How might Cawood Castle have looked? A castle, a palace or a bit of both?


This blog was inspired by my work with Margaret Brearley and the Cawood Castle Garth Group that I have undertaken as a Community Archaeologist over the last fifteen years. We worked together to investigate the Castle Garth in Cawood (next to the Castle / Palace). Then went on to work on the moated manor site belonging to the de Cawood family to the east of the garth at Keesbury. Most recently we have been investigating Romano British archaeology on Cawood and Wistow Common.

The “elephant in the room” when investigating Cawood’s archaeology is that there was a large stone Castle / Palace in the village, one of the homes of the Archbishop’s of York, and yet skirted around by our community research. The reason for our avoidance of these remains is not that we are not interested, of course we are! It is the fact that most of the Castle / Palace is now buried beneath a housing estate built with only limited archaeological investigation that we can find reported.

Some parts of the Castle / Palace remain thankfully. The outer gate house is still in existence as is the range attached to it to the east. This has been dubbed at a banqueting hall locally, but this is probably an unlikely interpretation. The gate house and “banqueting hall” are owned by the Landmark Trust who care for the buildings and the open space to Thorpe Lane to the north.

Also surviving is part of the north wall of the Castle / Palace, not reaching to its full height, but apparently running to some depth (Brearley pers comm). So, all in all not much of the castle remains above ground. The main part of the structures have been built over by post medieval farm buildings and then modern housing. So how might we work out what the Castle / Palace might have looked like in its heyday? How would it have been laid out? Was it really a Castle or a Palace, or of course something in between.

What Sources do we Have?

There are some secondary historical sources that throw light on the development of the site of Cawood Castle / Palace.  Margaret Brearley has managed to draw together papers including an early investigation by historian Robert Sangster Rait who edited together historical material as part of a publication called the English Episcopal Palaces (Province of York) in 1911. His work was inspired by the Victoria County History that was then in its first 10 years of operation and has not, yet covered Cawood. Other important resources were J.R. Keble (1905) who wrote predominantly about Bishopthorpe (a palace further north up the river Ouse), J. Booth who wrote a booklet on Cawood in 1994 and the collections of papers gathered by Janet Pexton a local historian who handed her work on to Margaret.

Writing even earlier than the above sources in 1892, Edwin Bogg lent his romantic Victorian words in description of the Castle / Palace:

“The old tower now looks desolate in company with farm buildings, but let the curtain of five centuries roll aside, and the Windsor of the north stands forth in all it majesty; the walls are thick, and, in time of war, strongly guarded, and he who comes, in peace or war, passes over a strong drawbridge and thence through the watch tower to the castle; men-at-arms guard the massive gate day and night, the deep moat, full of dark water, its traces still to be seen, embraced three sides of the castle or palace, the other side the brown waters of the Ouse formed a natural protection; within this area is ample space for the accommodation of king, Archbishop, knight and squire, men-at-arms, retainers, cooks, scullions, and every attendant necessary to uphold the dignity of a castle in the days of feudalism. Here would be held many a brilliant tournament, when earl and baron, knight and squire assembled from all parts to join in the honours of the tilting ring. At other times the baying of hounds and the trampling of horses can be heard, for the king is chasing the deer in Bishop wood (the wood of the bishops’), at that time a forest of great extent, in which roamed herds of wild deer and other animals. The evening of the chase, when the banquet room is lighted with large torches and the chosen guests of the king are assembled, jesters, clad in fantastic garments, and minstrels make the hail resound with song and story.”

Bogg takes a very romantic approach to Cawood, he sees it through lens coloured by Walter Scott and Ivanhoe, of a noble Castle stood in the marshes. His description of moats and a drawbridge are probably an embellishment. Indeed the walls are not as thick as medieval castles such as Edward I’s Welsh castles, built for defence and to oppress the people that live in their shadow. But if Cawood’s defences are not in that league (wall sections still survive near the river) they will still serve to defend against a lesser army and impress those who visit.

