The castle grounds also includes the ruins of the Saint John the Evangelist church. It was built 700 years ago and still has the baptismal font inside. The outer wall of the castle includes the tea room and shop. Here is our tour of the castle.
The front gate of the castle has the Norman French challenge of the Clifford family, "Desormais" or "Henceforth." The front of the castle is defended with some cannons.
|Main gate to the castle|
|Maybe not the best pose with a cannon|
|Jacob imitates Lucy's pose|
Inside the front gate is the ticket room, housed in the Renaissance-style Shell Room. The walls are embedded with numerous sea shells. From there we headed to the ancient castle.
|Watch Tower with Clifford family flag|
Lady Anne's Steps lead through the old drawbridge and portcullis into the Conduit Court.
|Lady Anne's Steps|
The Conduit Courtyard is so named since it gives access to most of the rooms in the castle and is where the water pipes terminate. Also, the Lady Anne's yew tree is here.
|Courtyard under repairs|
Inside is the Banqueting Hall where they would entertain or gather the garrison for meetings.
|The only decor left was the antlers|
|View up the chimney|
Next to the Banqueting Hall is the kitchen that served the castle's occupants from 1300 to 1680.
|Not very well-lit kitchen|
|Jacob found another fireplace...|
|...and another chimney|
|Serving hatch from kitchen to the banqueting hall|
The kitchen is also notable for having the "Long Drop" which is a medieval toilet (called "privies" or "garderobes"). Often these toilets were placed in an enclosed balcony over a moat or stream. A pile of moss would serve for the toilet paper.
|Loo in the kitchen; Jacob said it wasn't a toilet because there was no sink|
|The long drop!|
Off of the Banqueting Room is the Withdrawing Room, where the nobles might do their business.
|Better windows than the kitchen|
|View from the Withdrawing Room|
|The room itself|
The Lord's Day Room was where day to day business was conducted.
|The Lord's Day Room|
The muniment room housed the Lord's library and shows where Parliament had the castle walls reduced in size.
|Jacob leads the way!|
|The base of the windows is where the walls were reduced to after the Civil War|
|Not part of the tour--where the current Lord lives|
|View of the entrance|
Further on is the Lord's bed chamber. A niche provided space for a sentry or other attendant.
|A cozy bedroom|
|The hiding spot for a sentry, secretary, or someone else?|
The bed chamber also provides access to the Watch Tower's middle level.
|Watch Tower room|
|View of the entrance|
|View of St. John the Evangelist chapel|
|Jacob's favorite--windy stairs|
At this point we were chilly enough and hungry enough to go have a snack in the tea room before continuing our tour of the castle.
|We didn't really waste our time taking pictures here, we ate!|
Back in the castle, we went down a staircase into the castle's dungeon. In spite of the reputation of medieval dungeons, this one did not involve torture or rough treatment. Built when the moat was put in, usually the dungeon was used to house prisoners until the court in York would be in session. Typical stays were under thirteen weeks (York courts met quarterly) and one prisoner reported at the court that he was never so well fed as he was in the dungeon of Skipton Castle.
|Sure, you're smiling now...|
|The way out|
Back up the stairs, we continued to the wine and beer cellars where supplies were kept. Wine was reserved to the lord and lady and special guests; beer was more freely distributed.
From there we found the new kitchen, in use from 1680 to 1900. Next to this kitchen is the curing room, where meats were prepared for long-term storage (usually by smoking or salting).
|The oven and the exit|
The castle tour concluded with the base of the Watch Tower, which featured the bar used to secure the main door into the castle.
|One end of the bar|
|Other end of the bar|
|Other hole for the bar|
Outside again, we went to visit the St. John the Evangelist chapel on the grounds.
|Going to the chapel|
|The baptismal font is still there!|
|East end of the chapel|
|West end of the chapel|
We stopped in the shop to see if any fascinating items were too good to resist. We did find a chart of the rulers of England starting from the 700s AD. Did you know there was a ruler named Sweyn Forkbeard? I must groom my beard so I can have a cool name too! The children were ready to go, so we quickly made some purchases and headed off to find our car. Along the way we discovered the information center and the Craven Museum, which I am sure we will visit again.