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Historic England Research Records

Knaresborough Castle

Hob Uid: 53332
Location :
North Yorkshire
Harrogate
Knaresborough
Grid Ref : SE3490056880
Summary : The ruins of the medieval castle of Knaresborough which was originally built between AD 1100-1160. It was reconstructed in 1212 but little remains from this period. It was altered again in the 14th century and it consisted of a large range of buildings, however all that survives from that period are the twin towers of the East Gate and fragments of the curtain wall. Knaresborough Castle was granted to the Duchy of Lancaster circa 1372 and owes its preservation to having been an administrative centre of the Duchy.The present buildings consist of a keep, gateway and curtain walls (dating to 1320-60). The keep is in fairly good condition and parts of the east gatehouse tower remains but only isolated fragments of the curtain wall survive. The moat from the east gate around the south arc of the castle to the river cliff is intact but landscaping of the north moat has destroyed its character. The keep or donjon is unusual as it may have been deliberately constructed to impress visitors rather than for defensive purposes. The castle and its environs have been converted to a public park.The main structural and earthwork elements of Knaresborough Castle are visible on historic and recent air photos.
More information : SE 3490 5690: Castle [G.T.] (Remains of) (1)

Knaresborough Castle. Of the first castle, of period 1100-60 (3) with reconstruction in 1212, practically nothing remains. The present remains are attributable to the period 1320-60. (2-3)

The remains of Knaresborough Castle are now owned by the Urban District Council who have converted the surrounding grounds into ornamental gardens and a pleasure park. The structural remains comprising the keep, gateway and curtain wall are in a good state of preservation and are open to the public. The moat has been surveyed at 1/2500.

GPs. AO.62.93.4 AO 62.93.5 and AO 62.93.6 show the SE S.W. and N.E. aspects of the King's Tower or keep respectively.
GP. AO. 62.93.7 shows the S.E. aspect of the remains of the
gateway. (4)

Knaresborough Castle was granted to the Duchy of Lancaster circa 1372 and owes its preservation to having been an administrative centre of the Duchy. In 1609 it was described as 'much decayed'. Listed as Gd 1. (5-7)

On a site prepared by nature and fortified by military skill
the castle consisted of outer and inner bailey surrounded by curtain wall and a keep of C14. The curtain wall has mostly fallen into the moat but parts of the Gateway remain showing the portcullis grooves. The keep was slighted after the Civil War, but its remarkable vaulting to the dungeon and kitchen remain in good preservation. The upper portion is somewhat puzzling and there are conflicting explanations. The Porter's Lodge is an interesting fragment near the keep. The underground passages are fine ones cut in the limestone rick, and give access to the sally port in the moat.
Source 8 is the full text of Source 7. (8)

(SE 348569) Knaresborough Castle, scheduled No NY/481.(9)

Knaresborough Castle, full architectural details and concise
history. (10)

A number of additional sources on the castle. (11-44)

Knaresborough Castle and its environs including the moat have been converted to a public park. The keep is in fairly good condition and parts of the east gatehouse towers remain, but only isolated fragments of the curtain wall survive. The moat
from the east gate around the south arc of the castle to the river cliff is intact but landscaping of the north moat has destroyed its character and the north east part has been filled in and is now occupied by roads and a car park. (45)

Listed by Cathcart King. (46)

Additional reference. (47)

Scheduling revision. (48)

This source contains information on the unusual donjon of the castle and provides various interpretations for its features including its "theatrical" nature. (49)

This website source contains a detailed description of the history and physical features of the castle. (50)

A further interesting article on Knaresborough Castle. (51)

