Scarborough castle stands on a prominent craggy plateau jutting out into the North Sea.  It seems to have been occupied since the sixth century BC although fragments of Beaker pottery found there may date back to 2,100BC.  Other items found on the headland included bronze axes, swords and jewellery.  The pottery sequence excavated shows continuing usage and presumably settlement into the Roman era.  Certainly the position commands the chief shelter between the rivers Humber and Tees and as such would have been a trading harbour from the earliest of days.  As such it may have had something in common with similar ancient headland sites, viz. Tintagel

The Romans built their own ‘castle' to command the bay and some of its foundations can still be seen on the eroded edge of the headland.  This ‘castle' is often wrongly described as a signal tower, though its precise purpose is unknown, it is certain that they could not have been inter visible to other ‘watchtowers' along the Yorkshire coast.  Therefore these structures seem best to be regarded as stand alone castles in the true sense of the word, protecting the coast from seaborn raiders, rather than signal stations or fortlets linked to the late use of Hadrian's Wall.  It should also be noted that the Emperor Diocletian (284-305AD) was building what we would term castles as early as the beginning of the third century.  A good example of one of these still stands at Qasr Bashir in Jordan. 

Similar late Roman fortifications to Scarborough were constructed along the coast at Huntcliff, Goldsborough, Ravenscar, Filey and possibly Seaton Carew and Whitby.  Other ‘stations' are postulated down the west coast too, while the still standing fort at Alderney Nunnery is virtually identical in plan, although a third larger.  Two German examples are also similar, Asperden and Moers Asberg, while Ladenburg, Engers and Mannheim-Nckarau also bear similarities.  The purpose of these Yorkshire ‘stations' seems to have been to guard the coasts against sea raiders who came to dominate the North Sea in the third and fourth centuries AD.  Further south the Saxon Shore Forts were built far more powerfully to protect the more prosperous lands of the south.  Good examples of these can be seen on the east and south coasts at Burgh, Richborough, Lympne, Pevensey and Portchester.  Similar forts in the west exist at Cardiff and Caer Gybi.  The smaller ‘signal stations' are reckoned to be later than the Saxon Shore Forts and probably belong to the latter half of the fourth century, with arguments occurring as to whether they were built by Theodosius, who restored Hadrian's Wall after the 367 Conspiracy, or by the rebel Emperor Magnus Maximus (d.388). 

The series that includes Scarborough don't seem to mesh into the defences of Hadrian's Wall and it is possible that they were stand alone castles protecting the coast.  This assumption is somewhat strengthened by the fact that another such castle has been found on the Exmoor coast, overlooking the Bristol Channel and therefore commanding the Severn Estuary.  Others have been postulated in East Anglia at Caister by Yarmouth, Corton, Stiffkey and Thornham.  Coin evidence suggests that Scarborough ‘station' was built around 370 AD and abandoned or destroyed after a relatively short life of a generation or 2.  Early excavators thought they found evidence for several of these forts being overrun and destroyed in the ‘early' fifth century.  However, the view now is that they may have become mausoleums as did other sites on the Rhine frontier.  Sadly in Britain at this time the coin evidence becomes rare and uncertain.

Well after the fifth century, the entire top of Scarborough hill was fortified enclosing a rhomboid area which is now roughly 1,000' by 800', but before sea erosion was much larger.  During the late tenth century a settlement is claimed to have stood here when Knut and Harold the sons of Gorm landed here, defeated Adalbricht Fitz Adalmund at ‘Skardaborg' and marched on York.  Possibly this is a folk memory of 2 Viking brothers, Thorgils and Kormac.  As an excavation in 1921/25 discovered the ruins of a chapel built into the Roman station ruins which was dated by them to pre-1066, the building of this chapel is often attributed to them.  It is then claimed that this chapel must have been destroyed in the mid eleventh century, possibly when Harold Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson invaded England on their way to the battles of Fulford Gate and their deaths at Stamford in 1066.  It was recorded that the Viking army landed at Cleveland and devastated the district.  The fleet then moved down the coast to Scarborough and met stiff resistence from the townsfolk.  Consequently they seized ‘the cliff' which appears to have been undefended and made a huge bale of hay which they set alight and then tossed the burning brands down the cliff and into the houses, burning them ‘one house after another, after which the whole town gave itself up'.  If such a story is accurate it suggests that there was no castle on the hill before 1066, but there was a town below it that was not totally destroyed or recorded in Domesday.

The above ‘history' sits rather uncomfortably with the excavated ‘history' of the chapel on top of the Roman station.  This is thought to have been the chapel of Our Lady first hinted at in 1331 when the parson of Our Lady was involved in a plea to Edward III on behalf of the abbot of Citeaux concerning a grant made by King Richard I in 1198.  The excavated chapel is therefore thought to be the chapel existing in Scarborough castle which is referred to by the Cistercians from 1198 onwards and described as the chapel of Our Lady in 1538, confirming its location.  The church site on the Roman station was lost before excavation in 1921/25 uncovered the slight ruins.  Excavation suggested that at some point after 1086 the supposedly destroyed hilltop church was rebuilt as the highly decorated chapel of Our Lady.  Possibly this was at the same time as the cliff was fortified, although it should be noted that Scarborough does not appear in the Domesday Book which would suggest that there was no settlement here yet and the Viking history of the site is fable.  William Newburgh (1136-98), writing about 1196-98, gives the most detailed story of the castle's foundation.

Concerning the site of Scarborough castle
A rock simultaneously of stupendous height and extent, precipitous and nearly inaccessible on all sides due to cliffs the sea breaks upon which surrounds the whole, except for at a narrow gorge which opens to the west.  On top is a heavenly plain, beautiful and grassy, more than 60 acres in extent, with a fountain of fresh water flowing from the rock.  At the very entrance, which cannot be climbed to without effort, is situated the royal tower and under the same entrance the town begins, spreading both to south and north, but having its front to the west.  It is fortified on this front by its own wall, but on the east by the castle rock; while both sides are washed by the sea.  Indeed, this place above mentioned, Earl William, when he was able to possess much of the county of York, contemplated constructing a convenient castle, so he aided nature with lavish works, surrounding the whole plain of the rock with a wall and fabricated (fabricavit) a tower at the narrow gorge, which by the process of time had collapsed, the king ordered a great and magnificent fortress (arcem) to be built (aedificari) there.

The above ‘history' begs more questions than it answers when compared with the known events in east Yorkshire during the reign of King Stephen (1135-54).  Firstly, it should be noted that it categorically does not say, as a certain government agency would have it, ‘William of Aumale was responsible for enclosing the plateau of the promontory with a wall and erecting a tower at the entrance, on the site of the present keep'.  However, dismissing modern hearsay, it should be borne in mind that as Newburgh had been born in Bridlington, only 16 miles from Scarborough and spent the bulk of his life at Newburgh priory only 33 from Scarborough, what he has to say about the place is surely relevant.  Taken literally Earl William fortified 60 acres of the rock with a wall and built a tower at the entrance.  Then comes the crucial clause of the sentence concerning the keep, ‘which by the process of time had collapsed'.  The Latin verb used for Earl William making his castle is fabricavit.  Although this generally means build, it is an unusual word to use with castle works.  It should therefore be strongly noted that the root, faber, can also mean construct, fashion, forge or shape.  The latter three verbs could obviously apply to a pre-existing structure, while his words about King Henry II, ‘the king ordered a great and magnificent fortress to be built there' says absolutely zero about him building the keep that he is often claimed to have built by modern ‘historians'.  The verb aedificare can mean to built, erect, establish, create or frame, while the noun arx generally means stronghold, castle, citadel, fortress or acropolis rather than tower or keep.  More will be said of this when the time comes to discuss the Henrician building phase of Scarborough.

