Harewood Castle

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are major building remains

NameHarewood Castle
Alternative NamesHarewode; Harwode
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityLeeds
1974 AuthorityWest Yorkshire
Civil ParishHarewood

Large tower house (ruin). Mid C14 by William de Alburgh who obtained license to crenellate in 1366. Large,dressed,locally-quarried millstone grit, lacks roof. A single self-contained keep-like structure rectangular on plan with corner projections,that to north-east angle containing entrance;with another oblong attached beyond on north-side containing kitchen. Entrance, Great Hall with Solar above; at lower level, kitchen and buttery with cellars under; Chapel over portcullis chamber, towers housed bedchambers and garde-robes. 2-storey hall-range, 3-storey service-range,south-east and south-west projections 4-storey towers over 100' high carried up above the roof of the main block, other projections formerly had towers. East entrance front: 5 bays. 5th bay projecting tower has pointed-arched doorway with chamfered surround with above, at 3rd-floor level,remains of traceried window to chapel flanked by shields with the coat of arms of Aldburgh and of Edward Balliol, the former puppet King of Scotland whom he had served with, set above, inscription "VAT SAL BE SAL" (WHAT SHALL BE SHALL) in high relief. Flanking bays have chamfered cross-mullioned windows one surviving with mullions. First 2 bays are projection of wing with 2 bays of arrow slits,one lighting stair. Rear of hall range has 3 bays of former cross-windows with narrow chamfered light set between first 2 windows to light internal buffet (see Interior). Right-hand return: northern service range, on steep slope, 3 diminishing stages with chamfered band carried round 3 sides, scattered fenestration. Interior: the entrance is defended by 2 pairs of doors and a portcullis the groove for which remains. It leads directly to the former screen's passage at the north end of the hall, the upper end of the hall has a raised curbstone for a dais on which is set the fireplace in the south wall (lacks surround)

The hall windows are raised up to a high level and the seats in the reveals are approached up a short flight of steps in the wall thickness. They have segmental- arched heads. Along the side walls of the main body of the hall are remains of stone wall benches. On the west wall and on the dais is the principal feature of the room, an elaborate recess with a richly-cusped arch, crocketed ogee gable lit by a small window at the back. It is almost certainly a buffet or sideboard for the display of plate. Large corbels formerly supported the floor to the solar above. The weathering for the steep pitched roof can be seen on the north and south walls. The south wall has joist holes for a gallery approx. 10' above the solar floor with a plain fireplace under and another, mostly destroyed, on the east wall. Centrally-placed at north end of hall is an arched doorway to an unheated room, probably the buttery. Opposite entrance is arched-doorway to a lobby which leads to the kitchen and may have been a servery with a mural-stair cut in the west wall to the cellar/basement with remains of barrel vault with large ribs. Above, the kitchen has 2 large fireplaces and an oven. In the tower over the entrance is a portcullis chamber and above that, the chapel, with a display of heraldic shields on the walls, entered from the solar. The towers contain one small room on each floor mostly provided with fireplaces, garde-robes and wall cupboards. There has been little structural alteration to the castle since it was built and in spite of its ruined condition it is probably the best example in Yorkshire of a C14 fortified tower-houses. The primary historical interest of it is an example of medieval domestic planning and not as military architecture. Edward Balliol, King of Scotland, is reputed to have taken refuge here when driven from his Kingdom. It was later the home of the Redmaynes and the Rythers. It was known to be inhabited in 1630 but was derelict in 1656 when it was sold to Sir John Cutler. (Listed Building Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceSE321456
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Copyright Phill Davison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Phill Davison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Phill Davison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Phill Davison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Phill Davison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Phill Davison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Phill Davison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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  • Richardson, S., 2011, 'A Room with a View? Looking Outwards from Late Medieval Harewood' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 167 p. 14-54
  • Richardson, Shaun and Dennison, Ed, 2007-8, 'Harewood Castle, Yorkshire - The 2004-5 Archaeological Survey' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 21 p. 167-71
  • 2005-6, 'Harewood Castle' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol 19 p. 124-5
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  • Moorhouse, S., 1989, 'Earthworks around Harewood Castle, W. Yorkshire' CBA Forum (newsletter for CBA Yorkshire) p. 4-7
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  • Parker, J., 1913, 'Some notes on the lords of Harewood Castles' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 22 p. 150-8 (history only)
  • Jones, J., 1864, 'Harewood Castle' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 20 p. 220-227 online copy
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Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1912, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1364-67) Vol. 13 p. 355 online copy


  • < >Richardson, Shaun and Dennison, Ed, 2008, Harewood Castle, Harewood, West Yorkshire: Archaeological and Architectural Condition Survey (3 vols) (Ed Dennison Archaeological Services report 1999/97.R01 for Harewood Estate and English Heritage) < > online copy Vol. 1 [online copy Vol. 2 > http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/archiveDownload?t=arch-888-1/dissemination/pdf/eddennis1-62652_2.pdf] [online copy Vol. 3 > http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/archiveDownload?t=arch-888-1/dissemination/pdf/eddennis1-62652_3.pdf]