It is worth looking at the early Ordnance Survey maps to try to get a picture of the castle remains, or at least the buildings that replaced them. That would at least help if we ever had the chance to undertake archaeological investigations, suggesting what we might find on top of the castle remains.

The first edition 6-inch Ordnance Survey map published in 1851 shows the area occupied by the castle almost devoid of buildings. There are what appear to be some farm structures on the site (marked yellow in Fig 1). There is to a small, long, and narrow, building nearer the river with a small orchard.  

Two buildings project north at right angles from what we know must be the medieval range and gatehouse. These two buildings might be further medieval ranges. If they were, one would expect to see evidence for their attachment to the standing range (see Figure 11 below).

The building archaeology on the standing range shows evidence for later structures built up against and abutting it rather than being built into it. Suggesting that the wings on the 1851 map are built later to form the first version of the Church Farm complex.

Figure 1: 6-inch first edition Ordnance Survey map 1851.

If we look at the map of the remains from the 25-inch Ordnance Survey, that was drawn at the time Bogg was writing (1891) we again get a picture of farm buildings that had replaced most of the castle at that time. The farm buildings are coloured yellow in Figure 2 below and the gate house and range that still stood then and now are coloured green.

Figure 2: 25-inch Ordnance Survey Map 1891.

Photographic evidence also helps us get a picture of the farm buildings from the 19th century. The Castle Farm buildings complex is shown in Figure 3 below now forming a rectangular complex. A second complex of barns is growing by 1891 that can be seen on the site of the castle in the later photograph in Figure 4 below.

Figure 3: Image of Castle Farm buildings prior to demolition.
Figure 4: View looking up the Ouse showing barns on the Castle site.

Other historical booklets contain information, John Keble’s book on the Archbishop’s manor at Bishopthorpe (1905) gives us some detail as does a self-published booklet from 1994 by John Booth.

Other sources come from archaeological investigations: North Yorkshire County Council and York Archaeological Trust also give an outline of the story of the building of the Castle / Palace and its various improvements undertaken by new Archbishop’s as they sought to make their mark.

The historical papers and local historians are at pains to emphasise the importance that the Archbishop’s placed upon the Castle / Palace at Cawood and its use at different times by Royal families and notable Yorkshire nobility.

In 1992 NK Blood and CC Taylor from the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England wrote a detailed analysis of the medieval historic landscape in which Cawood sits, considering the development of a polyfocal village with two lords, a row of houses for the servants at the Castle / Palace and a riverside area near the parish church. The detail of Blood and Taylor’s article is supported by a Community driven survey of the Castle garth written by Al Oswald at English Heritage and the Cawood Castle Garth Group in 2005.

Early Medieval Origins.

Rait (1911) points out that the palace of a bishop should be in the same place as their cathedral, and that the Archbishop of York had his seat at a palace next to York Minster. So perhaps Cawood could not be referred to as a palace, but it certainly became a favourite residence for several Archbishop’s and royalty through the Medieval period.

The manor and probably a lordly hall of some description came into the ownership of the Archbishop’s of York during the 10th century. It is said (Keeble 1905), that Archbishop Wulfstan was granted land at Cawood by King Æthelstan after he brought Northumbria into his new English Kingdom in 927. Wulfstan was granted lands across the North as part of his plans to keep control of his Kingdom. Many Northumbrians were still loyal to their former leaders who saw themselves as separate from England and looked to Viking heritage. Wulfstan had to walk a tightrope between loyalty to the Wessex Kings of England and the Viking leaders from Dublin who ruled before and after Æthelstan in Northumbria. Part of Wulfstan’s political machinations may have lost Cawood to the Archbishop’s lands, because in 967 it was granted again to the Archbishop as part of the estate of Sherburn and Cawood.

At about the same time as Cawood was granted to the Archbishops of York, the manor of Otley (about 35 miles up the river Wharf) was also granted. Cawood, Wistow and Otley have been part of the same Liberty since then for the dispensing of justice by the Archbishops of York who would hold quarter sessions in rotation around the manors. Although they had an impressive dwelling in Cawood with plenty of room to hold court, the Archbishops also had a manor house in Otley.