Earl William of York (d.1179), otherwise known as Count William of Aumale, was the son of the Crusader, Count Stephen of Aumale and Hawise, the daughter of Ralph Mortimer of Wigmore.  At the time of William's death in 1179 he was lord of the castles of Skipsea in Holderness as well as just possibly the 2 lordships of Skipton and Cockermouth, through his marriage to the heiress, Cecily Romiley (d.1188).  After his death she referred to herself as Countess of Aumale and lady of Copeland.  On the eastern bounds of Normandy Earl William held the county of Aumale.  During the Anarchy (1136-54) he had been sheriff as well as from 1138, earl of York.  Up until the coming of King Henry II into the North in December 1154 he was also lord of Scarborough castle.

William had been an early supporter of King Stephen (1135-54) and after a good showing at the battle of the Standard on 22 August 1138, where Orderic described his as the English leader, was made earl of York.  The earl pressurised the electors of York to appoint William Fitz Herbert, a nephew of King Stephen, as archbishop of York in January 1141.  However, before this could be confirmed, on 2 February, William was one of the 7 earls who fled the battle of Lincoln, leaving King Stephen to his fate.  With the king restored at the end of 1141 Stephen moved into Yorkshire in April 1142 and prohibited the tournament that was to take place between Earl William and Earl Alan of Richmond (d.1146).  That such a tournament was planned suggests animosity between these 2 royalist magnates.  Earl Alan died in 1146, but this hostility seems to have continued under his son, Conan (d.1171).  On 24 July 1147, the electors of York were forced to meet at Earl Conan's castle of Richmond due to the hostility of Earl William at York.  Certainly much hard fighting was to occur in Yorkshire before the reign was out.  Around this time, some years after 1144 according to Newburgh, Earl William attacked Earl Gilbert Gant (d.1156), apparently attempting to seize the shrievalty of Lincoln from him.  However, the battle went against William and Gilbert burned Hellewell, slew William's brother and seized Castle Bytham from him.  In reply Earl William destroyed Hunmanby castle, while he was apparently allied with Eustace Fitz John (d.1157) of Alnwick.

Regardless of these sketchy events, in the confused politics of Yorkshire, William was generally King Stephan's man, just as his uncle, Hugh Mortimer of Wigmore (d.1181), was a royalist in the Welsh Marches.  William remained loyal to King Stephen to the end of the reign, but, when told to return the royal castle of Scarborough to the new King Henry II, he affronted, just like his Uncle Hugh Mortimer was over the possession of the royal castle of Bridgnorth.  The story is told by the chroniclers.  Within a month of his accession on 19 December 1154, King Henry marched against Earl William and brought him to submission at York.  Again according to Newburgh:

the king proceeded beyond the Humber and summoned Earl William of Aumale, who under King Stephen had been more a king there, to surrender [the royal towns and villages... extorted from King Stephen] to the weight of his authority.  Hesitating a long while, and boiling with indignation, he at last, though sorely hurt, submitted to his power and very reluctantly resigned whatever of the royal domains he had possessed for many years, more especially that famous and noble castle called Scarborough...

Despite Newburgh's earlier implication that William had first fortified Scarborough rock, the above passage suggests that a royal castle may have stood here before 1135.  In effect Newburgh leaves the question as to who built Scarborough castle unanswered and in all likelihood, he had no idea of what had happened there ‘in time beyond memory'.  What is certain is that King Henry II (1154-89) granted Earl William the important royal manor of Driffield, worth £68, some 20 miles south of Scarborough.  Perhaps this was done in compensation.  Certainly in 1158 William paid Henry 100m (£66 13s 4d) of his debt and the king pardoned him his remaining 100m (£66 13s 4d).  This suggests an element of royal favour.

Although Earl William didn't follow his uncle, Hugh Mortimer (d.1181), into all out active rebellion, he didn't show much favour to his new king and his defence of Aumale castle against Henry's enemies in 1173 was thought deliberately treasonable.  On the count of Flanders attacking the town it was rapidly overwhelmed, despite its strong garrison.  With no apparent resistence Earl William was taken captive.  He then surrendered not only Aumale castle with its royal garrison, but all his castles to the rebels as ‘he wavered in his adherence to the elder king' and it was ‘certainly believed that he was in collusion with the count of Flanders'.

What could have caused such animosity?  The fate of Scarborough castle is a possibility.  If the castle was founded by Earl William during the Anarchy (1135-54) he may have thought himself entitled to greater compensation than a single manor.  Alternatively the castle may have been on royal land and Earl William, as sheriff of Yorkshire, had merely upgraded a previously existing royal stronghold built at some point after the Norman Conquest of Yorkshire.  Without further evidence it is simply impossible to say, although the twelfth century seal of the burgesses of Scarborough has a representation of the castle on it which shows 2 Romanesque gateways leading up to the square keep.  The outer gate is decorated with 2 windows and 2 round windows below the battlements.  The keep itself is recorded with 2 quatrefoil windows in a similar position, while looking out to sea might just be a representation of Our Lady's Chapel.

Regardless of who built Scarborough castle, the resumption of the fortress into royal hands led to some major work on the site, but, despite claims to the contrary, there is no evidence that the ‘principal object of [royal] expenditure was the keep, under construction from 1159 to 1169'.  What the actual evidence shows is that between 1158 and 1175, £673 1s 3d was spent on the castle works, with the bulk of the expenditure being carried out between 1159 and 1164.  To put this in perspective the most royal money for castle works under Henry II (1154-89) was spent on Dover castle at a recorded £6,889 1s 6d between 1161 and 1188.  Surprisingly, next came Peak castle at £1,824 17s 9d, then Orford at £1,609 18s, Nottingham at £1,487 18s 5d, Windsor at £1,398 9s, Newcastle keep at £1,174 10s 11d [with £160 12s 9d on the rest of the castle, totalling £1,335 3s 8d on the fortress all together], then Winchester at £703 8s 5d and in eighth position Scarborough at £673 1s 3d.  The ninth and tenth were Bowes castle at £511 6s 10d, which together with the keep at £101 3s 4d gave a total of £612 10s 2d and finally Chilham a long way behind at £409 5d.  Quite clearly from this major works were carried at Scarborough, but, as is so often the case, it cannot be definitively shown what these sums were actually spent on.  Quite possibly the high expenditure represented luxury and not merely defensibility.

