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CASTLE BOLTON, in the parish of Wensley, wapentake of Hang West. and liberty of Richmondshire; 4 miles WNW. of Wensley, 5 miles WNW. of Leyburn. The church is a perpetual curacy, dedicated to St. Oswald, of which the Rev. Jacob Costobadie, rector of Wensley, is incumbent. Patron, the Rector of Wensley. Pop. 278.

Here on the brow of a hill, and on the north-side of Wensleydale, stands frowning the remains of a Castle, which was built by Richard-le-Scrope, chancellor of England, in the time of Richard II. This Prince granted his license to Richard-le-Scrope, chevalier, to found a chantry of 6 chaplains in this Castle, and endowed it with the yearly rent of 106L. 13s. 4d. In this Castle, the tower on the south-west angle, where the beautiful but unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, was confined, in the year 1568, is now occupied by a farmer. Her name, inscribed by herself, appeared, till lately, on a pane of glass in the window of the room of her confinement. Although Lord Scrope, her gaoler, had given no reason to dispute his vigilance or fidelity, yet Queen Elizabeth caused her to be removed to Tutbury-Castle, and committed her to the keeping of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Perhaps, as Lord Scrope was brother-in-law to the Duke of Norfolk, who formed a design of mounting the throne, by marrying Mary, might be the reason why Elizabeth changed her confinement. During the civil wars this Castle was long defended for the King, by Lord Scrope, and a party of the Richmondshire Militia, against the Parliamentary forces, but surrendered on honourable terms, November 5th, l645. Emanuel, Lord Scrope, Earl of Sunderland, who died without male issue, in the reign of Charles I. was the last of the family who inhabited this Castle. The building of this stately fabric, occupied eighteen years, and cost 12,000L. It is the property of Lord Bolton, (from whence the title is derived) having descended to that family by the marriage of one of his ancestors with a daughter of Emanuel Lord Scrope, Earl of Sunderland. From neglect, and the damage it received during the siege, the tower on the north-east angle became so much injured, that on the 19th of November, 1761, it fell to the ground. But though the east and north sides are mostly in ruins, the west front is in good repair. It is much demolished with age, and the ruins of time, serving as a receptacle for bats, owls, and jackdaws. The situation commands an extensive prospect, interesting and picturesque, and forms a scene, which sets description at defiance. -Camden -Dugdale -Grose.

[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]

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