Blood and Taylor (1992) emphasise that the appearance of Cawood as a royal gift comes in 963 when King Edgar granted the whole Sherburn estate including Cawood to the Archbishop Osketil (or Earl Oslac). This more detailed gift gives a rough idea of the size of the Sherburn estate that included Cawood. It is not precise and obviously does not include a map, but it is bounded by the rivers Ouse, Wharf and Aire and the Roman road from Castleford to Tadcaster (see Figure 5). This was a large estate and reflects the interest that the King (of England once more) had in gaining the support of the Archbishop of York in controlling the Scandinavian sympathetic north. The Sherburn estate is typical of large Anglo-Saxon estates and might equate in part at least to the eastern part of the old Kingdom of Elmet.

Figure 5: Sherburn Anglo Saxon Estate.

It is not clear what was built at Cawood, but there must have been something there because it is included in the estate description. Perhaps a small hall or house and a small settlement. There was a hall at Sherburn that is known locally as Æthelstan’s hall but may have been taken by the Archbishop as part of the gift. Any hall at Cawood would have been one of several residences in the Archbishop’s ownership and he may have only visited occasionally if at all. Cawood has an advantage over the hall at Sherburn in that it sits on the River Ouse, an important means of transport in the Early Medieval and later Medieval period

Excavation in Cawood at Keesbury (the later seat of the de Cawood family), undertaken by the Castle Garth Group, found a pit containing Anglo Scandinavian pottery and domestic waste, so there was clearly some kind of settlement at Cawood (Kenny 2015). Cawood does not get a mention in the Domesday book of 1086, but it might be included in the record for Sherburn (the estate centre). Blood and Taylor (1992, 83) note that even by 963 the estate size may have been reduced through the Archbishop making grants to other Lords as part of his own process of gaining influence. It is interesting that even at this stage Cawood was owned jointly between the Archbishop and an unknown Lord.

Medieval Castle.

The Archbishop always held the larger part of the estate at Cawood. The smaller holding was represented by a moated site and hall at Keesbury (Kenny 2015). Keesbury was owned by the de Cawood family, whose Lordship, at least in 1201 was related to their role as Keepers of the royal Forest of Langwith between the Derwent and the Ouse.

Blood and Taylor suggest that the village of Cawood was in three parts during the Medieval period. The Archbishop holding two parts and another Lord the third. Blood and Taylor suggest the third Lord may have been the King, who later in the Medieval period gifted the manorial rights to the de Cawoods (Blood and Taylor, 1992, 87). The tripartite nature of the village of Cawood is illustrated by Blood and Taylor (1992) in a plan created from the 1780 enclosure map, where separate sections of the village are still visible (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Cawood a village in three parts.

Rait (1911) states that the early manorial buildings at Cawood were probably visited on occasion by the Archbishop, he sets out several rebuilds that may make for some complex archaeology beneath the present housing and road:

  • 1255: Archbishop Walter de Gray entertained Henry III and his court.
  • 1266 – 1276: Archbishop Walter Giffard had the manorial building / complex destroyed and rebuilt a Castle / Palace on the site.
  • 1272: Walter Giffard, Archbishop of York was granted a License to crenellate.
  • 1374-88: Alexander Neville (from one of Yorkshire’s preeminent Medieval families) had several buildings renovated and towers added.
  • 1407-1423: Archbishop Henry Bowet rebuilt and reroofed the hall. In 1423 Rait tells us that the Castle / Palace ‘must have been a very fine house’ (1911).
  • 1426-1432: Cardinal John Kempe had a fine Gallery built and added to the offices. He also had the gatehouse rebuilt and the hall range to its east.
  • 1501-1507: Archbishop Thomas Savage undertook repairs and additions.

