Courtroom Museum

Knaresborough Castle

There has been a castle in Knaresborough for over 900 years. Over the centuries there have been significant periods of building and repair work as the castle was adapted to meet changing military requirements, fashions and historic events.

The early castle
We know very little about the castle’s origins but there may have been an Anglo-Saxon fortification in ‘Chednaresburg’. Burg is an Old English word for a defended enclosure, and could refer to a bank and ditch surrounding a settlement here.

The earliest castle was built by the Normans who recognised the superb natural defences of this rocky promontory high above the river Nidd. We find the first written evidence of a castle in Knaresborough in financial records called the Pipe Rolls dating from the reign of Henry I (1100-1135). These show that £11 was spent in 1129-1130 on strengthening the ‘King’ Works at Knaresborough’ by custodian Eustace Fitz-John.

Some years later, the castle played a part in one of the more infamous stories of the medieval period. In 1170 the Constable of Knaresborough Castle Hugh de Morville and his followers took refuge there after they had murdered Thomas Becket , Archbishop of Canterbury.

Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle

Courtroom Museum

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