Sheriff Hutton Castle
Posted on 14th February 2019
Sheriff Hutton Castle
Towering over the village of Sheriff Hutton in North Yorkshire are the ruins of Sheriff Hutton Castle, a once proud and strategically important Royal castle .
The castle in Sheriff Hutton owes its origins to a Saxon by the name of Ansketil de Bulmer. The village itself existed prior to the Norman invasion (without question under a different name, now long forgotten), but the land on which the village stood was granted to the de Bulmer family following the successful conquest in 1066, given as a reward for their support to William’s cause.
Ansketil didn’t see the need to erect a castle or other fortifications, probably thanks to the support he enjoyed from the new King of England. However, the Anarch of 1139-1154 was motivation for Bertram de Bulmer to build fortifications; the original Sheriff Hutton Castle was built in 1140. Bertram de Bulmer at the time was Sheriff of York and his village and castle was on a high point (hutton) – hence “Sheriff Hutton” – the sheriff’s high village.
The male line of the Bulmer family failed in 1331 and the castle passed into the Neville family through the marriage of Geoffrey Neville and Emma Bulmer. In 1382 John, Lord Neville built a new stone castle on a different site adjacent to the original castle. It is here that the current remains stand.
The Castle becomes Royal!
In 1425 Sheriff Hutton Castle passed to Richard Neville, a man who would later become Earl of Warwick and who was known as the ‘Kingmaker’ (thanks to his support for the Yorkist cause during the Wars of the Roses). Richard Neville was killed by King Edward IV at the Battle of Barnet and Sheriff Hutton Castle passed to his daughter, Anne Neville.
Anne married Richard, Duke of Gloucester and following the early death of Edward IV, Richard became Lord Protector for the young King Edward V, who was just 12 years old. Richard was able, through clever political manoeuvring, to have Edward V declared illegitimate, clearing the way for Richard himself to become King Richard III.
Sheriff Hutton Castle was now a Royal property and Richard III’s centre of power in the North of England.
Sheriff Hutton Castle was established as one of the two locations of the Council of the North – a Royal body which was formed to administer Royal control of the North of the Kingdom.
The decline of Sheriff Hutton Castle
Richard II was defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. His properties, including Sheriff Hutton Castle, passed to Henry Tudor (Henry VII). The Council of the North was eventually moved to York and Sheriff Hutton Castle gradually became less and less important. It was sold by Charles I in 1618 and sold again in 1622. The new owner, Sir Arthur Ingram, was building himself a mansion house on the edge of Sheriff Hutton and used stone from the now derelict Sheriff Hutton Castle to build his new property.
Sheriff Hutton Castle was a ruin, abandoned and left to collapse further.
The Castle today
Sheriff Hutton Castle sits on a private farm, surrounded by the pretty village of Sheriff Hutton and the surrounding open farmland and countryside of North Yorkshire. Sheriff Hutton Castle cannot be accessed by the public, but a public footpath offers a delightful circumnavigation of the castle. You can hire part of the farm for private functions and weddings, with the stunning castle ruins in the background. English Heritage grants have secured the short and medium life of the castle ruins, preventing them from collapsing further.