Bolton Castle, built in 1399, has drifted in and out of royal favour over the years. It was built for Sir Richard Le Scrope and is still owned by a distant relative of the family.
Bolton Castle was completed in 1399 for Sir Richard Le Scrope, Lord Chancellor of England to Richard II. Sir Richard had served in a number of important military campaigns and had earned the king’s favour; but the family would not remain in royal favour forever. Less than 200 years later, in 1536, the 8th Baron Scrope was involved in supporting the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion which went against King Henry VIII’s religious reforms. He gave shelter to Abbot Sedbar of Jervaulx to protect him, but Sedbar was caught and executed and the castle was torched, causing significant damage. However, later the castle was repaired and it was used as a prison for Mary, Queen of Scots for six months until January 1569. You can visit her bedroom on a guided tour, as well as the dungeon, medieval kitchen and medieval games room. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War in the 17th century and part of it is a ruin now, so you see a real contrast between the old and the new.
The Mary Garden is planted with plants and flowers traditionally associated with Mary Queen of Scots and the two walled gardens in front of the castle have been laid out to resemble the original medieval layout. Better still for giving you a taste of medieval castle life is the Hawk Walk or Falconry Experience, two activities where you’ll learn how to fly falcons from your fist.
Today the castle is still owned by a distant relative of the Scrope family, Harry Algar Nigel Orde-Powlett, the 8th Baron Bolton, and it’s run by his son and daughter-in-law, Thomas and Katie Orde-Powlett.