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Fauconberg, carried the castle to her husband, Sir William Neville, afterwards Earl of Kent, who died 3 Edward IV, leaving three daughters and co-heiresses, the youngest of whom, Alice, carried the castle in marriage to her husband, John, Lord Conyers. Skelton Castle remained the seat of the Conyers family until the reign of Mary Tudor, when an unfortunate dispute arose between the husbands and co-heiresses, a dispute which appears to have had very disastrous results. In 1577, the castle was purchased by Robert Trotter, whose descendants in 1342, settled the manor on himself 2 An ancient MS. (Cott. MS. Julius with remainder to his son Walter, in F.C., fo. 455) gives the following interest tail, in 1344 (Cal. Palent Rolls, 1343–5, ing description of the castle about this P. 301), and died in 1349 (Chan. Ing. p.m., time. “On the righte Hande an antyent 23 Edw. III (1st Nos.), No. 57). Walter, castle all rente and torne yt seemed fourth Lord Fauconberg, who died 29 Sept., rather by the unkind vyolence of man, 1362, was buried in Guisborough Priory. than by the envye of Tyme, shewed itself He was succeeded by his son, Thomas on the syde of a broken banke. I (ibid., 36 Edw. III (ist Nos.), No. 77), demanded of my guide how the castle one-third of the property, however, was named and what misfortune had so being assigned as dower to his step- miserablye deprived yt. Sir, Quoth mother, Isabel (Close Rolls, 40 Edw. III, he, yt is Skelton Castle, the ancyent m. II; Chan. Ing. p. m., 40 Edw. III inheritance of the Lord Bruce, and (ist Nos.), No. 52). Thomas gave the dignified with the title of an Honor, reversion of this third, together with the which by marriage came to the Lord castle, for his lifetime, to Henry Percy, Falconbridge, and successively to the Earl of Northumberland (Chan. Ing. p.m., Lord Conyers, who leaving three daugh2 Hen. IV, No. 47), who was holding ters, co-partners of his estate, much Varythe fortress in 1401 (Cal. Patent Rolls, ance fell betwixt their Husbands for 1401-5, p. 24). As Thomas Fauconberg the Division of their shares, that neither was incapable, through mental disorder, Partye being inclyned to yield unto of looking after his estates, the custody other, every one for despite ruyned the of the castle was, in 1403, in the hands part of the castle whereof he was in of the king, who granted it to Robert possession, lest afterwards by suyte of and John Conyers (ibid., 255). Thomas Lawe the Lott should fall to another, died in 1407 (Chan. Ing. p.m., 9 Hen. IV, insomuch that the goodlye chappell, No. 19),' leaving issue by his second one of the Jewells of this kingdom, rudely wife, Joan Bromflete, an only daughter went to the Grounde, with the fayre Hall and heiress, Joan (ibid., 9 Hen. IV, No. and large towers; but now scarcelye 19), his widow holding a third of the are the Ruynes of a Chappell to be seene, property as her dower (ibid., 10 Hen. IV, such Barbarisme raseth out the Glorye No. 15). This heiress, who was also of noble families, when an entyre Right mentally afflicted, married, when not of Inheritance is not invested in the 16 years old (ibid., 10 Hen. V, No. 22b), Person of one Man." If we may accept William Neville, second son of Ralph this story as correct, it is evident that Neville, first Earl of Westmorland, by the famous chapel was destroyed some his second wife, Joan Beaufort.
350 years ago.