The main structural and earthwork elements of Knaresborough Castle are visible on historic and recent air photos. (52-54)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1932-8
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Yorkshire's ruined castles : an account of their history, asssociations and architecture with a chapter on the fortified houses of the county
Source details :
Page(s) : 56-63
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details :
Page(s) : 79-83
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 29 - 1923
Source Number : 13
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details :
Page(s) : 266-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 31 - 1925
Source Number : 14
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : (G T Clark)
Page(s) : 98-112
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6 - 1881
Source Number : 15
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 110
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13 - 1894-5
Source Number : 16
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 200-24
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 30 - 1929-31
Source Number : 17
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : (Atkinson)
Page(s) : 114-131
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 31 - 1931-34
Source Number : 18
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : (Atkinson)
Page(s) : 175-95
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 33 - 1936-38
Source Number : 19
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : (Atkinson)
Page(s) : 198-208
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 36 - 1944-47
Source Number : 20
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 591-607
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 41 - 1966
Source Number : 21
Source : Norman Castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 219
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1968
Source Number : 3
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : (S.C.Barber)
Page(s) : 200-24
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 30 - 1931
Source Number : 22
Source : Yorkshire's ruined castles : an account of their history, asssociations and architecture with a chapter on the fortified houses of the county
Source details :
Page(s) : 57-63
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 23
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Castles & Abbeys of Yorkshire (Ruins) 1855 (W Grainge)
Page(s) : 105-16
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 24
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Antiquities of England & Wales 4 1776 not paginated (Grose)
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 25
Source : Archaeological excavations
Source details :
Page(s) : 12
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1961-2
Source Number : 26
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : West Riding of Yorkshire 1932 326-8 (J E Morris)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 27
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (E King)
Page(s) : 324-26
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6 - 1782
Source Number : 28
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 324
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6-7- 1962-3
Source Number : 29
Source : The castles of Great Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 206-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1953
Source Number : 30
Source : Medieval military architecture in England. Volume 2
Source details :
Page(s) : 230
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 31
Source : The English castle
Source details :
Page(s) : 56,99,112
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1936
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RL 04-MAY-1962
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 32
Source : Military architecture in England during the Middle Ages
Source details : (A H Thompon)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 33
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ant & Topo Cabinet 10 1811 not paginated illustration (J Storer)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 34
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Topological & Historical Description of Yorkshire 1819 636 (J Bigland)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 35
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Old Yorkshire 1881 86 (W Smith)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 36
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Old Yorkshire 1885 199-226 (W Wheater)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 37
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Old Yorkshire 1890 122-7 (W Smith)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 38
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Early Yorkshire Charters 1 1914 392
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 39
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : History of Knaresborough 1832 3 6-29 (E Hargrove)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 40
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : History of the Castle and Town of Knaresborough 1769 (E Hargrove)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 41
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : History of Yorkshire 3 1831 396 (T Allen)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 687-91
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1963
Source Number : 42
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ancient Buildings of Harrogate 1946 5 (E S Wood)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 43
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Tour from Alston Moor to Harrogate 1804 99-100 (T Pennant)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 44
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Upper Nidderdale 1906 19-29 (H Speight)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 45
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 NKB 28-AUG-86
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 46
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 520
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Feb-83
Source Number : 47
Source : Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 195
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 48
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : EH scheduling revised, 05-JUL-2002
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 49
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Google books. 2009.Chateau-Gaillard, [Accessed 17-JUN-2009]
Page(s) : 121-139
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 50
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Knaresborough online. 2009. Knaresborough Castle, [Accessed 17-JUN-2009]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 51
Source : Country Life
Source details : J. Goodall: "A Royal Gift" (Knaresborough Castle)
Page(s) : 72-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 202.3 (2008)
Source Number : 6
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 3 : 1485-1660 (part 1)
Source details :
Page(s) : 179-81
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1975
Source Number : 52
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : ULM DR 46
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 53
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SE 3557/1 NMR 17993/06 20-MAY-2004
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 54
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SE 3456/43 NMR 20903/13 09-SEP-2009
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Knaresborough UD Yorks WR 1968 1
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : List of ancient monuments in England: Volume 1, Northern England; Volume 2, Southern England; Volume 3, East Anglia and the Midlands
Source details :
Page(s) : 64
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1978
Source Number : 10
Source : Medieval military architecture in England. Volume 2
Source details : (G T Clark)
Page(s) : 168-76
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1884
Source Number : 11
Source : The Victoria history of the county of York, volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 4,5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1912

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1160
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Castle, Court House, Tower, Moat
Evidence : Demolished Building, Extant Building, Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : refurbished
Monument End Date : 1212
Monument Start Date : 1212
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt
Monument End Date : 1360
Monument Start Date : 1320
Monument Type : Curtain Wall, Keep, Gatehouse, Castle, Angle Tower, Postern
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Ruined by 1609
Monument End Date : 1609
Monument Start Date : 1609
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 481
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 95759
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 34841
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 330756
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 330755
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 330752
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : PC10494
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (North Yorkshire)
External Cross Reference Number : MNY19028
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 35 NW 14
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 53296
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, UNKNOWN
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date :
End Date :
Associated Activities : Primary, KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1925-01-01
End Date : 1928-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1948-01-01
End Date : 1949-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1961-01-01
End Date : 1961-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 35 NW 14
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1962-05-04
End Date : 1962-05-04
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SE 35 NW 14
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1986-08-28
End Date : 1986-08-28
Associated Activities : Primary, KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE GADRENS
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, UNITS 1 & 2, CASTLE PRECINCT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, UNIT 1, CASTLE PRECINCT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, UNIT 1, CASTLE PRECINCT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31