Work had begun on Scarborough castle by 29 September 1158.  At this time the sheriff accounted for £4 spent in works under the view of Robert Roos.  Robert was lord of Helmsley castle.  The next financial year, 1159, £23 9s 4d was spent on the work of the keep (turris de Scardeburc), while other undefined works on the castle were recorded at £30, £40 and £41.  Presumably these works were not related to the keep as in September 1160 it was explicitly recorded that £94 3s 4d had been spent on the keep.  More work continued in 1161 when £107 6s 8d was recorded as having been spent on the castle by the view of Robert Roos and David Lardiner.  Similar large sums of £90 and £77 5s were spent in 1162 and 1163.  The next year, 1164, a similar amount of money was spent on the castle with the farms of Knarlesborough burgh and Wihton sending £68, while £18 11s 4d was accounted for normally and £6 13s 4d was sent from the account of Peter Belcap through David Lardiner.  Presumably this accounted for the majority of royal works undertaken at the castle, although a further session occurred 4 years later in 1168 when castle works cost £57 1s 3d by the view of Ansketilli Malecake.  Finally, in 1169, further work was carried out on Scarborough keep (turris) at a minor cost of £13 11s.  Therefore, in the 12 years between 1158 and 1169, £541 17s 7d was spent on ‘works' at the castle and £131 3s 8d on work to the keep (turris) for the 3 years of 1159 to 1160 and 1169.  This works out pro rata at £67 14s 8d spent per year on the castle and £43 14s 7d on the keep.  Once again from this it is impossible to state with authority how much had actually been spent purely on the keep and how much 'keep work' was swallowed up by the apparently rather loose term 'castle works'.

For the purposes of the following discussion, it is to be presumed that the above figures amounted to the total spent at the castle and that they were correctly allocated, which seems possible considering the way the works were divided in 1159.  If correct, the £131 spent on the keep, mainly in 1159-60, was comparable to the £131 recorded as spent on the building of the 120' diameter White Castle inner ward curtain in the period 1185-87.  Similarly £135 was recorded as spent on the 40' square Peak keep in 1175; £64 16s 11d on Bridgnorth keep in 1169-71 and £101 3s 4d on Bowes keep in 1179 and 1187 - the works recorded as being spent on just the castles in each case not being included in these figures.  At first glance these figures may appear reasonable, yet £102 18s 11d was spent on Canterbury keep in 1173-75 and although Canterbury is a much larger keep this figure should be a warning.  Similarly, between 1182 and 1186, the records show £2,715 9s 10d spent on Dover keep, while another £1,015 6s 9d was spent on both castle and keep in 1182 and 1187.  Further £2,592 7s 1d was recorded as spent solely on Dover castle in the period 1180-88.  Although Dover keep is a superlative structure, its cost factor of 30 times higher than the roughly £100 recorded as spent on the keeps of Bowes, Bridgnorth, Peak or Scarborough, makes a mockery of using pipe roll figures to demonstrate the founding date of keeps.  Either the figures simply cannot make up the entire expenditure on the keeps, more of the keeps existed when work began, or the figures are incomplete with more expenditure occurring at the keeps than is recorded in the pipe rolls.  Indeed a mixture of one or even all of these are possible at each, individual site.

For a nearer compatible keep in size to the above 4 of Bowes, Bridgnorth, Peak or Scarborough, it is possible to turn to Newcastle on Tyne keep.  This was recorded as costing £1,174 10s 11d in 1172-77.  Again was Newcastle keep really over 10 times more expensive than the smaller keeps?  Another example used to bolster the idea that Henry II built these small keeps is the construction of the 90' tall Orford keep.  This is traditionally dated to between 1166 and 1173 when £1,689 17s 9d was recorded as being spent on the castle in the pipe rolls.  It should again be noted that all of this was placed against the Orford castle works with there being no mention of the polygonal 45' diameter tower, although it is alleged without the slightest contemporary evidence that the keep was built at this time.  As Scarborough keep was 56' square and 90' high that would have given it a rough volume of 282,000 cubic feet.  By comparison Bowes at 80'x60'x50' would have been a similar 240,000 cubic feet, Bridgnorth at 38½'x35'x70' would have been only 94,500 cubic feet, similarly Peak at 40'x40'x60' would have only been 96,000 cubic feet.  As all of these keeps were allegedly built from new and paid for by Henry II (1154-89), the price tags of £146, £64 and £131, for Bowes, Bridgnorth and Peak, seem far too low when compared with Newcastle at 62'x55'x80', giving 272,500 cubic feet for £1,190 and Dover at 98'x95'x80', giving 744,500 cubic feet for over £3,000.  The internal cubic volume of Orford keep would have been about 145,000 cubic feet for an unrecorded cost allegedly amongst the £1,600 spent by Henry on the castle. 

Quite clearly the figures supplied in the pipe rolls cannot be used as the cost of building certain or indeed any structures in any fortress.  Surely what is being recorded here is the total expenditure on a site which could range from well digging to wallwalk making and from keep construction to the making of new castle gates or bratticing.   Consequently the building of any of these keeps may or may not be included in the costs recorded and although the entries referring to work on towers probably means the keep, it must be accepted that this could just as well refer to refurbishment of pre-existing keeps and that these expenditures were often lumped together with the refurbishments of the enceintes and most often explicitly with the building, repair or amendment of the houses within the fortresses.  Expenditures made on castles show that it was often the maintenance and amending of the castle houses that were of primary concern to the governments of the day.  The maintenance of the fortifications, except in time of war, seemed a less extensive pastime, but more expensive when it occurred.  The thirteenth and fourteenth century inquisitions at Scarborough certainly support such an assumption with more detailed descriptions given of the castle houses than the actual fortifications.

Whatever was done by Henry II at Scarborough castle, the work must have been both successful and long lived, for the fortress drops out of the records from 1169 until 1175.  There is no mention of it being attacked in the war of 1173-74 with Earl William of Aumale (d.1179) surrendering himself to the enemies of Henry II rather than fighting early in the war.  Otherwise he would presumably have led any opposition to the royal garrison of Scarborough if any local discontent had built up during the war in Yorkshire.  Certainly the king of Scots failed to penetrate into Yorkshire in any strength and would have been unwise to press as far south as Scarborough with powerful castles left to his rear, viz. Prudhoe, Durham, Newcastle and Richmond.  In the aftermath of the war the paltry sum of £2 was spent in works on a gate and barbican in 1175.  Just possibly these needed work as they were damaged in an attack in the foregoing war.  Further, the minor amount spent on them would suggest that either more was spent elsewhere, the structures were mainly sound, or insubstantial wooden works were repaired.

Ten years later Scarborough castle was in need of some minor repairs which caused an expenditure of £16 7s 4d in 1188.  The reign of Richard I (1189-99) saw early disturbances in Yorkshire and this may have led in 1190 to Gilbert Lacy (d.1212+) being awarded £20 to undertake the custody of Scarborough castle by the writ of the increasingly hated chancellor, Bishop William Longchamp of Ely (d.1197).  In 1192 work was carried out on the castle well at a cost of £9 17s 3d.  This was followed the next year, 1193, with undefined works at the fortress costing, £10 10s 11d.  At this point a struggle occurred when Prince John (1166-1216) attempted to seize England from his brother, King Richard (d.1199).  Towards the end of this insurrection, on 30 March 1194, Hugh Bardolf (d.1203) was removed from his 2 year old shrievalty of Yorkshire together with the constableship of the castles of York and Scarborough as well as the bailiwick of Westmorland (which probably included Appleby and Brough castles).  At this point the chancellor, Walter Remfry of Coutances (d.1207), made an offer for the shrievalties of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, but was refused them.  Scarborough castle instead with given to William Stuteville (Cottingham & Brinklow, d.1203).  As a royal castle Scarborough had the minor sum of £2 5s spent on amending the fortress in 1197.  Finally, on 14 May 1198, King Richard (1189-99) granted Scarborough church to St Mary's abbey, Citeaux, a grant elaborated on by his nephew, King Henry III (1216-72) in 1250. 

