The ancient and stupendous castle, once the glory, and still the ornament of Scarborough, was built in the reign of King Stephen, by William le Gros; Earl of Albemarle and Holderness. Here Piers de Gaveston, the favourite of Edward II. sought refuge against the exasperated barons, but after a short siege, he was obliged to surrender for want of supplies, and lost his head, as already related, in the castle of Dedington.
Robert Aske, the leader of the Pilgrims of Grace, made an unsuccessful attempt upon Scarborough Castle, in 1536. In the time of Wyat's rebellion, in 1553, it was surprised and taken by the stratagem of introducing a number of soldiers, disguised as peasants. This achievement was performed by Thomas, second son of Lord Stafford, but his success was of short duration, three days afterwards the place was retaken by the Earl of Westmoreland, and Stafford; and three other of the leaders were conveyed to London, and executed for high treason.
During the civil wars, in the calamitous reign of Charles I. this castle was twice besieged, and taken by the parliamentary army. The first siege lasted for twelve months, and Sir John Meldrum, by whom the forces of parliament were commanded, fell before the works. The command of the besieging army then devolved upon Sir Matthew Boynton, to whom Sir Hugh Cholmley, the governor, was obliged to surrender on the 22d of July, 1645. Colonel Boynton, the successor of the Baronet, having declared for the King, the castle once more came into the hands of the royalists, but the garrison growing mutinous, the Colonel was obliged to capitulate, and on the 19th of December, 1648, the fortress was again surrendered to parliament, and taken possession of, in their name, by Col. Bethel. This castle, although already badly damaged, shared the fate of its fellows and was dismantled by order of parliament.
But on the breaking out of the rebellion, in 1745, it underwent a temporary repair, and when the danger was over, the present barracks, containing twelve apartments, were erected, and will accommodate 120 soldiers. Since that time, three batteries have been erected for the protection of the town, and harbour, two of them at the South, and one at the North side of the castle yard.
The ruins of the castle are situated at the Eastern extremity of the town, on a lofty promontory, elevated more than 300 feet on the southern, and 330 feet on the northern side, above the level of the sea, and presenting to the north, the east, and the south, a vast range of perpendicular rocks, completely inaccessible. Its western aspect is also bold and majestic, being a high, steep, rocky, slope, commanding the town, harbour and the bay. The whole area, at the top of the hill, is upwards of nineteen acres of excellent soil, gently sloping near 20 feet from the north to the south lines.
Like us on Facebook now for news and exclusive offers!