"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 30 September 2016

Yorkshire Holiday - Thursday, 15th September - Skipton, Part 1: Town and Castle

Our final day of the holiday and we decided to drive just a few miles to Skipton, a historic market town, known as the Gateway to the Dales.

We had a walk round the town centre first.

E was pleased to see a coffee shop named after her! :)

More cakes! I came back from the holiday needing to go on a drastic diet.


The Parish Church of the Holy Trinity

Skipton Castle which we visited an hour or so later.

Now a boat named after E!

We walked back to the car park via the Earl of Thanet's Springs Canal - this area is called Mill Bridge and is probably the oldest route into Skipton following an ancient trade route.



A bronze statue erected in tribute to the cricketing legend the late Fred Trueman - one of the greatest fast cricketing bowlers in history and known as "Fiery Fred". My mother was a huge fan!

The car park ticket was about to expire so we moved the car nearer to the castle.

Skipton Castle - one of the best preserved and complete medieval castles in England.

The castle dates from 1090 and was much strengthened in 1310 by Robert, the first Earl of Clifford, who was granted the castle by Edward II. Skipton remained the Clifford's principal seat until 1676. During the English Civil war there was a long siege of 3 years between 1642 and 1645 by the Parliamentary Roundhead Army. Cromwell's forces failed to take the castle which was the last remaining Royalist stronghold after the Battle of Marston Moor. Sir John Mallory as head of the Royal Garrison negotiated a surrender with the parliamentary troops and on 21st December, 1645, at the end of the siege the gates (seen in the photo below) were finally thrown open and Sir John Mallory led his troops through Cromwell's army and along Skipton High Street.

Mary, Queen of Scots, was held as a temporary prisoner at the castle.

12th century Chapel of St John the Evangelist

The chapel may have fell into disuse or was vandalised during the Civil War and was used over the centuries as a coach house, stable and cattle byre. The medieval font was returned to the chapel after lying in the Conduit Court of the castle for 300 years.

This ancient well was recently re-discovered. It was used by castle residents during the Civil War siege after the main water supply had been destroyed by Cromwell's soldiers.

After a cup of tea (no cake!) we had a look round the castle interior - you enter via the Lady Anne's steps.

The Conduit Court - so called because it marked the end of the spring water supply used by the castle. The tree - a yew - was planted in 1659 by Lady Anne Clifford. It now has a 9 metre girth.

The Coat of Arms of John Clifford, the 9th Lord of Skipton - he was known as "The Butcher" due to his savagery when fighting in battles.

You are given a very informative Tour Sheet just to make sure you don't miss any of the rooms. There was lots of interest to see but I am including photos of just a few of the rooms.

The Banqueting Hall (1390-1450) the social centre of a medieval castle where Lord and Lady Clifford and residents and guests would have dined each day.

The Medieval Kitchen used between 1300 and 1680. Meat would have been roasted in the large fireplace.

View from the window in the Withdrawing Room. This room would have been the main living area of Lady Clifford, her children and her gentle women.

One of the rooms in the Watch Tower

Entrance to the dungeon


Medieval Mason Marks

The final post on the holiday will include a visit to Skipton Church (the rest of the family went off in search of food while I had half an hour to explore) and a brief stop in the Pendle area on the way home.

*D - photos taken by D with the Canon SX50


CherryPie said...

Another lovely reminder of my visit to this area a few years ago. Your previous post made me to look up the place where we stayed on our visit to the area.

I am tempted to go and stay there again for a couple of nights. It has had a few improvements since our last visit which should make a stay there even more enjoyable.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thanks so much - so glad the post gave you a nice reminder - it sounds as though you enjoyed your visit too. Do hope you decide to go back and I can read your posts.

I would have liked to go into the Dales more but only staying 3 nights time was limited so were only able to do a few of the things on the list!

Wendy said...

A lovely look around Skipton. The castle is fascinating. It's wonderful that it's so well preserved with so much still to see. I can't bear to look at dungeons though! I love the yew in the courtyard which has its own history.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks very much Wendy. The castle was very impressive :) Did have a quick peep in the dungeons - very dark and gloomy :( The story behind the yew was wonderful :)

David said...

An enjoyable tour of one of Yorkshire's more interesting towns, Skipton used to be a favourite place for my family to visit when we used to live near Harrogate. The castle is a lovely place for a stroll isn't it, though I always loved looking at all the lovely canal boats.

Glad you enjoyed some of Yorkshire's finest food, we do enjoy our grub up here, and speaking of Yorkshire it was great to see the statue of Freddy Trueman. Where would English cricket be without Yorkshire ;-)

Best wishes and kindest regards :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks so much David. We did like Skipton and yes the castle was superb :) A canal trip would have been nice but there wasn't time to do everything! It was good though to stroll a short distance along the canal and see some of the boats :)

The food was excellent and everyone was so friendly :) My mother would have loved the statue - just the words "fiery fred" would have brought a flush to her cheeks in the old days!

amanda peters said...

Skipton Castle is a lovely building I especially remember been impressed by the court yard. Need to go again as its some years now.
When we passed it the other day I wondered what the words meant on top of the
entrance, you have a photo but just can't make out all the words...
DES O_MA_S.. do you know ?

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks so much Amanda - the castle was amazing. I'll get the guide book and check out words. Found it!! :) "The outer gate bears the Cliffords' proud Norman French motto - Desormais ("Henceforth")"
The history of the castle and the condition of it was superb!
Loved the Marshall and Snelgrove/Rackhams shop in Skipton (my great aunt Olive sadly no longer with us would have adored it!!!).