Saturday, 10 April 2021

Spofforth Castle

On Easter Sunday we decided to drive a little further afield than we have been doing, though we didn't want to go anywhere that was going to be busy so we headed to Spofforth Castle. We've passed this many times but it's the first time that we've stopped and had a look around.

Spofforth Castle, situated in North Yorkshire, was a fortified manor house and ruined during the English Civil War.

It was owned by the Percy family, one of the important and influential families in northern England. Reputedly it was here that rebel barons composed the Magna Carta in 1215.

Only the west range of the medieval manor house, which contained the principal apartments, still stands.

Spofforth Castle surprised me, I wasn't expecting much and though it's only a small ruin, it's very well kept, there's interesting information boards, it's free admission and somewhere a bit different to walk Archie.

Archie was eager to enter the ruins, the steps to the ground floor are quite steep but there are various entry points so you don't have to go down these if you don't wish to.

Ruins such as these capture children's imaginations, there were a few families there when we were visiting but as you can see from my photos, there certainly weren't any crowds. 

William de Percy built a manor house here in the 11th century, although nothing remains of this older building.

During the Wars of the Roses, which I wrote about in my last post, the Percys supported the House of Lancaster. Following the Battle of Towton in 1461 the victorious Yorkist side, led by the Earl of Warwick, marched on Spofforth, burning the castle and plundering the countryside. 

The castle lay in ruins for nearly 100 years until 1559, when it was restored by Henry Lord Percy. By this time, however, the seat of the Percys had shifted to Alnwick in Northumberland.

Sampson Ingleby was the last recorded occupant of the castle, he was the castle steward. He died in 1604 and the castle was finally reduced to ruin during the Civil War.

The ruins, primarily the west side of the original castle, are now listed as a grade II listed building and under guardianship of English Heritage.

It was nice to visit when we had blue skies, though there was quite a strong wind blowing.

The castle stands in the beautiful village of Spofforth. Parking is on the roadside in front of the castle and there's a nice green space with picnic benches which is ideal for families or dog walkers. Our visit here followed on nicely from the Towton Battlefield Trail which we visited on Good Friday and I'm sure it's somewhere we'll visit again.


  1. Sounds a lovely spot to spend some time, our local castle is mobbed every time we try and get near.

  2. England has such a plethora of these kinds of ruined and fascinating buildings, all with interesting histories. We are very lucky to have the opportunities to visit them and to know they are being looked after.
    Thank you for sharing your visit.
    Best wishes

  3. I have to admit I have never heard of the village Spofforth or the castle, so thank you for the tour and information. We went a little further a field to Walton on the Naze and it was blue skies but freezing winds.

  4. Looks like a great place to walk. Thank you for a great tour.

  5. How lovely to visit somewhere new, that's quite a history, nice that it's being cared for now, looks a great place for kids to learn about the history and let their imaginations free. Thank you for the tour, some great photos xcx

  6. Thanks for the tour and I'll made a note so we can visit next time we travel to the area. English heritage do a great job of caring for our heritage buildings.

  7. It looks fabulous Jo I love to visit old castles and it's great that there weren't too many people about. I'll have to make a note of this one and maybe visit some day.

  8. Very interesting. The Percy's have been such an important family through the years. Living reasonably close to where the Magna Carta was signed, I enjoyed seeing where it was put together especially on such a lovely sunny day.

  9. Small ruin, but impressive and definitely worth a visit!

  10. What a beautiful place to wander!

  11. Looks like a good place to visit. We are so very lucky to have all this history and to be able to visit and find out so many interesting things

  12. Jo that looks so good to visit and glad you've found somewhere new to walk with Archie when you've exhausted other places. I've not heard of Spofforth Castle & nice that it is free too. Oh to be able to come across & see you and have some adventures. Give Archie a hug & some for you too & the family. Take care & stay safe.

  13. Looks a very good place to visit.
    There's something interesting about old ruins isn't there.
    Your photographs were all lovely and showed Spofforth and its castle very well.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    All the best Jan

  14. That's a lovely, interesting place to visit and walk Archie.
    I must admit I'm surprised it's dog friendly as most of the Welsh castles aren't and have proved to be disappointing to us. Lovely photos and I'm glad the ruins are being cared for and open to the public.

  15. An enjoyable, and interesting, post and good pictures. It looks like a place well worth visiting, especially in good weather. xx

  16. What a magnificent post. The images are unlike anything here in the United States that I've seen!!!

  17. Thank you for my morning tour of the castle. Just the ticket with a cup of coffee.
    Jean. x

  18. What a lovely adventure. I love ruins, especially when you can go underground so was fascinated by this. I did enjoy reading this, wonderful photos