Harewood Castle

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Harewood Castle

Harewood CastleImage courtesy: Tom Blackwell

Harewood Castle, evocatively shrouded in mist.

If you have ever driven along the A61 from Harewood towards Harrogate in the winter or early spring, you may have noticed this vast, crumbling stone edifice among the woods. Like many abandoned aristocratic homes and castles, it was finally abandoned during the English Civil War, and found a half-life as a source of masonry for local people to pillage at will until the advent of the heritage movement.

Despite this, the castle has survived in relatively good shape in comparison to many similar buildings.

The site was originally occupied as early as the 12th century, but the building seen today wasn't constructed until the 14th, when William de Aldburgh was responsible for the building of the large stone keep. Records seem to show that the building was still in use around 1630 but abandoned to the elements during the Civil War. The lords of the manor had, by the 18th century embarked on the building of the far larger Harewood House and the castle was rapidly swallowed by woods. Attracted by the picturesque nature of the ruin, no less a luminary than William Turner painted several studies here

The building today is not routinely accessible to the public, given its general state of decay, but the Harewood estate undertook works during 2010-11 to stabilise it to some degree and it now features on several of the guided walks around the estate.

Groups such as the Leeds Explorers have gained full access to the castle with permission of the estate, so if you wish to explore fully then contact the estate directly. Phill D of that society has some rather exciting photography of the building on his MySpace page.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 23rd July 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2020
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