In the northern pleasure grounds is Harewood Castle, a medieval tower house. Archaelogical evidence shows that this area has been occupied since the 12th century although the castle was built in the 14th century by William de Aldburgh.
After Aldburgh's death in 1390, the Manor of Harewood passed to his daughters, Elizabeth and Sybil. They married into the Ryther and Redman families who lived in the castle for the next two centuries. In 1601 Harewood Castle and the Manor of Harewood were purchased by the Wentworth family of Gawthorpe Hall. The castle was still in habitable condition in 1630 but was ruinous by the English Civil War.
In the mid-17th century, in Strafford ownership, it seems to have been abandoned and rapidly became a ruin, subsequently serving as a resevoir of stone for the village.
Harewood Castle stands at the extreme north of the village near the main road on a ridge in the midst of woods. It has a rectangular form with four angle towers, great hall, solar and chapel. On the west side there is a kitchen wing with a barrel-vaulted basement. The castle has large windows on the north side overlooking the Wharfe Valley.
In spite of dilapidation, the Castle’s twin towers are still visible today as you drive along the Harrogate Road, and have provided romantic subject matter for painters over the years. Between 2004 and 2006 the castle was stabilised with grant aid from English Heritage.
The Castle is now accessible to the public on guided walks! Guided Walks will be listed in the What's On section of our website.
A walks booklet is also now available to purchase from the Harewood Bookshop and Information Centre, with 4 routes taking in the Castle, Wharfedale, Estate, House & Grounds as well as Harewood village. You can explore Medieval Harewood on our dedicated webpages.
Excavation a film response to Medieval Harewood created by artist Susan Collins is designed to be viewed on your phone while experiencing Medieval Harewood, you can view it here.
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