Helmsley Castle
Helmsley Castle
A large and imposing 12th-century castle overlooking the market town of Helmsley, on the southern edge of the North York Moors National Park. Helmsley Castle was built in 1120 by Walter Espec, who was also responsible for the founding of nearby Rievaulx Abbey and Kirkham Priory.

Espec's castle was rebuilt by Robert de Roos and his descendants, beginning in the 13th century. It is this second phase of building that we can see today in the impressive barbican gates and the unusual D-shaped east tower.

However, the grim early fortress was later remodelled into a comfortable residence by the Manners family during the 16th century. They converted the central block into a suite of rooms featuring ornate plasterwork and panelling, much of which is still in place.

In 1644 the castle was besieged by Parliamentary troops for three months until the garrison was forced to surrender. It then became the residence of the Duke of Buckingham and his wife, the daughter of Thomas Fairfax, the Parliamentary commander.

The Cleveland Way National Trail passes near the site, and leads to Rievaulx Abbey, about 4 miles away.