Over 80 years later on 9 March 1284, an inquisition was held at Scarborough on whether to demolish the old borough defences.  This states that the old borough walls were standing in the time of King John (1199-1216).  Consequently they may have been built at any time before 1215 at the very latest.  In 1284 a jury of 12 good and honest men found that:

the wall between the old and new borough could not be thrown down without damage to the king, because, as the annals relate, that wall, in the days of King John, when the kingdom was depressed by many tribulations and dissensions, was an obstacle and hindrance to the king's enemies, so that they could not execute the injuries which many times they hoped to inflict upon the king's castle and borough of Scardeburgh.  Moreover, when the malevolent enemies of King Henry III, of happy memory, had arrived with hostile intent to besiege the castle and borough, and intended to enter easily within the said wall, they were impeded by it, though old and partly destroyed, and often thwarted and repulsed by a ditch surrounding the new borough; wherefore, if the wall be thrown down, the inhabitants as well as strangers could easily enter the borough, to the no mean damage and grievance of the king.
    They also say that the wall could not be thrown down without annoyance to the burgesses, because the old borough is for the greater part enclosed and strengthened by it.  If it were removed, the burgesses would have no power to resist the king's enemies, who, a chance occurring, could more quickly consume and pillage the borough.  A further reason against its removal is that the king's enemies and depredators coming in hostile manner against the borough, would find no obstacle until they arrived at the castle gates; and so the whole town could be injured or even annihilated, and the castle itself would be very greatly endangered, because open to siege from a nearer point.  Nevertheless, it would be advantageous and useful to the castle and borough if the burgesses could build a wall over the ditch before mentioned, by the help and grace of the king, and in place of the old wall quickly begin a new one; at which, when completed, the burgesses, whether of the old or new borough, with hearty union and mutual counsel could, if need were, unanimously oppose and strenuously keep at bay the king's enemies and other malefactors coming thither in hostile fashion.

No attack on Scarborough during the reign of Henry III (1216-72) is recorded other than in this inquiry.  Possibly the castle was attacked in 1216-17 or in the troubles of 1263-66, but more likely this was the burgesses adding a fiction to their desire to save their borough walls.

King John, when perambulating the North, stayed at Pickering on 1 February 1201, before being at Scarborough by 3 February and moving on to Egton by the 4th.  He came back to the castle again during his campaign into Scotland early in 1216, staying at Scarborough from 12 to 13 February before appearing at Kirkham on the 15th.  From the start of his reign he had developed both Scarborough and Knaresborough as major royal castles in Yorkshire, spending the surprisingly large sum of £2,283 3s 10d on Scarborough.  This was more than he spent anywhere else on any other castle in the kingdom.  Although guide books claim where this money was spent, there is actually no evidence as to what was done with it.  Indeed some of this cash could even have been spent on the town walls.

At the start of the new reign in 1199 many Northern castles had work done to them and included in this list was £2 15s recorded as being used for amendments to Scarborough castle.  On 29 March 1202, John Bully (d.1213) was given £33 for the custodianship of Scarborough  as well as being allowed £14 to repair the castle.  This £33 would appear to have been the annual stipend as Bully received the same amount the next year, 1203, as well as an extra £33 for works at the castle.  Two years later in 1205 another £113 and £48 12s was recorded as having been spent at Scarborough.  In 1206 the custodian's wages were noted for the last 2 years and another £68 15s 5d was accounted for in castle works.  In 1207 the paltry sum of £8 15s 6d was split between Scarborough and Pickering castles, while in 1208 the more respectable sum of £68 8s 2d was spent on Scarborough alone.  On 26 February 1208, Robert Vaux was made constable of Scarborough and Pickering castles

It was after the Braose rebellion of Spring 1208 and the continuing unrest in the kingdom that King John began the refortification of Scarborough in earnest.  In 1210, works at the castle cost £620 1d.  The next year, 1211, works at the castle and on the king's houses within were recorded at £542 6s.  Finally in 1212, £780 6s 8d was allocated to the works and the king ordered the keep roofed with 6 carets of lead which were to be supplied to Gilbert Fitz Remfry (d.1220) of Kendal who had charge of the work there.  If such an amount of money had been spent on the keep and roofing in the reign of Henry II (1154-89) it would definitely have been taken for granted that he built the keep, not merely upgraded it!  The king then proceeded to munition the fortress with 600 bacons and 60 cow carcases, 14 tuns of wine, 10 lasts of herrings, 40 loads of salt, 1,000 unfinished irons, 20 marks of corn and £10 of hay and turf at a cost of £173 7d.  King John, at nearby Tickhill on 20 September 1213, ordered his custodian to further stock the castle.  It is obvious from this that he was expecting trouble.  The next year it was recorded that the custody of Scarborough castle, now held by William Duston, went with a stipend of £50.  Not long ago it had been only £33.

On 29 March 1215, the king ordered Geoffrey Neville (of Raby, d.1249) to place 60 sergeants and 10 crossbowmen in the castle.  On 5 July the king sent them some pay of £19 17s 11d to Brian Insula as well as £286 14s 7d through Geoffrey Neville.  A month later on 11 August 1215, the king ordered William Duston to allow ‘our loyal Earl William of Aumale' (d.1241) and his associates to be received in Scarborough castle to take custody of the fortress.  This Earl William, lord of Cockermouth and Skipton castles, was the grandson of the Earl William le Gros who had died in 1179.  Despite these moves, the king obviously still felt the castle was threatened over a year later for, on 30 March 1216, the king had sent £100 to Geoffrey Neville (d.1249) to munition the castle and buy 6 bone crossbows with quarrels.  This was followed on 18 April 1216 with a payment of £105 17s 6d made to the knights and serjeants in Scarborough castle under Geoffrey Neville.  Finally, on 14 June 1216, Brian Lisle (d.1234) of Peak was ordered to send 100m (£66 13s 4d) to Geoffrey Neville for the works he was carrying out in the king's garrison of Scarborough.  All this expenditure proved fruitful and the castle never fell to the rebels, although the inquest of 1284 mentioned above suggests that it might have been attacked at this time.

After the death of King John on 19 October 1216, various works were continued at Scarborough and Pickering castles, although the cost wasn't accounted for until 25 May 1226.  At this date the Crown recognised that it owed John Neville 1,000m (£666 13s 4d) for the strengthening and repairing of Scarborough and Pickering castles which Geoffrey Neville (d.1249) had carried out.  Presumably some of this went on repairs to the keep and hall recorded in September 1224.  Other elements of this large sum seem to have included the 200m (£133 6s 8d) sent to Geoffrey Neville for his custody of Scarborough and Pickering castles on 4 January 1225 and the £50 sent to John Neville, in place of Constable Geoffrey Neville of Scarborough, for the custody of the castles on 8 August 1225.  Towards the end of the year on 8 December 1225, a further £200 was sent to Geoffrey Neville for the custody of Scarborough castle.  Quite clearly some of this sum was therefore spent on the garrisoning and not the repair of the fortress.

