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Wetherby Castle, Wetherby
County: West Yorks
District: Leeds
Parish: Wetherby CP
Monument Number: ( 4397 )
The site of Wetherby Castle is an elevated and strategic position on the north bank of the River Wharfe. The construction date is not known but it is believed to have been in existence by the 12th/13th century (Brett c.1931). Tthere is no documentary reference to a castle until 1541 when land is referred to as Castle Garth. The promontory above river behind Castle Garth House is clearly marked on historic OS maps. Reportedly foundations of a large building were visible above ground on Castle Garth in the19th century (Speight 1902 p430). These were no longer visible in 1882, but excavation in 1882 revealed stone foundations and vaults (YAJ 1882, p447 and Brett c. 1931). Foundations of a rectangular building were excavated in 1922 by Dr. Hargreaves, then of Castle Garth House and were interpreted by W.M. I'Anson as the foundations of a keep, probably dating to the late 12th or early 13th century, set across the neck of the juncture between a Barbican Ward (towards the River) and a Great Ward (towards the town). It was speculated by I'Anson that further castle remains extended across the whole of the garden area owned by Dr. Hargreaves. They speculated that Barbican Tower foundations were situate where a tennis lawn was sited and the Main Ward of the castle where a kitchen garden was located (Brett c. 1931, and Dr. J. Lodge pers comm., grandson of Dr Hargreaves). A field report in 1963 noted that in recent years identified stonework from this area had been incorporated into a rock garden (ASWYAS 2000 p39). Architectural fragments have been incorporated into walls and sunken garden features and the fabric of Castle Gate House included pieces of reused masonry with different styles of surface dressing. A possible medieval floor tile had been incorporated into a decorative doorstep. In 2002 the current owners of Castle Gate House and the Keep indicated that a certain amount of architectural material had been collected by earlier generations but were uncertain about the quantity and origin of this material (NAA, 2002 p7). ---------------------------------------- A watching brief (PRN 7376) was carried out by Alison Clarke between June and July 2000 during groundworks for a small extension to the rear of the Black Bull Public House. The lower levels of the two foundation trenches excavated were composed of soil and occupation debris consistent with the use of the yard as an open space from at least the late medieval period. Two sherds of medieval pottery were recovered. ---------------------------------------- During 2003-2005 NAA undertook a programme of archaeological fieldwork at the former castle site, in advance of a housing development. The work demonstrated that the remains of a (apparently short-lived) Norman tower keep castle did survive, as extensive below-ground remains, within this area. See PRN 7620 for further details.

Brett, A., c. 1931. 'Historical Notes on Wetherby Extracted from the Wetherby News' Bound copies of newscript Leeds City Local History Library
NAA, 2002. 'Scott Lane Wetherby Archaeological Desktop Appraisal' NAA 02/105
YAJ vol. 7, 1882 p. 447
W.M. I'Anson to Dr. Hargreaves, 16/12/1922; 05/02/1923
W.M. I'Anson to Dr. Robinson, 20/11/1922
A. Hamilton Thompson to ? Dr. Hargreaves, 19/01/1926
OS, (25 inches to 1 mile) 2nd edition, Map sheet 172.14, 189.12
YAS Brett Papers - MS655 (TO CHECK)
Clarke, A., 2000. 'Watching Brief Report'
Speight, H., 1902. Lower Wharfedale, p430