Upsall Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameUpsall Castle
Alternative NamesUpfall
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishUpsall

The remains of a 14th century quadrangular castle which survives beneath the terraced platform on which stands the 19th century Upsall Castle. The west and south elevations of the 14th century castle form the sandstone retaining walls of the terrace and survive to a height of at least 4m. A plinth at the base of the wall is offset by about 0.3m and pilaster buttresses at roughly 5m intervals protrude by 1.5m. The lower courses are of dressed stone but rubble core is exposed on the upper parts. The ground floor of a 16m square tower, the 'Kitchen Tower', is located at the eastern end of the south elevation; the interior now forms a sunken garden which may be entered via a spiral staircase, and niches, probably chimney flues, are visible in the walls. East of the Kitchen Tower, the terrace wall is of 19th century construction but medieval structures are thought to survive behind it. A mason's mark is visible just above the plinth close to the Kitchen Tower. About 20m from the south-western corner, the voussoirs of the arch of a blocked opening have been observed. Although part of the west elevation lies beneath a landscaped embankment, stones of the upper courses of the wall protrude through the surface indicating its line and a 'D'-shaped bastion tower survives to a total height of about 8m. The remains of the interior structures of the castle, including the north and east ranges are thought to survive below ground, having been infilled when the garden terrace was constructed. On the basis of the observed remains, the overall dimensions of the buried remains of the castle are estimated as 85m east-west by 65m north- south. The construction of the quadrangular castle is attributed to Geoffrey Scrope who acquired the manor in 1327 and whose family are famous for building a similar castle at Bolton in Wensleydale. It is thought that the Scrope's castle replaced a Norman castle at Upsall, although there are no visible remains of the earlier stronghold

Another quadrangular castle lay just 600m to the north-east of Upsall, at Kirby Knowle. The castle at Upsall was partially demolished in the Civil War and was in ruins in 1660. The castle wall ruins are listed Grade II. A manor house which then occupied the site was replaced in the 19th century by the present house at which time the landscaping of the ruins was also executed. (Scheduling Report)

On the east of the road at the entrance to the village are the ruins of Upsall Castle. The castle was probably begun by the Geoffrey Scrope who bought the manor from the Upsalls in 1327, and the work was continued by his son Henry. (Grainge, p. 265) The site of the capital messuage is mentioned in 1392, (Chan Inq, p.m) and in 1576–7 the Crown made a grant of 'the old site of the castle of Upsall.' (Pat. 19 Eliz) The castle is mentioned in a conveyance of 1607, and is said to have been demolished at the time of the Civil War. It is last mentioned in 1660, when it was probably in ruins. The only old part is a corner tower at the southeast with walls about 10 ft. high above the lower lawn. It is about 36 ft. square inside. From this the foundations of the south wall run westward for about 130 ft., then turn north for another 140 ft. till they reach another tower with a semi-octagonal western face. In two of these faces are window jambs remaining. This part stands up some 10 ft. to 12 ft. above the upper lawn, which is about 10 ft. higher than the lower lawn. There are a few cinquefoiled heads of square-headed windows lying about, and a plain pinnacle with the arms of Scrope of Masham and Upsall. The modern castle is a short distance to the east of the old site; it was built in 1876. (VCH)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceSE456868
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  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 249
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 84, 86-7
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 106
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 138-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 527
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 87-107
  • Pevsner, N., 1966, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: North Riding (London, Penguin) p. 377
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1923, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 2 p. 40-2 online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 272-3 online copy
  • Grainge, Wm, 1859, The Vale of Mowbray p. 262-78 online copy
  • Whellan, T., 1857, History and topography of the city of York and the North Riding of Yorkshire (T Whellan and Co) Vol. 2 p. 692-4 online copy


  • 1873, The Builder Magazine Vol. 31 p. 506-7
  • 1868, The Builder Magazine Vol. 26 p. 57

Primary Sources

  • Chan. Inq. p.m. 16 Ric. II, pt. i, no. 28
  • Pat. 19 Eliz. pt. viii, m. 44
  • Brigg, Wm (ed), 1915, Yorkshire Fines for the Stuart Period (Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 53) p. 71 online copy
  • Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 12 Chas. II.


  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 630-1 online copy