On 3 May 1226, Robert Cockfield is first associated with Scarborough when he was given £40 to repair the castle.  Nearly 3 months later on 23 July 1226, he was sent 100m (£66 13s 4d) for his works at Scarborough castle.  Presumably this was when the Cockfield Tower was built at the southern apex of the castle as it subsequently held his name.  By September 1226 further repairs had been undertaken for a charge of £40 at Scarborough and Pickering castles as ordered on 3 May in the close rolls, while Geoffrey Neville had received £200 for his custody of the 2 castles since 1220 and a further £90 for works carried out in 1225 and 1226.  Part of this work may have been the re-timbering of the castle as 60 oaks were ordered from the surrounding forests for the works and amendments in the king's houses of Scarborough castle on 23 July 1226. 
In September 1227 it was recorded that the houses, walls and other things in Scarborough and Pickering castles had been repaired at a cost of 50m (£33 6s 8d), while amendments to the houses had cost £10 18s 4d.  Another £14 5s 10d had been spent on castle works in both fortresses, while sundries totalled another £15 12s 3d.  The final allocation of funds in this maintenance session came on 3 June 1228, when the sheriff of York was allocated 60m (£40) to be spent by the king's order on the castles of Scarborough and Pickering; with a further 100m (£66 13s 4d) coming from the men of Scarborough for the works; and £14 5s 10d in addition to the 160m (£106 13s 4d) allocated.  Further 16m (£10 13s 4d) was allocated for the keeping of Scarborough and Pickering castles for the year before Michaelmas 1226.

Work began on the castle again 10 years later on 3 December 1237 after it had been damaged by ‘a tempest of wind'.  The instructions were to temporally repair the houses that were unroofed so that they wouldn't be damaged further and then fully repair them in the summer.  Consequently £42 2s was spent on repairs to the keep leaded roof as well as the hall, chamber, chapel, bridge and other buildings by Michaelmas 1239.  However, the section of wall that had long ago slumped (pridem corruit) was only ordered to be replaced on 20 June 1241.  This was done by Michaelmas when the cost was recorded as £63 13s 4d.  This was followed on 30 June 1242, with an instruction to the sheriff of York to spend £40 in repairing a bridge and a fissure in the castle.  The same day the king ordered his justiciar of the forest, Robert Roos of Helmsley (d.1285), to send the constable of Scarborough castle timbers to repair the castle bridge as well as to make 3 gates.  As a result that Michaelmas 1242, it was recorded that £40 had been spent on repairing the bridge and a breach in the walls as well as £2 10s on amending the castle houses.  Early the next year on 27 January 1243, the sheriff of Yorkshire was allowed to spend up to £20 in making a tower before the gate of the king's castle of Scarborough.  This he had obviously half done by 19 July when the king allowed him to spend an additional £20 in finishing the gate he had begun.  In that Michaelmas' pipe roll it was recorded that the sheriff had spent £40 on the gatetower as well as £5 in amending the king's houses in the castle.  This does not appear to have been sufficient to finish the structure as at Michaelmas 1245 it was recorded that another £41 7s 3d had been spent on ‘completing the building of the great gateway of Scarborough castle' and another £5 on amending the king's houses.

On 17 November 1250, the king granted to St Mary's church, the abbot of Citeaux and the parsons of Scarborough church of the chief mansion with the enclosure made by them in Scarborough town concerning which a plea had been made at the king's court, by rendering 4s yearly.  This was elaborated on 20 November when the king added that he was granting to Citeaux for the souls of kings John and Richard, of the gift made to them by King Richard [in May 1198] of Scarborough church with all its chapels and appurtenances, to aid the abbots for their expenses for their 3 days at the general chapter at Citeaux; and that any surplus should be expended for the use of the abbey.  Further, it was the king's wish that the abbey should hold Scarborough church with all its chapels including the chapel within the castle... and that no one should set up a chapel or altar in the parish....  It has been stated that this referred to the chapel on the Roman station, but it is not clear from King Richard's grant or this, that the chapel was not the one in the keep forebuilding.

On 14 June 1253, keeper John Lexington/Laxton (d.1257) of the king's manor of Pickering and Scarborough castle was allowed up to £100 to repair the buildings, bridges and walls of Scarborough castle as well as maintain the king's [buildings?] of Pickering castle.  Five years later in 1258, when Henry III's mismanagement of his kingdom finally pushed his overtaxed barons to take control of the kingdom, the custodians of 21 royal castles were changed; the reformist, Gilbert Gant (d.1274) being sent to Scarborough on 29 March 1259.  The next year on 26 August 1259, the king ordered the sheriff of York to repair the defects of the buildings, walls, keep, turrets and bridges of Scarborough castle ‘where absolutely necessary out of the issues of the county'.  Despite this, nothing seems to have been done, but the castle was attacked before 11 February 1260, presumably by royalists.  On that day the king asked for a jury to enquire into:

who came armed to Scarborough castle and the trespasses they committed against the king as well as against Gilbert Gant, the king's constable of that castle, after he had the keeping thereof....

Soon afterwards, on 19 May 1260, Gilbert was ordered to relinquish his charge to the reformist justiciar, Hugh Bigod (d.1265).  Then the sheriff of York was asked to visit Scarborough castle to determine what state it was in when surrendered by Gant to Bigod.  Consequently, on 20 May 1260, his inquisition determined that:

The large hall, vaulted chamber and garderobe are uncovered in many places and need great repairs.  The kitchen with the tresaunce are almost unroofed, while the stables have been completely uncovered, the manger is broken and one guesthouse collapsed.  Further the walls of the mill house are broken and there is no mill there.  Truly the granary is weak.  The hall in the keep ward is completely unroofed and some of the timbers are broken and it threatens to ruin.  Also the 2 bridges of the castle and the bridge attached to the curtain wall tower are weakened and largely putrefied.  Also the 4 panes of the 2 interior gates are completely defective and the walls behind the said doors and are in a large part taken to decay.  And the planking of the 4 turrets at the top of the keep are almost rotten and defective.  Also the curtain wall surrounding the tower is prostrate in many places and the remainder threatens to ruin and the outer door of the tower is wanting strength.  The battlements and wallwalk of the walls of the castle towards the town have deteriorated in many places and need great repairs.  One of the turrets in the curtain walls of the castle has quite rotted away.  Also the battlements and wallwalk of the external barbican are in many places prostrate and require great repairs.  Also the small door (postern?) of the barbican is weak.  Truly in the said castle is a complete lack of crossbows and all manner of arms necessary for the munitioning of the fortress.

This list proves pretty much that the castle was standing much as it is today, but already much in ruin.  On hearing the report orders were issued to the sheriff to ‘amend and repair the bridges and buildings of Scarborough castle where absolutely necessary against the coming winter'.  This hardly sounds sufficient to renovate the crumbling fortress.  Later again on 1 August 1260, the sheriff was ordered ‘to repair without delay where absolutely necessary the recent breaches in Scarborough castle spending up to £12, unless it could be done for less'.  Again this hardly suggests that any serious repairs were undertaken.

The war cast its shadow over Scarborough again on 10 July 1264, when the prisoner king ordered Subconstable John Oketon of Scarborough castle to deliver the fortress to Henry Hastings.  However, if he refused this command and insisted on only relinquishing his charge to the king in person, he had a safe conduct until 1 August to come and do so.  If he failed to do either ‘the king will betake himself grievously to his body, lands and goods'.  John obviously ignored the threat and on 6 September 1264 the hostage king again directed letters committing Scarborough castle, ‘by the counsel of the barons', to John Eyvill (d.1291), ordering Subconstable John ‘the knights and others in the garrison thereof, as they have not delivered the said castle to Henry Hastings... as the king had commanded, at which the king is amazed, that... they deliver it to John [Eyvill] by chirograph with the armour, victuals and other things found within'.  Surprisingly John Oketon seems to have obeyed the barons as it was recorded that during the recent disturbances, Walter Bulkton, the steward of Gilbert Gant (d.1274), was in rebellion against the Crown, first with Baldwin Wake (d.1282) at Richmond and then with John Eyvill (d.1291) in Scarborough castle.  Regardless of this, John Oketon was back as constable of the fortress on 4 May 1266, when he was ordered to hand the fortress over to the royalist, William Latimer (d.1268).  Possibly Eyvill had obtained the fortress soon after 3 December 1264, when the baronial government issued a simple protection for 49 men who were in the garrison of Scarborough castle.  This was to last until Easter 1265.  Presumably John Oketon, who was not named although his son and another Oketon were, made up the fiftieth member of the garrison that had surrendered around this date.

