Middleham Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Palace (Royal)

There are major building remains

NameMiddleham Castle
Alternative NamesMidleham; Myllam; Middelham
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishMiddleham

Middleham Castle is situated in the town of Middleham in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. The monument consists of a single area containing the impressive standing remains of the Norman keep, begun in the mid-twelfth century, the fourteenth century curtain wall and later domestic buildings, and the surrounding ditched enclosure. The keep is of the rarer type of tower keep, known as a hall keep. It is rectangular in plan, measuring 32m x 24m, with ashlar faced walls up to 3.7m thick. Originally entered at first floor level from a flight of stairs up the east side, it is divided longitudinally by a central wall. The floor at this level has gone, but the eastern half contained the great hall and the western half the lord's private chamber, or solar, and inner chamber. Below, the basement floor contained a vaulted cellar to the east and, to the west, the main kitchen and a smaller cellar. Garderobes (latrines) can be seen on the main floor to south and west, extending into turrets added in the fourteenth century when the walls of the keep were heightened by the addition of a clerestory, a row of windows set above the main storey to let in light. Of similar or later date is the great window looking out of the lord's solar over Wensleydale, created by knocking through the wall between two earlier, Norman windows. Built on to the east side of the keep is a thirteenth century chapel which originally had three storeys, the two lower serving as a vestry and possible priest's lodging. The upper storey contained the chapel itself and was entered from the hall. Adjoining the chapel building to the east is the base of a tower which contained a gateway to a bridge over the east ditch. An abutment on the outer bank of the east ditch shows where the bridge led to the outer ward of the castle. This eastern outer ward is now built over and does not form part of the scheduling

The ditch is visible on the north and east sides of the castle, and also 40m to the south, where it appears to have been modified at some stage to form a fishpond. The ditch is less than 10m wide and, currently, only c.5m deep; it therefore does not seem to have formed part of a formidable defensive system. Although the early keep must have had outer defences, the only standing remains at Middleham are of the curtain wall round the inner ward, which was first built in the early fourteenth century. The earliest sections consist of a 7.3m high wall with a parapet walk, extant on all four sides of the enclosure, and the bases of the main gatehouse and three corner towers. The walls and all but the south-east tower were heightened in the late fourteenth century and service rooms and lodgings were built against the curtain from the fourteenth century onwards, first along the south and west walls and later the north. The north-west tower, already heightened in the late fourteenth century, was enlarged and heightened again at the time these lodgings were constructed in order to provide garderobes for the new north range. This range contained six separate lodgings which, like those of the other ranges, were intended for retainers, guests and officials. Another garderobe tower was built midway along the west curtain. In the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries, a horse mill and large oven were added to the south range. The tower keep castle was begun in the mid-twelfth century by Ralph FitzRanulph and represents a shift from the site of the earlier Norman ringwork known as William's Hill, 300m to the south-west. Through marriage to Ralph's daughter Mary, the castle passed to the Nevilles of Raby until passing in 1460 to the 'Kingmaker', Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. After his death in 1471, it was forfeited to the Crown. Edward IV then gave it to his brother Richard of Gloucester, later Richard III. Richard married Anne Neville, the Kingmaker's daughter, and their only son, Edward, was born at Middleham and also died there. After Richard's death, Middleham passed to Henry VII and remained Crown property until 1604 when it was given by James I to Sir Henry Lindley. Having passed through a number of hands since that time, it came into State care in 1930 and is also a Grade I Listed Building. (Scheduling Report)

Ruined castle. C12, C13, C14 and C15. Ashlar and rubble. Large rectangular keep of 1170s standing to its full height, divided to form Hall and Great Chamber on the first floor, formerly with an external staircase approach. Late C13 chapel annexe. Curtain wall of C12 and C13, with irregularly-shaped angle towers, including a round tower on south-west known as the Prince's Tower. C14 gatehouse to north-east with diagonal turrets, and machicolations above the segmental-arched opening, and inside a single- chamfered rib-vault. On 3 sides of curtain wall, living and service ranges were added in the C14 and C15. From 1270 the castle belonged to the Nevill family of Raby. Anne Nevill married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, in 1470, and in 1473 their only child, Edward, was born in Middleham Castle, according to tradition in the Prince's Tower. Later, Nevill property reverted to the Crown. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The original form of the Princes Tower is now rather lost under later alterations but it was clearly different from the other corner towers of the castle. It is the most private part of the castle, furthest from the entry gates and on the opposite side of the castle from the town. It has excellent views over what were probably the castle gardens. In a radio essay broadcast in Jan 2015 Roberta Gilchirst discusses women's spaces in castles, mentions Middleham in context of the find of a gold pendant, which she suggests was a women's childbirth amulet, and, more generally, states women's spaces were in the most private parts of castles. Gatehouse would suggest the Princes Tower was not only used as women's quarters but that it unusual form was a deliberate decision to architectural mark this tower as female space. That is there was a deliberate decision to make this castle a place for high status women to give birth and raise infants.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSE126876
Latitude54.2840614318848
Longitude-1.80687999725342
Eastings412670
Northings487620
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Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2" Longitude -1° 48' 24.84"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 2.87" Longitude -1° 48' 25.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 54° 17' 3.16" Longitude -1° 48' 24.98"

