Bolton Castle

The History of Bolton Castle

LocationWensleydale, Yorkshire, England (Google Map)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byPrivate Owners
Official WebsiteBolton Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (wedding, events, filming)

Bolton Castle is a beautiful castle with over 600 years of exciting history. It has a unique quadrangular castle, which is rare to discover today. This castle has never been sold, and the Scrope family still owns it. Bolton Castle Yorkshire is a Grade I listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument opened for visitors to explore.


Built between 1378 and 1399 by Richard, 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton, Bolton castle is a beautiful quadrangular castle. In July 1379, the licence to build the castle was granted. The overall construction of the castle cost about 18,000 marks. Sir Francis Knollys described the Bolton castle as a house with ‘the highest walls of any house he had seen.’

In 1536, John, the 8th Baron Scrope, became a part of the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion. It was the popular revolt in Yorkshire against the religious reforms of King Henry VIII. Under it, he gave Adam Sidebar, Abbot of Jervaulx, shelter in Bolton Castle, Yorkshire. As a result, John Scrope was pursued by the King’s men, and he had to flee to Skipton. However, Adam Sedbar got caught. The King ordered his men to torch the Bolton castle. It caused extensive damage to it. After John Scrope returned, he was pardoned, and he started focusing on repairing the castle, which took a few years. Also, he regained his seat in Parliament.

In the 16th century, the castle became a prison for Mary, Queen of Scots. After her defeat at the Battle of Langside in 1568, she fled to England. She arrived at Carlisle Castle and was welcomed as an honoured guest of Henry Scrope, Warden of the English West March. Soon, Queen Elizabeth got to know about Mary’s arrival. She instructed Henry to imprison Mary because she saw the Scottish Queen as a dangerous rival. Later, in July 1568, the authorities decided to relocate her to Bolton Castle, her own home, where she was imprisoned. In January 1569, she was removed from the castle and taken to Tutbury in Staffordshire. It was the last time Mary was seen around Bolton castle. She died 18 years later in Tutbury.

Meanwhile, Emanuel Scrope, the first Earl of Sunderland, inherited the castle. In 1630, he died without any legitimate children. Therefore, Bolton castle was inherited by Mary, the eldest of his three illegitimate daughters. She married Charles Powlett, 1st Duke of Bolton. Bolton Castle is currently owned by their descendant, Harry Algar Nigel. His son and daughter-in-law are presently running the castle and welcome visitors to enjoy Bolton castle’s history.


Bolton Castle
Bolton Castle, by wfmillar, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bolton Castle is famous for its quadrangular design, which means it has a range of buildings forming the curtain walls and enclosing the central quadrangle.

The castle includes a sturdy square four-storey tower at each corner. These enclose the inner courtyard. Both North and South ranges include turrets in the centre of their three-story towers. The castle’s main entrance is through Gatehouse, which is located on the Eastside. The living quarters are also built into the main castle.

There are only five doors that connect the castle to the courtyard, and each of them is defended by a portcullis. Each range of the castle has barrel-vaulted chambers on the ground floor used for storage. And the first and second chambers are used as living quarters. Additionally, the castle includes spiral stairs, and each stair has the trip-steps cut. Overall, it has the perfect medieval feel.

You can organise Bolton castle wedding or private event as per different venues and rooms availability. Also, you can explore Bolton Castle Gardens and check out the Dyer’s Garden, Mary Garden, Rose Garden, Herb Garden, and Bowling Garden with Bolton Castle’s history.

Movie Features

  • Ivanhoe (1952): It is a drama and romance movie directed by Richard Thorpe.
  • Elizabeth (1998): it is a history-based movie focusing on the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her duties.
  • All Creatures Great and Small (1978-1990): It is a comedy TV series focusing on the trials and misadventures of the staff of an office in Yorkshire.
  • Heartbeat (1992-2010): It is a comedy-drama based on the 1960s lives and adventures of the police constabulary, medical staff, and the Ashfordly and Aidensfield residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Bolton Castle?

Bolton Castle Yorkshire is located in Wensleydale, England. It got its name from the nearby village, Castle Bolton. You can easily reach the castle using Google Maps.

Who lived in Bolton Castle?

Bolton Castle is a family home run by Harry Algar Nigel Orde-Powlett, 8th Boron Bolton’s son Thomas Orde-Powlett and daughter-in-law Katie Orde-Powlett.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
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He is a versatile E-Learning Support Officer and former Academic Officer at the University of York, United Kingdom. Not just an expert in education and technology, Debayan also has a deep love for castles and mountains. With a passion for travel, having explored 168+ cities worldwide, and a keen eye for photography, He brings a unique blend of experiences to the table. Specializing in E-learning content, IT support, AR development, and software engineering, Debayan has made a significant impact, educating over 200,000 students on Udemy.

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