This list of rebuilds and additions means that if we were to try to suggest a layout for the Castle / Palace we would find that things are much more complex through time than any model I might propose later. Much of the medieval rebuilding appears to be made to impress visitors of the Archbishops, who might arrive by road or on the river Ouse. The sense of the building works suggests a fortified palace rather than a castle built to withstand a determined siege. The license to crenelate at first appears to be a military requirement, but there is evidence not far from Cawood in Wheldrake that the license itself was a status symbol as well as a military addition to a castle. At Wheldrake Richard Malebisse was awarded a license for his modest moated site that would probably never have been crenelated or have been what we would understand as a Castle (City of York HER: MYO61).

Personalities and local history “Royalty Stayed Here”.

The stories and people that populate our historic landscape are popular with communities throughout the country, and it is these that are often remembered after the buildings and landscape archaeology are forgotten (although they remain all around us). In Cawood, Edward I borrowed the Castle / Palace during his last campaigns in Scotland as a residence for his wife Margaret. Margaret overwintered there in 1300/01. Edward II also housed his wife Isabella here in 1319. These royal connections are always popular.

1465: George Neville held a huge feast, the amounts of food a drink are listed and are a staggering array that show the capacity of the services and kitchens. The records also list who sat at tables throughout the Castle / Palace. This list of table locations is helpful in trying to piece together the buildings and rooms in the Castle / Palace.

The Royal connections particularly excited the Victorian romanticism of Edward Bogg in his 1892 description.

“From the 12th to the 15th century this castle was the home or sheltered many of the noblest in church and camp.

The 3rd Henry and his Queen rested here awhile when journeying to Scotland to visit their daughter Margaret, wife of Alexander the III. Here dwelt Marguerite of France, second wife of the 1st Edward. During the time this old warrior was fighting the Scotch, and when the storm and noise of war was hushed, we can fancy the old monarch hastening to Cawood, to the society of his beautiful young bride. It was from this time that the Castle rose to its greatest height of feudal grandeur. Here gathered around the gallant king were the crusading knights of many an ancient house, who had withstood the shock of arms when fighting the Saracens on the plains of Palestine and shared in all the dangers of the last great crusade, and who afterwards followed the banner of Edward into the wilds of Scotland.”


Later written records discussing Cawood Castle find most of the site in ruins, replaced by farm buildings. There are suggestions that this was the “Windsor of the North”, so how can we imagine how the castle might have looked?  Indeed, what happened to it?

In 1529 Archbishop of York Cardinal Sir Thomas Wolsey was stripped of government office and property by Henry VIII. He retreated to the Castle / Palace at Cawood, where apparently, he was planning or even started renovations. Wolsey never had the opportunity to enjoy much of his time at Cawood, he was arrested there and was removed to be taken south to meet King Henry VIII in November 1530. He died in Leicester en route to London, on 29th November.

It is said that Wolsey was well loved by the local people and his short stay has entered local folklore (Bogg 1892). Such veneration for Wolsey continues to this day, which is interesting as he had spent most of his life right at the heart of Tudor politics in London. He was very wealthy and had his own spectacular palace at Hampton Court. He gave Hampton Court to Henry VIII when he was stripped of his government positions and it was only then that he came to Cawood. But the rural people of Yorkshire were strongly Catholic and would have resented Henry’s treatment of a cardinal and Archbishop of York. A loyalty to the Catholic church that was to be expressed by the Pilgrimage of Grace some six years after Wolsey’s death.

It does seem that the building itself was still in a poor state after Wolsey’s departure in November 1530 and did indeed require renovation (Blood and Taylor, 1992, 93). Subsequent Archbishop’s appeared to focus on the palace at Bishopthorpe (much more a palace than a medieval castle). Much of the stone was removed to help in the building of the new Palace (Rait 1911). When Archbishop John Williams (1641-50) tried to refortify the castle during the Civil War it was described as ‘unprovided, ruinous and indefensible’ (Blood and Taylor, 1992, 94). The castle was apparently demolished after the Civil War, yet in 1672 it was still recorded as having 24 hearths. Blood and Taylor suggest that the castle itself was sold in 1648 (1992, 94). Keble states that the Castle remained in the hands of the Archbishops of York until 1882 when it was taken over by the ecclesiastical commissioners (1905). Sales particulars from 1963 show the sale of the castle by the church commissioners to Edward Thomas Chantry (Pexton).

