A ledge provided by a hinged seat in choir stalls for clerics to lean on during services. Translates from the French meaning of ‘mercy seat’. Ripon has 32 of them which were created at the end of the 15th century. I particularly like the bagpipe playing pig, Jonah emerging from a very sharp toothed whale, the lady (I think) in a wheel barrow and the mermaid.
The castle at Sheriff Hutton, a few miles from York, was not always in the hands of the Neville family. It lay originally in the hands of the Lord of Bulmer who became the Sheriff of York during the reign of King Stephen. The family was also responsible for the building of Brancepth Castle. Sheriff Hutton passed out of the possession of the Bulmer family in 1166 and into the hands of the Neville family when Emma de Bulmer became its sole heiress after the death of her brother William. It is believed – though I will have to check more thoroughly- that the bull element of the Neville family crest is a reference to the Bulmer family.
A generation later Emma’s daughter, Isabella, became heiress in her turn after her brother Henry died without any heirs. She was married to a member of the FitzMaldred family which held Raby. When Isabella’s son inherited his parents property which included Raby castle he changed his name to Neville – becoming the first Neville owner of Raby Castle. Marriage also saw the Neville family acquire Middleham Castle.
The stone castle at Sheriff Hutton was built by John Neville during the fourteenth century and in 1377 he attained a charter to hold a regular market. John’s son Ralph became the first Earl of Westmorland. In 1425 land holdings which had been built up across Yorkshire and Durham by the Nevilles thanks to several centuries of judicious marriages was split. The earldom of Westmorland was inherited by Ralph’s eldest son from his first marriage whilst the Yorkshire properties were retained by his eldest son, Richard, from his second marriage to Joan Beaufort, the youngest of the four Beaufort children born to John of Gaunt and his long term mistress (not to mention third wife) Katherine Swynford.
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury by right of his wife, lost his life at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. The Yorkshire estates were inherited by his son, Richard Neville, the Kingmaker, once Edward IV ascended to the throne after the Battle of Towton the following year. He retained his Yorkshire castle inheritance until he was killed at the Battle of Barnet fighting against the Yorkists. The properties then passed by right of his younger daughter Anne Neville in the the hands of her husband, Richard Duke of Gloucester whose power base in the north was based on the old Neville affinity. Edward IV had no wish to hold the castles as Crown property. Richard was his loyal lieutenant in the north.
Senior, Janet, Sheriff Hutton and its Lords, (Leeds: Rosalba Press, 2000)
‘Parishes: Sheriff Hutton’, in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1923), pp. 172-187. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol2/pp172-187 [accessed 21 January 2022].
All I can say is that there are a lot of castles in this country and I’m sure I haven’t got them all. I have tried to remember some of the differences between a tower house or pele tower and a castle when I’ve made my list. A pele tower was not designed to be lived in the whole time – it was more of a refuge when reivers and clan enemies arrived on your doorstep. Aydon Castle is actually a fortified manor house rather than a castle but it’s on the list because it’s such a lovely example. The list is in no particular order and I have missed a particular favourite of yours I can only apologise. Please add it to the comments section. I have written about rather a lot of castles over the years. If you select “castles” from categories on the right hand side of the blog you will be able to find them.
Cumberia and Westmorland:
Naworth Castle is actually a pele or peel tower depending on how you would like to spell it. https://thehistoryjar.com/2017/05/11/naworth-castle-and-the-dacres/ Highead Castle and Thistlewood Tower, both in Cumbria are also peel towers. Thistlewood was in the possession of the Dacre family as was Naworth. https://thehistoryjar.com/2017/05/16/highead-castle-and-thistlewood-tower/
Carlisle Castle – first built in 1092 by William Rufus. I don’t think I’ve ever written specifically about the castle although it has turned up in quite a few posts including about Andrew de Harcla who was besieged by the Scots.
Askerton Castle – a fortified manor house rather than a castle. Now a farm.
Dacre Castle – it’s actually a tower house rather than a castle but it looks remarkable like a castle from the exterior.
Rose Castle – the home of the Bishops of Carisle https://thehistoryjar.com/2017/05/22/rose-castle/
Greystoke Castle I know I’ve visited Greystoke but I think that I posted about the church at the time.
Pendragon Castle https://thehistoryjar.com/2016/06/28/pendragon-castle/
Lowther Castle isn’t a medieval castle its a much later build as is Wray Castle.
Lancashire: Lancaster Castle and Clitheroe Castle spring immediately to mind. Then, Hornby Castle due to the Wars of the Roses – I think.
Yorkshire – north of Pontefract Castle which was often described as the “Key to the North.
Richmond Castle First built by Alan the Red after the Norman Conquest.
County Durham and Northumbria
Castles, peel towers and fortified manors sprout like mushrooms in the NorthEast and I suspect this is one of the reasons why I love visiting the area.
Thirlwall Castle – built close to Hadrian’s Wall from dressed stones quarried from the wall. It’s also a tower house rather than a castle proper.
Preston Tower – looks like a keep but is actually a peel tower.
Alnwick Castle https://thehistoryjar.com/2018/07/05/alnwick-castle/
And that is, as they say, that! If this has wetted your appetite to visit a few castles when we’re all allowed out then I would recommend the Collins English Castles from its Little Books series. Others of you may have your Observers Book of Castles on your bookshelves. It has been very pleasant thinking of all the castles that I have visited – less pleasant trying to identify my photographs!