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Clifton Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Clifton upon Ure; Masham; Clifton super Yoram

In the civil parish of Clifton On Yore.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire North Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE21818426
Latitude 54.25356° Longitude -1.66673°

Clifton Castle has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry footings remains.


The manor of Clifton anciently belonged to the Lords Scrope of Masham. Geoffrey le Scrope obtained license to make a castle of his house at Clifton in the reign of Edward II (1307-27 AD). Clifton Castle was erected in 1806 on the site of the ancient castellated mansion (Whellan).
Running N from a quadrangle of buildings on the NW of the Castle, is an old stone rubble wall believed to be a survival from the original castle (Listed Report)
Castle erected 1320. Written evidence held by owners. There are no remains other than the portion of walling previously noted. This is 17m long x 2.5 x 0.8m and it cannot be put into context with the original castle. (Field Investigators Comments–F1 RE 04-JAN-73) (PastScape)

Clifton Castle, the residence of Lady Cowell, stands in a well-wooded park which slopes down to the river. It is an ashlar-built house in the classical style of the early 19th century. The site is that of the older castle, the foundations of which form part of the cellars of the present building. A drawing made in 1805 shows a portion of the ruins with a buttress of two stages, a large pointed archway and other details; it was described by Leland as a 'house caullid Clifton, like a pile or castelet.' On the south side of the house, outside the area of the present cellars, but on a level with them, is a stone-built well, which formed the original water supply of the castle. (VCH)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1317 Sept 25 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


The form of the house that Geoffrey le Scrope was granted a licence for is unclear. Leland's description suggest something modest. A curtain walled court with a small gatehouse and/or a mainly timber hall with one or two attached crenellated masonry tower blocks would be a reasonable suggestion on the bases of other licenced houses. Scrope was a very important political figure in the early C14 but he was not a baron.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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