Between the early 1700s (see engravings in Figures 7, 8 and 9 below) and the first edition of the Ordnance Survey (see Figure 1 above) the ruins had been levelled apart from the gate house and one range adjacent to it, and parts of the riverside walls.

How can we know what was there?

There are some illustrations showing the castle, that should be an important resource in understanding what the castle would have looked like. A sketch drawn in 1671 from the opposite bank of the river Ouse shows a misty castle tower behind a merchant ship stood at the Staith (see Fig 7).

Figure 7: Sketch of Cawood from 1671

A 1733 engraving of the castle, riverside cottages, and the parish church, shows more detail. The castle in the engraving, although in a ruinous state has standing walls, tower, great hall with large tracery window at the east end and the chapel behind (see Fig 8).

Figure 8: Engraving of Cawood Castle (with thanks to the York Minster Library, Diocese of Ripon)

Another engraving by an unknown artist appears in Drake’s History of York (1736), drawn in perspective, shows the castle and river traffic (see Fig 9). This engraving gives us a good idea of how the buildings within the castle were set out. Again we see a long range running east to west with an exceptionally large tracery window at the east end. I would take this at being the hall of the castle, with the main hall at the east end and the numerous service rooms on three floors at the west end. The castle tower appears in the 1736 engraving to be set slightly to the south of the services but probably attached to the hall. The tower may well be the much-embellished entrance to the hall itself. The chapel then resides slightly south of the hall east end to allow light to flood into the hall. The 1736 engraving also shows a building to the north of the east end of the hall. A traditional medieval hall would have accommodation for the lord of the house at the east end. But in this case, possibly as part of the medieval rebuilds (the window looks gothic, suggesting 12th or 13th century, possibly during the rebuild by Archbishop Giffard in 1266-1276), the accommodation was moved to a separate building near but separate from the hall.  

Figure 9: Engraving from Drake’s History of York showing the Castle Ruins.


So can archaeology cast any light on the layout of the castle itself. Blood and Taylor (1992) and Oswald (2005) present us with an excellent overview of the bigger landscape picture. It would certainly have been highly informative if large scale excavation had been undertaken prior to the building of the houses in the 1970s. Work carried out at that time showed that there were still stone footings to be seen. These have now been covered over to build the houses that stand today.

The most obvious archaeological clue to the appearance of the Castle is the gatehouse and range to its east that are still standing. Built as part of 1426 – 1432 renovations by Archbishop Kempe, although a plaque over the door suggests 1444 – 1445. The gatehouse is built in stone where the range is built in brick with stone lined window slits (see Figures 10 and 11 below).

Figure 10: The gate house and range at Cawood facing south.

Figure 11: The gate house and range at Cawood facing into the first courtyard (image by Sean Stewart).

The archaeology of the building, particularly the range shows the points at which the later Castle Farm (see Figure 3) was built up against the north wall. There are fireplaces in the range at the gate house end, suggesting that the long rooms were heated and might have been dormitories or minor halls to accommodate meetings away from the core business of the Great Hall. Local folklore has dubbed this the banqueting hall, possibly a name given after the Great Hall has gone from local memory, a banqueting hall far surpassing these halls on the fringe of the castle.

York Archaeological Trust undertook a watching brief during the demolition of the farmhouse built up against the medieval brick range and they located a range running at right angles to the standing one. This was probably the range appearing in the 1851 map and might suggest that it was part of the same structure.

More recent archaeological investigation was undertaken by Paul Durdin (2019), in the form of geophysical survey on the area previously occupied by the farm. Durdin identified evidence (see Fig 12) for the foundations of one or more farm buildings, which probably relate to those seen in the 1851 and 1891 maps (Figs 1 & 2 above). He also suggested that two circular responses represent stair turrets to an earlier building that stood to the right (east) as you came into the complex through the gate house.