With Scarborough castle in baronial hands, the king announced on 17 March 1265, that as the disputes between himself and his barons were now at an end he was committing the castles of Dover, Scarborough, Bamburgh, Nottingham and Corfe to the control of Prince Edward (d.1307) for 5 years for the peace and tranquillity of the realm.  As Edward escaped from captivity on 28 May 1265, it seems likely that little came of this.  Certainly the castle was back in royal control by the early months of 1266 and presumably from soon after the battle of Evesham on 6 August 1265.

King Edward I (1272-1307) met with his council at the castle in 1275, although on 27 March 1278, a view of the castle made when John Wesey took over the custody of the castle from William Percy, found that the cost of repairs would come to some £2,200.  The problems found were very familiar - the main wooden bridge between the barbican and the castle gate was so rotten that no cart could cross it, while the bridge across the ditch to the inner bailey had entirely collapsed.  The main curtain was so decrepit that it could not be manned while 200 perches (3,300') of wall round the headland from the gate to the chapel had fallen down.  Quite clearly this would have included all the walls of the castle from the main gate to the northern apex of the site and then back to the south, skirting beyond the chapel of Our Lady built on the old Roman castle and then back around to the site of the Cockfield Tower at the southern end of the main curtain wall.  Currently this entire perimeter is only about 2,200' which suggests a lot of the castle rock has disappeared into the sea.  Finally it was recorded that the roofs of the great hall and the queen's great chamber were in a rotten state, while the other buildings were in urgent need of repair.  This would suggest that nothing of note had been done to the castle since the weak efforts of the mid thirteenth century.  Once again there is no evidence that such an immense sum was ever expended on the castle.  King Edward was again at Scarborough on 27 September 1280, while Welsh and Scottish prisoners were sent here in 1295 and 1311.

In 1308 the right to live in the castle was granted to Lord Percy and his wife, so over the next 40 years they and their descendants proceeded to build a bakehouse, brewhouse and kitchen in the inner bailey, although the rest of the fortress was generally only repaired when in extreme need.  Regardless of this, some royal repairs were carried out at Scarborough castle.  As early as 9 January 1312, John Rolleston and Talifer Tilly were ordered to spend up to £40 on repairing the king's houses in Scarborough castle.  Around Christmas 1311 Piers Gaveston had returned from exile and spent his time in the North.  By March Piers seems to have taken a hand in the refortification of Scarborough.  His return had stoked baronial discontent and on 4 May 1312 Gaveston and Edward II were surprised by baronial forces at Newcastle on Tyne, the pair then fled to Tynemouth and took ship to Scarborough, Gaveston remaining there while the king moved to York to raise troops.  At this point Gaveston was besieged within Scarborough by Pembroke, Warenne, Henry Percy and Robert Clifford.  On 17 May the king ordered the barons and all their men in arms to raise the siege.  However, on 19 May, Piers decided to surrender the poorly provisioned, and judging from later reports semi-ruined, Scarborough castle and allow himself to be taken to York to negotiate a settlement with the king.  If such a settlement was not forthcoming by 1 August 1312, Piers would be allowed to return to Scarborough.  Despite this agreement, instead of the proposed negotiation, Piers found himself waylaid and executed near Warwick on 19 June 1312.

After Piers' death, work continued at Scarborough castle and on 27 June 1312, orders were given for timber to be carried to the fortress for its repair by the keeper, Chaplain John Rollestone.  It was also noted on 2 September 1312, that the town defences had been seriously impinged upon.  Some time back Thomas Uttred the Elder had demolished 100' of the town wall and built a house that long on the site, while William Nessingwyke owned a house similarly built over the site of another 30' of the wall.  Further encroachments had been made upon the town wall and the castle moat.  On 24 October 1313, it was noted that divers workmen had been working in Scarborough castle since 1311/12.  Other works were recorded as carried out at the castle between 8 July 1311 and 7 July 1316.  These works, however, do not seem to have been warlike in the early stages, with an order to provide timber to repair the chaplain's houses and other necessities for the munition of the castle being issued on 9 March 1314.  The same day the king complained that his men and servants bringing timber to repair the castle had been set upon by certain persons who forcibly took the timber from their ships and assaulted them.  The work may have been finished by 6 March 1315, when allowance was made to John Rolleston and Talifer Tilly for £94 spent during July 1312 to July 1313, for the pay of workmen lately working on Scarborough castle.  They were also to receive a further £3 14s 6d which they say they have paid over and above the allocated £94. 

Finally some work on the castle defences were undertaken and between 8 July 1318 and 7 July 1320, the castle constable stated that the gatehouse windows, keep with its lead turret and chapel, the Queen's Chamber (camera regine), Cockfield Tower and the great bridge had been repaired.  These works had included the Queen's Chamber being virtually rebuilt, with a porch with a stone foundation being added to it.  Also repairs had been made to an old hall (vetus aula), a middle hall (media aula) and the hall in the courtyard (aula in curia).  Obviously these terms could be applied to a variety of places.  There was certainly a hall in the keep, another may have stood in the southern corner of the inner ward, while the free standing building now claimed as the king's hall could have been the hall in the courtyard.  Quite obviously it is unprofitable to make any plausible identification.  Adjoining the chamber to the north was the Queen's Tower, though whether this was the attached tower or that 30' along the curtain is a moot point.  This marked the end of a period of considerable refurbishment, it being noted on 6 March 1335, that 163 oaks had been cut down from Pickering forest by the order of Edward II (1307-27) and used to repair the defects in Scarborough castle.

On 2 September 1330 an inquisition on the state of the castle recorded the deteriorations that had occurred in the times of Henry Percy (d.1314) and his predecessors, Ralph Fitz William, John Sampson, Talifer Tilly, John Mowbray (d.1322) and Giles Beauchamp (d.1361).  Repairs needed included the great drawbridge between the barbican and the castle, a wall in the castle by ‘le Wylehole', the castle rock on the north face of the castle which had been broken by the sea, the iron bars on the windows of the great hall within the keep, the Cockfield Tower and the 10 turrets of the great wall.  Repairs were also needed to velvet trappings, white and coloured haketons, a cotarium barrez with allett, cuisses of red cendal, velvet and plate with pulley pieces, shin armour (schynbandes), jambers, a hauberk, habergeons, corsets, collarets, shoes, gauntlets of mail and of plate, coifs, helmets with visors, basinets, plates, pieces of iron shaped for schynebandes, crossbows, quarrels, garroks tipped with iron, great engines and springalds.  Then, on 14 October 1330, it was noted that Giles Beauchamp (d.1361) had received 40m (£26 13s 4d) for himself and 6 men at arms forming a garrison at Scarborough castle when he was custodian.  Similarly on 22 March 1331, the king ordered the keeper of the castle, Henry Percy (d.1352), to supervise the repair of the houses, walls, turrets and bridges of Scarborough castle spending up to 100m (£66 13s 4d) on the job.  The order had to be repeated on 25 May 1331 as the command had not been acted upon.

