Kirby Knowle Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are no visible remains

NameKirby Knowle Castle
Alternative NamesKirkby Knowle; Newbygill; New Building
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishKirby Knowle

A lane runs westward from the village up Whinmoor Hill to New Building, which is on the site of the castle said to have been built in the latter part of the 13th century by Roger Lascelles. It was burnt down in 1568 while in the possession of Sir John Constable, who began to repair it but did not live to complete the work. A contemporary survey describes this castle 'begune by the forsaid Sir John Constable, knight,' as 'an Mancion house of a great hight and length, pasyng beautiful of itself and faire of prospecte, Wharto belonges one goodlye haulle, great chaulmer, parler, and bed chaulmer, with a noumber of other pleasaunt loogynge and chambrge.' (Grainge) In 1653–4 it was purchased by James Danby in a ruined and dilapidated state; he repaired the old parts and built the south front and west wing, changing the name to its present one of New Building. A later owner, Joseph Rokeby, into whose family it passed by the female line from the Danbys, repaired and altered the front, destroying the mullioned windows and inserting wooden sashes. The building stands in a lofty situation looking over the country to the south. There were probably four corner towers to the first castle; of these one remains, and is occupied by a staircase of black oak. On a stone is cut the date 1374. The part projecting northward is probably also part of the older work, as are some of the cellars. The old buildings extended southward, occupying the present bowling green. A priest's hiding hole here still remains in the thickness of a wall. In the south wall towards the bowling green is a doorway with a covered lobby outside, probably the entrance designed by Sir John Constable. The house was thoroughly restored in 1875. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

Was up for sale in early 2016 and estate agent brochures may still be found online. One of these says "It was Sir Roger de Lascelles who sought permission from Edward I to build a castle at Kirby Knowle." There doesn't seem to be any evidence to support this claim.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE459874
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  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 52
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 36
  • Pevsner, N., 1966, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: North Riding (London, Penguin) p. 210-11
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1923, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 2 p. 2, 45 online transcription
  • Grainge, W., 1859, The Vale of Mowbray: a historical and topographical account of Thirsk and its Neighbourhood p. 365 online copy


  • Greenwood, C., 2003, An Historical and Archaeological study of Kirby Knowle Castle
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 602 online copy