Autumn sunshine at Helmsley Castle near Coxwold
- 10 October 2018 -
Here at Coxwold Cottages we are enjoying lovely Autumn sunshine – perfect for exploring nearby Helmsley Castle. Just a short drive from our luxury self-catering holiday cottage in Coxwold, Helmsley is a charming market town with great coffee shops, quality clothes shops and wonderful food delicatessens around the market square. Today we have walked through to explore Helmsley Castle, an English Heritage property. Well worth the visit!
Helmsley Castle is medieval in origin and is in a perfect location overlooking the river Rye. The first stone elements were built in the 12th century by the de Roos family and it was grand enough for King Edward III to stay briefly in 1334. Helmsley Castle remained in the possession of the de Roos family until 1478 when it was sold to Richard, Duke of Gloucester who became Richard III. After Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth, Helmsley Castle was restored to the de Roos family by King Henry VII, before passing first into the Manners family and then, in 1632, to the Duke of Buckingham – which is why there is a Buckingham Square in Helmsley to this day! During the Civil War, Helmsley Castle was besieged for three months in 1644 before surrendering. Parliament then ordered the castle to be slighted and much of the walls, gates and part of the east tower were destroyed (which is what you see today). More recently, the castle’s remarkable earthworks were apparently planned to be part of an anti-tank defence during the Second World War! Although technically still owned by the Feversham family of adjacent Duncombe Park, the castle is in the care of English Heritage.
Helmsley Castle has recently undergone a thorough makeover by English Heritage, making it more accessible to a wide range of visitors. Its story is told through a brand-new visitor centre, and an imaginative hands-on exhibition in the mansion range, which explores the social and domestic, as well as the military, aspects of the fortress. The towering, shattered keep and fearsome earthworks continue to fire the imaginations of visitors to the site. It is a surprisingly large site and fascinating to explore when staying at our luxury self-catering holiday cottage in nearby Coxwold.