A-Z Challenge 2012 - S
The Percy family have been an influential family in northern England since the days of the Norman Conquest, William de Percy, a favourite of William the Conqueror, built the manor house at Spofforth in what is now North Yorkshire. In 1215 Richard de Percy and insurgent Barons are reputed to have drawn up the Magna Carta there.
In 1224 Henry II granted a licence to a later William de Percy to hold a Friday market in the town. It was in 1308 that Edward II gave Henry de Percy a licence to fortify the manor house.
Spofforth Castle sits on a small rocky outcrop overlooking the town. Only the west range, which contained the principle apartments, still stands; earthworks and low walls are all that are left of the north south and east ranges.
|Spofforth Castle - 2009|
In 1403 Harry Hotspur (immortalised by Shakespeare), Baron of Spofforth and born at the castle, was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury.
During the Wars of the Roses the Percys supported the House of Lancaster. After the Battle of Townton in 1461 the Yorkists burnt the castle and plundered the local countryside. The castle lay in ruins for nearly a hundred years before it was restored by Henry, Lord Percy. By this time it was Alnwick Castle that had become the Percys seat. [A for Alnwick in A-Z Challenge 2011 here]
|Spofforth Castle - 2011|
The last occupant of the castle was a steward who died in 1604. Spofforth Castle was finally reduced to a ruin during the Civil War.
But what of Spofforth’s ghost?
A bluish-white female appears for a moment on the top of the tower before plunging to the ground. The spectre is made even more gruesome by only the upper half of her body being visible. Who she was and why she killed herself has never been ascertained; she disappears at the moment of impact with the ground.
I toyed with the idea of using Scotney Castle in Kent for the letter S; instead you may check it out here
Hilary Melton-Butcher’s castle for R yesterday Raby Castle, County Durham
- Spofforth Castle 2009; author TJ Blackwell; Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported license
- Spofforth Castle 2011; author Immanuel Giel; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported license.
- Video by Justin Chapman 2011