The MS. referred to 1 Arms:
Gules, a saltire argent has been printed in the Topographer differenced by a rose (The Ancestor, iv, and Genealogist, ii, 403-432, the passage 232), or by a red mullet (Harl. lS., given above commencing on p. 419. 6163). He would
appear to have Mr. Wm. Brown, F.S.A., in a letter subsequently quartered these with the to the writer, says, “I should be inclined “ Argent, a lion rampant azure of
to accept the story as true. The guide the Bruces and Fauconbergs. He was mentioned may actually have been an the second son of Ralph Neville, first eye-witness to the destruction of the Earl of Westmorland by his second wife, chapel." Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Robert Trotter died in 16u1, and Gaunt, and was summoned to Parlia- was succeeded by his son Henry, who ment 3 August, 7 Henry VI (1429), as died in 1623, and was succeeded by his Lord Fauconberg of Skelton Castle, son George, who, in turn, was followed in right of his wife. He was created by Edward Trotter, who married Mary, Earl of Kent 30 June, 1461; fought daughter of Sir John Lowther of Lowas a Yorkist leader at Towton, was a ther, which alliance accounts for the K.G., and Admiral of England. Died presence, in the hall at Skelton Castle, 9 January, 1463, and was buried in of a portrait of John, Lord Lowther. Ġuisborough Priory.
Edward died in 1708, and was succeeded VOL. XXII.
were resident there until 1727, when it came into the possession of Joseph Hall, who married Catherine, eldest daughter of John Trotter, of Skelton Castle. From him it has descended to the present owner, Mr. W. H. A. Wharton. It is interesting, in view of the number of times the castle has changed hands, to note that the present owner can claim relationship, through the royal house of Scotland, with the ancient Brus barons of Skelton.2
Description.—This great “burgus' fortress-by far the largest (in area) of the timber castles of the North Riding. if we include the “burgus "--occupied a long, rather narrow, diamond-shaped promontory, some 54 acres in extent, running north and south, and measuring some 1,600 feet in length by some 370 feet in extreme width.3 The slopes of the natural ravines on either side were scarped away to form broad deep ditches defending the long promontory on the east and west, and encircling its northern extremity. The approach to this large fortified enclosure was from the south by a paved bridle path, still bearing the significant name of “Borough-gate."
The entrance to the stockaded enclosure was evidently almost exactly at the point where the road known as “Church Lane " now meets the high road from Skelton to Guisborough, and here was a small triangular-shaped outwork or barbican (see plan, fig. 7), which would certainly be defended by palisading. From this fortified outwork, a gate, almost on the site of the gate now leading into the grounds of the present castle, gave access to the large communal fortified enclosure, or "burgus."
by his grandson, Lawson Trotter, who was holding the property in 1729. Sometime between that date and 1732 he sold it to his brother-in-law, Joseph Hall.
1 In order to make clear the recent descent of the castle, it should be mentioned that Joseph Hall, of Skelton Castle, brother-in-law of and successor to Lawson Trotter, died in 1733, and was succeeded by his son, John Hall, who assumed the name of Stevenson, and died in 1785. His son and successor, Joseph, died in the following year, and was succeeded by his son, John Hall Stevenson, who assumed the name and arms (Sable, a maunch argent) of Wharton. Ambrose Stevenson, three generations previously, had married Ann, eventually sole surviving child and heiress of Anthony Wharton, of Gillingwood Hall, near Richmond, by his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Wm. Hicks, Bart., of Beverston Castle, Glouces
tér. The Gillingwood estate is still the property of the Whartons of Skelton Castle. The Whartons derive their descent from Henry Wharton, of Wharton, Westmorland, living ro Henry V, who was the ancestor of the Lords Wharton, the last of whom was created Duke of Wharton. John Wharton, of Skelton Castle, died in 1843 without issue, and was succeeded by his nephew, John Thomas Wharton, who died in 1900, and was succeeded by his son, William Henry Anthony Wharton, the present owner.
2 His great-grandmother, Margaret, Lady Dundas, was a daughter of Major Alexander Bruce of Kennet, who was descended from Sir Thomas Bruce of Kennet, to whom the Kennet estates were granted in 1389 by Sir Robert Bruce of Clackmannan, grandson of King David Bruce of Scotland.
8 See fig. 7.
SKELTON CASTLE FROM THE N.N.W.
Showing the scarped promontory on which the feudal castle stood.
SKELTON CASTLE IN 1762.
From the frontispiece in John Hall Stevenson's "Crazy Tales,"
[To face p. 386.