gatehouse (~1300 & 1400-1483) doorway entrance, left - view out through the gatehouse, right - the view through the entrance into the courtyard of Middleham Castle. The Gatehouse you see was built in the 15th century when a passage way was cut into the wall from ~1300.


Left: The north wall of Middleham Castle.

Right: The Gatehouse entrance viewed from inside the north-east corner of the courtyard of Middleham Castle.


The 'many side' of the sculpture of Richard III by Linda Thompson's erected in the bailey of Middleham Castle in 1996 . Apparently the sculpture was 'intended to provoke inquiry, curiosity, and subsequently a deeper understanding' of the king but its imagery it proved controversial to many people sympathetic to the memory of Richard III. The artist Linda Thompson is quoted as saying "The figures represented are allegorical the basilisk (or cockatrice) and a medieval demon on Richard's back and heraldic the white boar and part of the 'suns and roses' of the Yorkist collar. Richard became - after his death - a controversial figure in history with many questions about his character remaining unresolved today; the Shakespearian portrait being totally at odds with the dedication in the York City Rolls. The sculpture illustrates the heavy burden which history has heaped upon this Northern King."


Looking towards the western part of the Keep, with the kitchen and great chamber above at first floor level of Middleham Castle.



Some of the 'classic' deeply recessed round-arched Norman windows of the Great Hall which was the heart of the castle and the centre of all activities. Here the lord of Middleham would entertain guests, hear petitions and requests and settle disputes.


Looking north-east beyond the Gatehouse of Middleham Castle onto the town of Middleham below.


Left: The ruins where the Chapel of Middleham Castle stood.

Right: Looking north-east over Middleham Town from one of the windows of Middleham Castle.


Looking north from the high walls of the Great Hall or Great Chamber ?? over Middleham Town with the tower of the Parish Church in the distance.


Details of some of the higher walls dividing the Great Chamber from the Great Hall of Middleham Castle.


Looking north-east from the Keep of Middleham Castle - the Gatehouse, the houses of Middleham Town and Wensleydale beyond.


Left: 'Aerial view' of the north-east Gatehouse of Middleham Castle.

Right: Looking south from the Keep of Middleham Castle, below is a racing horse exercise yard.



Views looking down onto the ground floor, above which was Great Hall of Middleham Castle. The 'stubs' of the bases supporting pillars can still be seen.


Left: The south and beyond, the north wall of the 2nd floor Chapel of Middleham Castle built in ~1300 onto the southern end of the east wall of the Keep.

Right: The south-west Princes Tower of Middleham Castle. To the right is the south wall of the mighty Norman Keep of Middleham Castle.


The south wall of the might 12th century Keep of Middleham Castle.


Left: The 16th century ovens built against the south wall of Middleham Castle.

Right: Next to the ovens is the circle of the horse mill.


The lovely pinkish-purple flower Erinus Alpinus (known as fairy foxglove, starflower, alpine balsam or liver balsam), and is a member of the foxglove family, and it grows all over Middleham Castle!


The massive south walls of the Keep of Middleham Castle.


Looking north between the walls of the Keep and the western wall and range of Middleham Castle.


Left: Looking up the south-west Princes Tower of Middleham Castle.

Right: Looking along the western wall to the northwest tower of Middleham Castle.


The western wall of the Keep of Middleham Castle.


Some of the stonework detail on the outer western wall of Middleham castle.


As above -


The stone staircase of the Garderobe Tower (latrines) of Middleham Castle.


Another view of the east defensive ditch and the Gatehouse northeast tower.


The south wall of the great Keep of Middleham Castle.


Some details of the surviving parts of the southern wall of the Chapel of Middleham castle.


Looking down from the Keep where the base of the east gatehouse of Middleham Castle stood and on the right is the north wall of the Chapel.


The east wall of the Keep of Middleham Castle and the wooden staircase that takes you up to the Great Hall on the first floor.


General view, plus horse!, of the southern view of Middleham Castle.


View of Middleham Castle from the south, over the lovely meadows you can walk across upto the original motte and bailey.


South view over Middleham town and Middleham Castle



Detailed south view of Middleham castle.


Looking south-west up from Middleham Castle to the original 'classic' motte-and-bailey castle.


Great views down to Middleham.


Telephoto shot of Middleham Castle, the central tall building of the Keep and just left of it nearer, is the round stonework of the Princes Tower.


Details of the earthworks of the original motte-and-bailey castle. You can clearly see the circular defensive ditch surrounding the central motte. It was a good place for our picnic with super views down to Middleham Castle. Its an easy walk up from Middleham


The south direction view of the original motte-and-bailey castle.






Middleham Castle set in the beautiful rural landscape of Wensleydale.


View of Middleham Castle from the top of the defensive ditch of the original motte-and-bailey castle


A great picnic spot, with only a few sheep for company! Most people can't be bothered to take the short walk up, pity, they are missing an important part of the 'Middleham experience'!


Wensleydale beyond Middleham Castle ...


... and the sunny weather holding out! ...


... and the view is just as good returning down to Middleham Castle.


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