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MANY examples of Norman style motte and bailey castles were built in our region. They were built as military fortifications as early as the 10th century. Typically constructed on raised ground or on a mound, they had a wooden or stone keep, a motte with a courtyard or bailey surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade.

Bishopton Castle was built in 1143 by Roger de Conyers, in the motte and bailey style. Bishopton village's castle was unusual in that it had two baileys. It was fed by a huge artificial lake. When the castle was built Roger de Conyers was a supporter of the Bishop of Durham William of St Barbara during a dispute with William Cummin, who had been chosen by David I of Scotland as bishop. In later years the castle was owned by the bishops of Durham. The mound is still visible around 400 meters from the village. Castle Hill, as it is known, is legendary as the home of fairies.

Kilton Castle lies midway between Whitby and Middlesbrough. Pagan Fitzwalter replaced a wooden castle with a stone one in the 12th Century and his family took the name Kilton. The land belonged to the Percys of Northumberland and later Sir Robert de Thweng known as the "Robin Hood of Yorkshire". The castle was rebuilt several times until it was abandoned in the 16th century. Masonry footings remain, and when archaeologists sifted through material from the bottom of the well, they found evidence of the medieval English diet cooked bones of seals, swans, geese, chicken and blackbirds.

Skelton Castle was built by Robert de Brus in 1140 with two towers, dungeons, a moat, drawbridge and portcullis. In 1265 it was surrendered to Henry III. In 1272 it went to Walter de Fauconberg and remained in the family for 200 years. In 1490 the castle was inherited by William Conyers. In 1555, John Conyers died and, having no heir, the estate was divided between three families and fell into disrepair. The Trotter family purchased a third then through marriage it came into ownership of the Hall family. In the mid 1700s John Hall-Stevenson founded the Demoniacks Club who met at the castle, now in ruins, for bouts of drinking. The castle was demolished and replaced by a country house between 1770 and 1817.

Whorlton Castle established in the 12th century was built on a ridge between Faceby and Swainby near a now abandoned village. The land belonged to Robert Count of Mortain half brother to William the Conquerer. It then passed on to the de Meynell family who formed the castle. In 1343 the castle was described as a ruin and it had passed on to Lord Darcy of Knaith. In 1541 the castle became the possession of Henry VII who granted the castle and estate to Mathew, Earl of Lennox.

Although not in good order the castle was occupied until the 17th Century and later used as a pig sty by a local farmer. The castle was bought by Osbert Peake First Viscount of Ingleby in the mid 20th Century and the gatehouse shell that remains and some castle remnants are now Grade I listed.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2015
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