Bolton Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Bolton Castle

Antara Bate

10 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle is one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles. The castle was originally built, by Sir Richard Le Scrope, to rival the finest and most luxurious homes in the land. Completed in 1399, its scars bear testament to over 600 years of fascinating history including involvement in the Pilgrimage of Grace, Mary Queen of Scot’s imprisonment and a Civil War siege.

Bolton Castle history

Bolton Castle was built between 1378 to 1399 for Richard le Scrope, an English soldier and courtier who held a number of positions in the service of Richard II.

The master-mason on the build was John Lewyn. The Castle was built with four 3-storey ranges about a rectangular courtyard, with 4-storey corner towers. The entrance was by the gatehouse in the east range. The original windows were lancets with cinque-cusped heads and labels.

Bolton Castle’s most famous moment in history came in 1568, when Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned here after her escape from Scotland.

After her defeat in Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots fled to England, posing a threat to Queen Elizabeth I. She was initially held at Carlisle Castle and was then moved to Bolton. She was kept there briefly for 6 months before being taken to Tutbury in Staffordshire, where she was to spend much of the next 18 years in captivity.

Bolton Castle today

Bolton Castle was a grand family home as well as a defensive fortress and, despite being partially ‘slighted’ by Cromwell’s men during the Civil War siege, is still preserved in outstanding condition with many interesting rooms and features to discover including the Old Kitchens, Dungeon, Solar, Nursery, Armory, Great Chamber and Mary Queen of Scots’ bedroom.

About a third of the rooms are fully intact and the rest of the Castle is almost completely accessible giving visitors great insight into its turbulent past.

Bolton castle welcomes visitors into the country gardens, castle and tearoom. The grounds include a maze, vineyard and picturesque views across Wensleydale Valley. The castle hosts a range of events such as falconry displays.

Getting to Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle is just off the A684 from Layburn and Redmire. The nearest railway station is Redmire.