Owner: English Heritage
Facilities and additional information
Helmsley Castle has a long and impressive history. Dating from the 12th century it has spectacular earthworks which surround the ruined Norman. The earliest remaining masonry dates from the end of the 12th century, when the keep, walls and towers were constructed during the time of Robert de Ros, 1186-1227, who with his wife, Isabel, held it against King John's siege in 1216. Two lines of ditches surround the main fortifications and the barbican, which was built to protect the gate-house, is pierced with loopholes for longbowmen.The Castle briefly belonged to King Richard III, 1478-1485. It was modified down the centuries, eventually becoming more of a residential mansion - the domestic buildings date from the 16th century and examples of Tudor woodwork and plasterwork can be seen.The Castle was besieged in 1644 by the Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas Fairfax, with 700 footsoldiers, 300 horsemen and cannon placed to the south. Sir Thomas was wounded on Rye Bank, but after three months siege, Colonel Jordan Crosland surrendered. The castle was rendered indefensible and later removal of stone by local people led to further decay, although the domestic building remained in use until Duncombe Park mansion was completed around 1713 about half a mile south-west of the castle. The castle is cared for by English Heritage.