Despite all this work under Edward II, the castle had continued to decay and in the early 1330s it was recorded that part of the castle rock had been carried away by the sea in the time of constable John Mowbray in 1317.  This collapse had taken a section of curtain wall with it.  It was also alleged that the reason for this loss was that the king refused to send money for the castle's upkeep.  Such a statement seems disingenuous, as not even Canute could have kept the sea at bay from this windswept fortress.  Despite the apparent loss of all the coast side of the castle's defences, in 1337 some £74 spent on rebuilding the great bridge in stone under the auspices of Mason John Brumleye.  With this all work seems to have ceased at Scarborough for the next 20 years.  In 1342 another survey found that in the time of Constable John Mowbray the great hall and other parts of the castle had become so ruinous that they fell down, the dilapidations during his tenure rising to £200.  Two constable's previously, in the time of John Sampson, repairing the defects would only have cost £100.

Work on Scarborough castle seems to have begun again in the late 1350s.  On 3 March 1361, an inquisition was made inquiring into the costs incurred by the repairs done by Richard Tempest at Scarborough castle and the defects that remained after his work.  This important document explains much of the layout of the fortress and names several of the buildings within.  It is therefore worth quoting in full.

Two wooden bridges, one called le draftbridge being the common way into the castle were so decrepit that some trying to cross fell and others hardly escaped the danger.  Seeing that otherwise no one could enter the castle, Richard repaired them spending £10 on timber.  A building called le Porterhouse by the outer gate was greatly damaged as to the walls and the timber decayed for want of roofing and it is necessary for the keeping of the castle, so that it may be conveniently crossed, he repaired it for 48s including purchase of timber and straw for thatch.  A tower beyond the inner gate called Constabletower roofed with lead and a latrine adjoining roofed with planks, were broken down and the roof damaged and gone; and as the tower was specially ordained for the safety of the castle, he had the leaden roof entirely taken off as it could not be mended otherwise and repaired where necessary and replaced and the latrine roofed with new planks, all at a cost of £10 including purchase of lead, solder and planks.  The castle wall adjoining the gate on the west side was so eaten away by sea salt (salsuginem maris) for a length of 60' and a height of 16' that it fell into the sea and [the castle] was open at that spot.  Richard therefore built a new wall there of the same length and height and 6' thick with jamb stones (shoulder stones) bought in Scarborough town and other stones brought from a distance.  The wall on the south side of the inner gate was eaten away in a like manner for a length of 35' and a height of 12' and fell into the castle becoming in its fall like fine sand; and as the castle was laid open at that spot Richard rebuilt the wall of the same length and height and 6' thick of new stones at the cost of £10.  A stable in the castle was damaged and the timber decayed and, as it was the greatest necessity because there was no other stable in the castle, he rebuilt it entirely at a cost of 45s including purchase of timber and straw for thatch.  Qweneschambre with stone walls and a lead roof, newly built during the lordship of Lord Percy, was fallen down, the roofs being much damaged; and seeing that if the king or queen or any of their ministers had to dwell in the castle, they would have no dwelling place but their chambers, he had them made anew and strengthened with timber where it had decayed, the defects of the roofs mended where most needful, new doors and windows made and the defects in the walls of the great chamber mended all at a cost of £10.
    A kitchen called Kyngeskychyn with a small larder attached, served both a hall called Kingeshalle which formerly stood there and the great chamber called Qweneschambre.  The tiled roof had long been stripped off so that the walls were decayed and threatened to fall.  As it could not be well dispensed with, because there was no other kitchen in the castle except for in the great tower, he repaired the walls and timbers at a cost of £6 including the purchase of timber, tiles and lime.  A turret on the south wall of the castle facing the town was eaten away by the sea salt and flung down by the force of the wind into the castle ditch (pit - foveam) and as the castle was open at that spot, he rebuilt the turret, partly with the fallen stones and partly with new stones bought from a distance at a cost of £9 6s 8d.  The above are the only expenses incurred by him in repairing the walls and buildings of the castle.
    A barbican before the outer gates, a postern, the barriers before the gates, a tower in which these gates are, a place called the Turnpike by the tower and the walls on each side of the entrance from the outer gates to the tower called Consabletour in which the inner gates are, except a part new built when Lord Percy was keeper, are eaten away by the sea salt and threaten a grievous collapse; and a wall under the Draghtbrigg is cracked from top to bottom.  Unless the tower and the walls are speedily repaired they cannot be saved from ruin; the towers, barbican and walls cannot be repaired for less than £200.
    The wall of the castle on the south side towards the town from the Constabletour to a place and tower called Ledentour, except a part rebuilt by Richard Tempest as above and [the towers] built and covered with lead as the jurors suppose, between the 2 towers named are eaten away by sea salt and shattered and greatly damaged so as to threaten a dangerous collapse.  The battlements of the towers, the wall, the wallwalk (basis) on which there was a common passage on the top of the wall and towers and the stone steps lately arranged to go up thereto, have quite fallen down.  The leaden roofing of the 4 towers and the timber thereof has either been carried away or decayed, but at what time the jurors know not, as they cannot remember seeing the towers with their roofs on.  The repair of the wall and towers, the renewal of the battlements and the replacement of the leaden roofing on new timber could not be done for less than £233 6s 8d.
    The castle wall on the south side towards the town, from the Ledentour to the tower called Cokfeldestour at the end of the wall on the edge of the sea, is eaten away by the sea salt and very ruinous; and the 2 towers and the 5 towers between them, whereof the large 3 were roofed with lead, but not the smaller, as the jurors suppose, are broke down in like manner, except where rebuilt by Richard Tempest and much damaged as to the leaden roofing and the timber, both of the upper portion lately arranged to support the leaden roofs and of the joists and the flooring of the chambers, so decayed as to be of no use for repairs.
    The leaden roofing of the chamber called Qweneschambre which abuts on the wall between Cokefeldtour and Ledentour and was repaired by Richard Tempest, is damaged in places and as it is much more needed than the other towers, it should be sooner repaired.  These roofs cannot be sufficiently repaired unless the lead is completely stripped off and melted into new sheets together with a quantity of fresh lead and the upper framework of the towers and the floors of the chambers that were in them cannot be repaired except by complete rebuilding and the same with the stone and wooden steps to go up the wall and towers and [also] the stone wallwalk along the top.  The whole of the defects in the wall, towers and chambers aforesaid cannot be repaired for less than 1,000m (£666 13s 4d) including the cost of timber and lead.  A tiled building called Noricehous annexed to the Qweneschaumbre with a fireplace of wood, tiles and plaster and plaster walls is quite broken down and the timber so [decayed] for lack of roofing as to be useless for repairs, so that it must be completely rebuilt.  One of the 3 chambers attached to the Qweneschaumbre with a tiled roof and lime-whited clay walls is so damaged that parts of the roof and walls have fallen down and the timber is decayed for lack of roofing; the damage can be repaired for 40s.
    The wall enclosing the castle on the west side beginning from that built by Richard Tempest by the Constabletour and extending along the sea on the north side to a place called Tristones at the north corner of the castle is ruined both by the corrosion of the sea salt and the cracking of the rock whereon it is built, so that the foundations are much broken and it leans outwards.  The stone [steps] lately arranged to mount the wall and the stone wallwalk along it have completely fallen down and cannot be repaired unless the wall is completely rebuilt except for some very short sections which cannot be done for 500m (£333 6s 8d).  The wall enclosing the castle on the east side from the north corner called Tristones to Co[kefeldtour] at the corner towards the south, built and supported for much of its length on a cliff on the sea-face, is eaten away and broken down by the sea salt, together with part of the cliff and has fallen into the sea; it can only be repaired by complete rebuilding which cannot be done for less than £1,000.
    A wall under the great tower, built across from the west wall of the castle to the barbican round the said tower, has in it a third gate of the castle, through which is a common way of entry.  A tower over this gate is said never to have been roofed.  This wall is damaged in places, the battlements of the tower fallen, the wooden gates lately arranged to close the gateway broken and their timbers and iron binding decayed.  The repairs of the wall and rebuilding of the tower and the making of new wooden gates will amount to not less than £40.
    The leaden roofing of the great tower, the 3 corner turrets thereon and the chapel attached thereto is damaged and broken in places, and a corner turret in which there is a building called Waytehous is completely destroyed; the timber of the upper framework of the chapel and of the joists, floors etc is decayed for want of roofing; the walls of the keep and chapel are beginning to be damaged, both for want of repairs to the roof and because one of the [corner] turrets is completely unroofed; the doors and windows in the keep and chapel, of wood, bound with iron, and their ironwork, including locks, [drawbar] slots and staples are damaged by rust and wind.  The [keep and] chapel cannot be repaired unless the leaden roof is completely stripped off, the upper framework of the chapel [repaired] with new timber and the lead melted, together with fresh lead, to form a new roof.  The defects in the keep and chapel cannot be repaired for less than 100m (£66 13s 4d) including the purchase of timber, lead and ironwork.  A wall called the barbican of the keep [inner ward] built all around it is much damaged and broken in its foundations, so that most of it has fallen and the part still standing threatens to fall; it can only be repaired by rebuilding which cannot be done for less than £300.
    When Lord Percy was keeper 2 thatched buildings were put up within the barbican [inner ward] for a kitchen, bakehouse and brewhouse, which have now fallen down and the timber is so decayed as to be of no use for rebuilding.  They can only be repaired by rebuilding which cannot be done for less than £20.  A hall called Kyngeshalle said to have been roofed with tiles, used to stand by the Qweneschambre, but has long been entirely in ruins except that parts of the wall are still standing and the timber is so destroyed that nothing remains; it can only be repaired by complete rebuilding which would cost £40.  Total spent on repairs by Richard Tempest, £79 19s.

