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Name:Helmsley Castle
NY SMR Number:MNY24416
Type of record:Building
Last edited:Feb 19 2016 3:10PM

Protected Status

  • Conservation Area: Helmsley Conservation Area
Grid Reference:SE 610 836
Parish:Helmsley [3058]; Ryedale; NYMNP

Monument Type(s):

  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)

Other References/Statuses

    Full description

    Castle possibly dating back to Roman times but normally dated to be Norman in origin. Rectangular stone building originally of timber construction. Also referred to Helmsley Blackamoor Castle (1)

    Rescue excavation by P. R. Wilson, H.B.M.C. Central Excavation Unit, prior to the construction of a car park in the field to the norht of the Guardianship area, demonstrated that the majority of the area was devoid of archaeological features. However, a trench cut through the major earthwork on the west side of the site showed that the area had been occupied by a leat serving (at least) the outer ditch around the castle, demonstrating that it had been a moat and not a dry ditch. The clay-lined channel was 7.6 m wide and 1.18m deep in the area of the trench. The extant bank was 2.86 m high and, despite modern disturbance, it was clear that it had originally joined the earthworks surrounding the castle. Local people confirm the existence of a second bank on the west side of
    the leat within living memory. No trace was found of this second earthwork. The fill of the leat contained much roughly worked stone, presumably a dump of material from the partial demolition of the castle (2).

    When undertaking a watching brief on Canon's Garth in Helmsley (to the north of the church) one of the fireplaces in that building is purported to have been salvaged from Helmsley Castle (J Buglass, pers comm).

    HELMSLEY CASTLE (SE 611 836). Standing building recording in advance of works has been conducted and completed at Helmsley Castle gatehouse by S. Mayes for English Heritage (3).

    HELMSLEY CASTLE (SE 609 837). A. Boucher and A. Webb of West Yorkshire Archaeology Service carried out a geophysical survey in the outer bailey for the North York Moors National Park. The survey revealed a high resistance anomaly consistent with the remains of a former structure (4).

    <1> Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1913, CASTLES OF THE NORTH RIDING, p 352 - 356 (Article). SNY1613.

    <2> Society for Medieval Archaeology, 1986, Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1985 (Serial). SNY21612.

    <3> Medieval Archaeology, 1994, Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1993 (Serial). SNY21638.

    <4> Medieval Archaeology, 1996, Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1995 (Serial). SNY21644.

    Sources and further reading

    <1>SNY1613 - Article: Yorkshire Archaeological Journal. 1913. CASTLES OF THE NORTH RIDING. I'ANSON W M. Photocopy. p 352 - 356.
    <2>SNY21612 - Serial: Society for Medieval Archaeology. 1986. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1985. YOUNGS, Susan M; CLARK, John and BARRY, Terry.
    <3>SNY21638 - Serial: Medieval Archaeology. 1994. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1993. BEVERLEY S. NENK, SUE MARGESON and MAURICE HURLEY.
    <4>SNY21644 - Serial: Medieval Archaeology. 1996. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1995. BEVERLEY S. NENK, SUE MARGESON and MAURICE HURLEY.

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