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Crazy Castle, Skelton

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Skelton Castle; Sceltune

In the civil parish of Skelton And Brotton.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Redcar & Cleveland.
1974 county of Cleveland.
Medieval County of Yorkshire North Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ65181933
Latitude 54.56501° Longitude -0.99345°

Crazy Castle, Skelton has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The original timber castle of Skelton, built by Richard de Surdeval circa 1072-75 formed part of a 'burgus' or communal fortified enclosure which also had a church and small seignoral village. The 'burgus' occupied a diamond-shaped promontory, 5 1/2 acres in extent, surrounded by a dry defensive moat, 240 ft wide and 50 ft deep, which was scarped out of the slopes of the natural ravines on the east and west sides. The timber castle was converted into a stone structure with rectangular keep and associated domestic buildings circa 1190-1200 and appeared to be ruinous in 1490. In 1788-4 the castle was completely demolished and the present building constructed. According to l'Anson, an 18th century drawing of the 12th century castle suggests that the keep was built on a lowered motte. VCH also refer to the drawing and in addition state that a still traceable (1912) depression separating the castle from the 'burgus' seems to indicate the existence of a former motte (l'Anson, VCH 1912, 1923) Skelton Castle, with Medieval north wing heightened 19th century and 18th century south block, remodelled circa 1800 but incorporating early walls and late 14th century window. The outer bank of the moat at the north end was washed away circa 1865 during drainage operations. The site of a possible infilled moat indicated by made up earth was discovered south of the castle when the drive was widened. No trace of the original castle(s) in the present building and no trace of the possible moat noted by Mrs Ringrose-Wharton. The surrounding moat is well defined and would appear to have been a natural ravine artificially shaped around the castle buildings but more in its original state to the south. The average width is circa 50.0m and approximately 10.0m deep with three modern causeways carrying roads across it. The moat is dry except at NZ 65301917 where a boating lake is situated. No trace of a motte mentioned in l'Anson and VCH (Field Investigators Comments–F1 JHO 29-MAY-53). (PastScape)

Very large promontory site the flanking valleys having been widened into enormous ditches. Castle at the end with burgus in front. Said to have been originally built in C11. Pulled down in 1788. Grade 1 listed C18 mansion on site which incorporates medieval north wing and bits of wall and windows. The medieval north wing and bits of wall and windows are incorporated in the current building. The well defined course of a moat can be traced. Medieval castle of de Brus family.
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:57:09

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