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Books

  • Fox, Joseph, 2012, Middleham - A Castle made for Kings (Loyalty Binds Me Studio) DVD Abstract
  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) passim
  • Moorhouse, S., 2007, 'The Medieval Parks of Yorkshire: Function, Contents and Chronology' in Liddiard, R. (ed) The Medieval Park new perspectives (Windgather Press)
  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) passim
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 42-46
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 60-3
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 62-3
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 368
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 292-3
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 156-7
  • Brown, Stephen V., n.d. (post 1985), Castle, Kings and Horses An Illustrated History of Middleham (Middleham: Old School Arts Workshop)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 521
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 87-107
  • Morley, B.M., 1981, 'Aspects of fourteenth-century castle design' in A. Detsicas (ed), Collectanea Historica: Essays in Memory of Stuart Rigold (Kent Archaeological Society) p. 104-13
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 259-1
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1975, The history of the King's Works, Vol. 3: 1485-1660 (part 1) (London) p. 226, 232n
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 243, 244
  • Garlick, Tom, 1972, Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 21
  • Pevsner, N., 1966, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: the North Riding (London, Penguin) p. 245-7
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 64-7
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 p. 251-5 online transcription
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 77-82
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 444-6 online copy
  • Speight, H., 1897, Romantic Richmondshire p. 285-97 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 236-7 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 293-300 online copy
  • Whellan, T., 1859, History and topography of the city of York and the North Riding of Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 122-9 online copy
  • Grainge, W., 1855, Castles and Abbeys of Yorkshire p. 332-40 online copy
  • Britton, John, 1835, The Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain (London) Vol. 4 p. 121-4
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 6 p. 132-42 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 554, 564, 568, 570
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 79 online copy; Vol. 4 p. 26 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl04lelauoft#page/26/mode/1up]

Journals

  • Sarah Kerr, 2016, 'Late-medieval settlement: The effect of Bastard Feudalism on the great houses of England' Medieval Settlement Research Vol. 31 p. 46-52
  • David Mercer, 2016, 'Book Reviews:Middleham Castle - English Heritage guidebook' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 30 p. 324-327
  • Taylor, C., 2000, 'Medieval Ornamental Landscapes' Landscapes Vol. 1 p. 38-55 (reprinted in Liddiard, Robert (ed), 2016, Late Medieval Castles (Boydell Press) p. 3375-392)
  • Butler, Lawrence, 1994, 'The Origins of the Honour of Richmond and its Castles' Château Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 69-80 (Reprinted in Liddiard, Robert, (ed), 2003, Anglo-Norman Castles p. 91-103 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press))
  • Thompson, M.W., 1992 Nov, 'A suggested dual origin for keeps'' Fortress: The castles and fortifications quarterly Vol. 15 p. 3-15
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 320
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 217
  • 1971, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 128 p. 190
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Faulkner, P.A., 1958, 'Domestic Planning from the Twelfth to the Fourteenth Centuries' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 115 p. 150-83 online copy
  • 1901, The Reliquary Vol. 7 p. 164-5
  • Pritchett, 1887, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 43 p. 227-9 online copy
  • Chetwynd-Stapylton, H.E., 1884, 'The Stapletons of Richmondshire' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 8 p. 74-7 online copy
  • 1874, The Builder Magazine Vol. 32 p. 624-5
  • Clark, G.T., 1872, The Builder Magazine Vol. 30 p. 284-5 (reprinted in MMA)
  • 1814, The Gentleman's Magazine Voll84 Part 2 p. 318-9 online copy
  • 1806, The Gentleman's Magazine Vol. 76 Part 2 p. 627 online copy

Guide Books

  • Kenyon, J., 2015, Middleham Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • Weaver, J., 1998 Rev edn, Middleham Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • Weaver, J., 1993, Middleham Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • Peers, C., 1978 (2edn), Middleham Castle (HMSO)
  • Peers, C., 1943 (abridged), Middleham Castle (HMSO)
  • Peers, C., 1933, Middleham Castle (HMSO)

Primary Sources

  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 248 online copy
  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 440 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 487
  • E178/2739 (Survey of 34 Elizabeth) The National Archives reference
  • E36/159, ff. 63-8 (Survey of 29 Henry VIII) The National Archives reference

Other

  • Fox, John, 2008, Middleham Castle: A Royal Residence (Loyalty Binds Me Productions) DVD Film
  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 609 online copy