Figure 12: Paul Durdin’s interpretation of Earth resistance on Thorpe Lane.

These archaeological glimpses suggest that there is a great deal to be discovered on the site of the castle.

Historical sources of building and room lists.

What more detail can we add to our picture of the castle? The historical documentation gives us an idea of what rooms existed in the castle. Rait (1911) lists several rooms listed by Archbishop Bowet in 1423: The Great Hall; a Chamber Chapel; a Library (32 volumes); a Pantry; a Spicery; a Livery; a Plate room; a Kitchen; a Brewhouse; a Bakehouse; a Butlery and Stables. Archbishop Kempe in 1426 adds a Gallery, Offices and Gatehouse (probably added in 1444 – 45 according to the date on the still standing building).

Many of these rooms are services and would have been found in the west end of the hall, with the great hall itself being at the east end. There is no mention of the Archbishop’s chambers, that I suggest may have been a separate building (see discussion of engravings above). The list does suggest a, presumably, small chamber chapel that may have been in the Archbishop’s chamber building. This being in addition to the castle chapel, that may well have been as large as the parish church nearby. The stables may well have been found in the first courtyard that a visitor would enter through the gatehouse.

An attempt at imagining the Castle layout.

Given the evidence that we do have for the Castle layout, can we make a stab at suggesting a layout. We do know by studying other castles and houses what kind of parts we would expect to a great building. The core of the Castle would be the Great Hall. These are usually extensions of the basic layout of a hall, illustrated by a Wealden House in Figure 13. Our Cawood Castle would be built around a grand version of this.

Figure 13: A basic Medieval Hall room arrangement.

My attempt at a layout for the castle is set out in Figure 14. This is just my version, and everyone is welcome to dream up their own version. The Lord’s chambers are at the east end (coloured red along with the chapel in Figure 14) but have been removed to a separate building. There is also a private chapel (probably in the Archbishop’s house and a much larger chapel for public services at the east end.  The services at the chapel would still be reserved for invited guests only but was big enough to hold several guests. The red private areas on the east end of the hall are all intended to allow easy access for the Archbishop without having to walk the castle and bump into too many servants. The Archbishop I am sure would have had a door at the east end to allow access into the more public Great Hall (coloured green in Figures 13 & 14). The Great hall was a place for many of the public functions of a Lord of the Manor and had access through the main door and screens passage (coloured brown in Figures 13 & 14). I suggest that the castle tower formed a grand front door to the Great Hall with the screens passage running under it into the hall.

I propose that the tower and the west end of the hall (all in blue), as well as other ranges around the walls of the castle are all services. The services extend beyond the usual domestic functions like pantries and kitchens to barracks, offices, and stables (areas as far from the Archbishop as possible). My proposed layout proposes 3 courtyards becoming progressively more private as you progress into the castle.

Figure 14: Proposed Layout of Cawood Castle.


You might argue that this blog is just an excuse to speculate, but I would contend that there is enough evidence to at least try to model how the Castle / Palace might have been laid out. The lay out of lordly medieval buildings do follow a pattern and are set out to offer privacy and places where the Lord, or in this case Archbishop, can be seen in all their power and glory. The fun thing about this process is that you can all have a go for yourselves, try to match evidence with our understanding of things medieval and see what you finish up with.

How about the question of what Cawood was, Castle or Palace is really open to debate. As Rait (1911) stated the traditional Palace of the Archbishop is near the Cathedral. In this case outside York Minster. But the Archbishop’s like all of the great Lords of Medieval society, had many homes. They would move from one to another, but each archbishop would have a favourite. It is clear that a number of Archbishops favoured Cawood and created a Palace with the trappings of a Castle. It was good enough as a Castle to be attractive to Edward I and II who used Cawood as a home for the immediate Royal family whilst they were campaigning in Scotland. A Castle strong enough to dissuade raiders but a Palace comfortable enough for a Queen.

