Situated in the stunningly beautiful North Yorkshire moors national park. Pickering castle is a ruined testament to the long and storied history of Yorkshire.
With its early development being pinned around 1070, under the command of William the Conqueror. After the Norman invasion and subsequent defeat of Harold and his Saxon army, the north rose in revolt against the new rule of the Normans. William’s response was brutal, leading his armies on a violent campaign across the north; Fields were burnt, whole villages were razed, and much of the population was decimated. It is said the fires from William’s campaign caused smoke that was visible as far south as London. This event became known as the Harrying of the North, and it was after this that William saw a need to control and pacify the north permanently. Therefore he ordered the construction of Pickering Castle, and others like it, to maintain control in the aftermath of the destruction wrought to the north and to strongly fortify his rule in the region.
Originally the castle was built out of wood but under Henry the second it started its long transition into a stone fortification. The castle was damaged during the reign of Henry the third when northern barons rebelled against the young king. During 1323 the final phase of the castles upgrade to stone was underway as Edward the second feared Scottish invasion and changed the outer bailey to a more durable stone with four towers with one being used as a prison, However it seems he was not completely driven by fear to build it as he ended up using the castle for raising horses converting parts of it to a stud farm of more than 50 horses, after this it was continually used by the royals as a stud farm and even a holiday home and royal hunting lodge.
In the more modern day it remains well preserved being one of only a few castles left unaffected by the war of the roses and the English civil war, so much so that the ministry of works utilised the castle in 1926 and as it transitioned to the English heritage charity it became a scheduled monument and lays currently open to public visits as a great showcase of the storied history of Yorkshire.
Represent Yorkshire with your own ‘Republic of Yorkshire’ quality T-Shirt let William the Conqueror know we outlived him.