Middleham Castle

iddleham Castle is located in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The castle has a large keep which was built in around 1170 by Robert Fitzralf. The Neville family bought the castle and it became the main residence of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick the 'Kingmaker'. Richard (III), the Duke of Gloucester, also spent a lot of time there.


Middleham Castle Key Facts
CountyNorth Yorkshire (11 castles)
CategoriesStone / Norman Square Keep
OwnershipBaronial castle
RemainsNot complete but much survives
Access to siteOnly open at certain times
TimeRef Rating


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This plan shows the layout of the ground floor of the keep at Middleham Castle. Down the length of the keep is a cross-wall dividing the building into two. On the lower level can be found the storeroom and the kitchens with one or more wells. The roof of this basement level was vaulted in stone. The only access to this level was by a spiral staircase in the south-east corner. The staircase is shown in the bottom left of the diagram.

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Access to the keep was via a long flight of stairs running along the east side of the building up to the first floor. A wall enclosed the stairs but they were open to the sky so that visitors could be monitored, and attacked if necessary, from above. Several doors and guards stood between the foot of the stairs and an anteroom where guests were greeted.

The Great Hall was where the banquets, meetings and court hearings took place. At the southern end of the hall are two passageways, one leading to a toilet and the other to stairs leading down to the basement. At the north end is a passage to a chapel built intothe north-east tower and a passage through the centre wall to the western half of the keep.

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YearMonthEvent
1170   Construction of Middleham Castle
 Middleham Castle in Yorkshire could have been built at this time.[1] 
1471 Qtr 3  Richard becomes Lord of the North
 Richard (III) was given the task of bringing the north of the country under control. The conflicts between the Lancastrians and Yorkists over the previous few years had left the northern counties without any effective rulers resulting in lawlessness and unopposed Scottish raids. Richard was given the lands that the Earl of Warwick had previously possessed and he made his base at Middleham Castle. 
1472 Jul  Richard marries Anne Neville
 Richard III married Anne the widow of Edward Prince of Wales who died in 1471 at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Anne was the daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick the 'Kingmaker', and had grown up with Richard III at Middleham Castle when he had been placed their for his education. Marrying Anne gave Richard III rights to the Earl of Warwick's northern estates. 
1473 Dec  Birth of Edward, Prince of Wales
 Edward, the son of Richard III and Anne Neville was born at Middleham Castle.

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
1484 Apr  Prince Edward dies
 Richard's only son died at Middleham Castle aged only eight. Anne was unable to have any more children and she would die in the following year. This left Richard with the problem of who should succeed him after his death. 

Norman Square Keeps

White Tower, London

More about Norman square keeps

One of the most important types of building in the time of William the Conqueror and William Rufus were the Norman keeps. Although many were rebuilt in the following century there are many good examples still remaining. The White Tower in London (pictured left), Dover and Rochester in the south east, Newcastle, Appleby, Carlisle, Brough, Richmond in the north are all examples of this type of castle. Other examples include Portchester, Guilford, Goodrich, Norwich, Castle Rising, Hedingham and Colchester. The castles are all built from a roughly uniform plan. A massive square tower with a square turret at each of the corners that project slightly. Each of the main faces of the castle has a flat buttress running up the centre of the wall for extra strength. The only parts that have decoration are usually the main doorway at the entrance and the chapel. At the centre of the keep are large halls. Some keeps have a dividing wall down the middle. Access to different levels and sections of the castle are by passages and spiral staircases built into the thick walls.

Trebuchet Game (Beta Version)

Take control of a medieval trebuchet to destroy the enemy castle and capture their flag.