Following a chat with Paul Durdin, who undertook the geophysics seen in Figure 12 above I am adding a little footnote.

I was struggling with the south east corner of the castle where it kinks in rather than forming a rectangle (See Figure 14 above). This kink is needed because we have proof that there was a pond in the garth that prevents us making a straight forward rectangular castle plan shape. The 25-inch Ordnance Survey map from 1891 suggests the ruins of a chapel in that area, so I interpreted the building coloured red in figure 14 as the chapel. But Paul has cast his eyes over that spot in the engraving from 1736 and feels we can see two buildings here (see Figure 15 below), neither of which is the chapel.

One building, which may have a small bell tower, running more east west. I take this to be part of the Archbishops house. A large range running north – south, that I suggested was the chapel (but frustratingly wasn’t very east west for a chapel), maybe it looks like a tithe barn or storage range (it doesn’t seem to have windows). The closer view also shows another stair turret, I am not sure whether it allows access to the gallery in the great hall or the upper floor of the tithe barn.

It seems likely that the chapel is hidden behind the remains of the hall and tower and we can actually see a Tithe Barn (also very important for an Archbishop). This means that the buildings in that south east corner might have to be shuffled a bit and perhaps the hall needs moving nearer the river to make room. Possibly like Figure 16 below. Remember it is all reasoned speculation and up for interpretation!

Figure 15: Closeup of the east end of the Castle / Palace.
Figure 16: Amended speculative plan of the Castle including a Tithe Barn and repositioning the chapel that doesn’t appear in engravings.

I hope that adding this footnote adds to our understanding of the Castle / Fortified Palace. I am not going to add any more versions as, in truth, we could speculate many more versions. I do feel however, that we have moved forward the picture of what this great building may have looked like.


Blood, N.K. and C.C. Taylor (1992). Cawood: An Archiepiscopal Landscape, in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 64, 1992 p 83-102.

Bogg, E. 1892. A Thousand Miles in Wharfdale. Leeds: Goodall and Suddick.

Booth, J. (1994). Church Crown & Commonwealth at Cawood Castle, self-published booklet.

City of York Historic Environment Register. Wheldrake Castle or Moated Site (MYO61) (accessed 15/02/2021).

Durdin. P. (2019). Electrical Resistance Survey at Cawood Castle. Unpublished archaeological report.

Kenny, J. (2015). Keesbury Manor Heritage Project: Evaluation Excavation Report, Self-published report.

Keble, J.R. (1905). History of the parish and manor-house of Bishopthorpe, Leeds.

Rait, R.S. (ed.) (1911). English Episcopal Palaces (Province of York), London: Constable Company Ltd.

North Yorkshire County Council, typescript entitled Historical Account (undated).

Oswald, A. (2005). Archaeological Investigation and Analytical Field Survey on Cawood Castle Garth, Cawood, North Yorkshire. English Heritage. Archaeological Investigation Report Series Al/I 6/2005.

Pexton, J. Undated local history research held by Margaret Brearley.

Stockwell, M. Article in YAT Magazine Interim (1988).


7 thoughts on “How might Cawood Castle have looked? A castle, a palace or a bit of both?

  1. hi Jon, very interesting article, reminded me a bit of how Sheriff Hutton ended up as farm complex too. I’d be happy to work with you on doing a 3d illustration of the proposed layout at Cawood if you want, it would give the outlines some flesh and bones so to speak and put it in an historical context. cheers Chris Rock.


    1. Hi Chris, that would be very interesting. I didn’t mention, and I am tempted to add another sentence, that Blood & Taylor considered it impossible to know what it looked like. Guess I am saying that the engravings and the lists of rooms etc give us enough clues to guess. What would you need to help? Huge thanks… Jon


  2. An ‘artists impression’ is the get out clause Jon. As you say you need to pick the right era to put over the impression, and the Tudor era would be a good one when it may have been at it most impressive. But I’m up for the challenge, after all it would be an ongoing and flexible approach which would always be open to change. We can continue on here if you prefer, or just email.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s