Castle Road, SCARBOROUGH, YO11 1HY
Unlike most medieval castles, Scarborough saw action in World War I, when shells from German battleships struck it. Historical records indicate that this was not the first time that the castle had come under attack, and several English kings received bills for repairs, from Henry II to James I. The rocky headland on which the castle was built had been an important site for hundreds of years before the Normans came, the cliffs providing a natural defence, which was further strengthened by curtain walls. The keep, now in ruins, was built by Henry II on the site of an earlier tower. It was originally 100 feet high, and had walls up to 12 feet thick. The Norman version you see today dates back to the year 1136, when William de Gros decided to rebuild in stone an earlier wooden fort. Henry II, concerned that many of his noblemen were growing too powerful, set about destroying their castles. He spared Scarborough, however. Impressed by its air of impregnability, he requisitioned the castle and kept it for himself. Besieged on a number of occasions, Scarborough Castle was never taken by force, but attackers did manage to starve the defenders into surrendering. On one occasion, in 1645, Hugh Chomley's Royalist troops were besieged by John Meldrum's Scottish army and the Great Keep was badly damaged by the Scottish artillery. Unable to hold out any longer, they were allowed to surrender with honour intact; those men who could still stand were allowed to march out of the castle. The castle was heavily besieged again in 1648 when the Parliamentary garrison, discontented because they had not been paid, went over to the King's side; they too were starved into submission. Should all this make you feel peckish yourself, there's fortunately now a tea room located in the Master Gunner's House.
Tel: 01723 372451
£5 (ch 5-15 £3, concessions £4.50). Family (2ad+3ch) £13. Members free. Prices valid until Mar 2015
Open all year, Apr-Oct, daily 10-6
3 Nov-15 Feb & 21 Feb-29 Mar, Sat-Sun 10-4
16-20 Feb, daily 10-4. Closed 24-26 & 31 Dec & 1 Jan. Closed in severe weather. Info valid until Mar 2015
E of town centre