For Sale: Sheriff Hutton Castle, North Yorkshire

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Ricardian Places

Sheriff Hutton Castle, one of Richard III’s main bases in the north, is up for sale.[1]

The first castle was built in 1140 by Bertram de Bulmer, who was then Sheriff of York, as a grand manor house.  Through the marriage of his daughter Emma it passed on to the Nevilles.  The existing castle was built in the 14th century, replacing the original manor.[2]  After Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was killed at the Battle of Barnet in 1471, the castle came into the possession of Edward IV, who gave it to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester.[3]

Richard as Lord of the North often stayed at the castle.  In 1484 he established there a royal household for his nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick, the son of George of Clarence, in the care of John, Earl of Lincoln, another of Richard’s nephews, the son of his sister Elizabeth. They were later joined by Edward IV’s daughters as well as Richard’s own illegitimate son, John of Gloucester.[4]  (Incidentally all three male cousins were killed during Henry VII reign:  John, Earl of Lincoln, fell at the Battle of Stoke fighting for the Yorkist pretender, John of Gloucester was executed in 1491 and Edward, Earl of Warwick, was executed in 1499.)

In 1484 Richard made the castle one of the two centres which housed the Council of the North (the other one was Sandal Castle).  The Council was the administrative structure set up to govern the north, a role which had been fulfilled by Richard before he became king as Lord of the North.  This administrative entity survived into the 17th century.[5]

In the local church there is a small alabaster chest tomb with the monument of a child, dated to the 15th century.  It has often been thought that this is the coffin of Richard’s only legitimate child. Edward of Middleham,[6] though a careful analysis of the style of the monument makes this unlikely.[7]

After Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth the castle went through a fairly chequered history.  From 1525 it was for several years the home of the court of the Duke of Richmond, a natural son of Henry VIII.  Later it was used as a prison by the Duke of Norfolk.  During the time of Elizabeth it was in great need of repair, and though estimates were made, no work was done.  By 1618 it was in a state of complete decay.[8]

The castle was first sold in 1940, and descendants of the buyer Wilfred Wagstaff have decided to sell it now, because it is too much hard work.  The property is for sale for £1.5 million.[9]


1.    Andy Bloxham, “For sale: King Henry VIII’s haunted castle”, Telegraph.co.uk, 26 May 2010 (accessed 26 May 2010).
2.    Jane Creane, “The Sheriff Hutton Monument: Part 2”, Ricardian Bulletin, December 2009, pp. 39-41
3.    Bloxham
4.    “Sheriff Hutton Castle – Acquired 29 June 1471”,  The Richard III Foundation (accessed 26 May 2010)
5.    “Ricardian Sites:  Sheriff Hutton”, The Richard III Society.  (accessed 26 May 2010)
6.    Jane Crean, “The Sheriff Hutton Monument:  Part 1”, Ricardian Bulletin, September 2009, pp. 37-39
7.    Jane Crean, “The Sheriff Hutton Monument: Part 2”
8.    William Page (ed), “Parishes: Sheriff Hutton”, A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2 (1923), pp. 172-187. At Victoria County History, British History Online.  (accessed 27 May 2010)
9.    Bloxham

Illustration: The above photograph shows Sheriff Hutton Castle, © Copyright Alison Stamp and licensed for reuse  under this Creative Commons Licence.

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