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24 September 2014
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Regal views from the top
Sheriff  Hutton Castle
Work underway at one of our crumbling fortresses

Construction workers repairing Sheriff Hutton Castle are soaking up views fit for kings.

Work gets underway to save one of North Yorkshire's crumbling royal fortresses.

SEE ALSO

Buildings at Risk: the North Yorkshire Gallery

History at risk: Sheriff Hutton Castle

Regal views from the top of Sheriff Hutton Castle

What would you like to see bulldozed?

The North Yorkshire Gallery

BBC Restoration

BBC Legacies UK

WEB LINKS

The Richard III Society web site has more information about Sheriff Hutton Castles use in the 15th century.


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 Historic repairs

Views fit for a king are being revealed for the first time in centuries as work gets underway to save Sheriff Hutton Castle.

Repairs have begun at the 14th century castle, near York, funded by £450,000 from English Heritage - one of the largest grants it has awarded in the North of England.

Restoration work essential

The five month scheme to tackle falling masonry at the fortress, once owned by Richard III, will concentrate on the formidable 100 foot high north-east tower, worst effected by weathering and erosion.

Views across the Vale of York for construction workers on top of Sheriff Hutton Castle
The view from the top

David Fraser, English Heritage Yorkshire Regional Director, said: "The structure was becoming very unsound and facing a bleak outlook, particularly after a major fall last year.

"A big problem has been the mortar which binds together the ancient stonework being washed away by rain.

"To combat this repairs will involve pinning back masonry with steel rods and repointing. Hopefully that will ensure a rosier future for this remarkable landmark."

Scaffolding has been erected to the tower's full height, offering masons from specialist firm HPR Ltd stunning views of the Vale of York, possibly not seen since the castle became a ruin.

Royal residence

Originally built by Lord John Nevill of Raby, the fortress was eventually owned by Richard III, whose son is buried in the village church. It was also used by the Council of the North until the 16th century.

Dr Richard Haworth in front of one of the towers
Dr Richard Haworth

Since 1940 it has been in the family of Dr Richard Haworth and the only previous repairs were carried out in the early 19th century.

Unique chance for study

Archaeologists are using the scaffolding to explore high level narrow passages encased within the tower's thick walls, taking photographs and making detailed drawings of what they find.

Keith Emerick, English Heritage Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Yorkshire, said: "This is a unique opportunity to learn more about the castle's construction and look for any surviving floor material.

The passageways are really narrow at points, so it's a tight squeeze, but it's a wonderful chance to investigate the monument."

Further major repairs will be required to stabilise the castle's remaining three towers. Discussions are underway between English Heritage and Dr Howarth, the castle's owner.

 

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