In total this meant that Constable Richard Tempest had spent a recorded £59 19s 8d on the castle (not the £79 19s claimed) and that a further £2,902 needed to be spent to bring the fortress up to scratch.  After this inquiry Constable Tempest was ordered on 28 February 1363, to cause the defects of houses, walls, and other enclosure of Scarborough castle which are in need of repair to be repaired....  As a result of this, before 1376, Richard had spent some £165 remedying some of these defects.  These repairs were obviously not on a scale to cover the nearly £3,000 needed to remedy all the reported problems.  Even so, by 1393, the estimated cost of these repairs had dropped to £2,000 after the prior of Bridlington and the bailiffs of Scarborough had been asked on 6 February 1393 ‘to examine the condition of the castle and enquire into all defects both as to walls, gates, turrets, loops, garrets, bridges, barriers, dykes, mills and other buildings and as to the equipment of armour, artillery, victuals etc'.  The previous day, 5 Feb 1393, John Mosdale had been made keeper of Scarborough castle, a post forfeited by John St Quentin (constable from 1382), to receive as wages all issues and profits belonging to the castle together with a further grant of 50m (£33 6s 8d) a year on condition that he spent 40m (£26 13s 4d) yearly on castle repairs.  Yet it was only 3 years later on 12 May 1396 that Mosdale was ordered to set masons, carpenters and other workmen to repair Scarborough and Newcastle on Tyne castles.  The order was repeated under Henry IV (1399-1412) on 5 May 1400.  These works were still progressing on 25 December 1401 when Mosdale was granted an extra 10m (£6 13s 4d) yearly ‘for his allowances for the repairs of the [Scarborough] castle and long has been and still is keeper of the king's castle of Newcastle on Tyne without fee or reward'.

This state of affairs, with the constables maintaining the castle, proceeded for decades, with the king finally asking the sheriff of York, on 24 July 1410, if John Mosdale, who had received 50m (£33 6s 8d) pa from 1393 to the present day, had actually spent that money properly, ‘or converted the same to his own use'?  Whether John had cheated or not is unknown as King Henry IV (1399-1413) ordered the proceedings halted.  However Mosdale was allowed to remain as constable and was even, on 4 June 1412, given another royal commission.  During his 30 year tenure of this office (1393-1423), he may have carried out many repairs of the fortress with the £800 allocated to him for this purpose during that time.  Indeed, if the subsequent constables who are known to have held this office on the same terms until at least 22 December 1459, also were honest, some £1,813 6s 8d would have been spent on the castle upkeep between 1393 and 1461.  During his term of office, some of the money seems to have been spent on building Mosdale's Hall into the site of the Queen's Chamber. 

On 15 July 1423, Thomas Burgh was granted the castle on similar terms to Mosdale on the latter's surrender of the boon.  It was also noted at the time that the issues and profits of the castle were worth £20 a year.  During Burgh's term of office (1424-29) the Constable's Tower was taken down and rebuilt as it was on the point of falling.  Thomas Hyndeley, master mason at Durham Cathedral, was sent for ‘to devise and ordain the most siker ground of the Constable Tower'.  This tower was plainly the inner gatetower, isolated from barbican and castle by the 2 drawbridges.  At the same time a new section of wall was made between the Watchhouse (wacchehous - probably now the solid turret at the top of the second ward south curtain) and the castle bridge.  Subsequent constables held the castle on the same terms as Mosdale, the last grant being made being to Earl Henry Percy on 22 December 1459.  He was killed at the battle of Towton, just over a year later on 29 Mar 1461.

Scarborough castle was last used as a royal base in 1484 when Richard III (1483-85) prepared a fleet in the bay below to oppose hostile landings.  When Leland passed in the 1530s he found:

At the east end of the town, on the one point of the bosom of the sea, where the harbour is, stands an exceeding goodly large and strong castle on a steep rock, having but one way by the steep slaty crag to come to it.  And or ever a man can enter the area of the castle there are 2 towers and betwixt each of them a drawbridge, having steep rocks on each side of them.  In the first court is the arx and 3 towers in a row and then yoinith a wall to them, as an arm down from the first court to the point of the sea cliff, containing in it 6 towers whereof the second is square and full of lodgings and is called the Queen's Tower or Lodging.
Without the first area is a great green, containing (to reckon down to the very shore) sixteen acres and in it is a chapel and beside old walls of houses of office that stood there.  But of all the castle the arx is the oldest and strongest part.  The entry of the castle betwixt the drawbridges is such, that with costs the sea might come round about the castle, the which stands as a little foreland or point between 2 bays.

Around the same time as this in 1537, it was reported that the castle constable, Sir Ralph Eure, had, on assuming the constableship from Sir Walter Griffith, stripped the lead off the tower and turret roofs, sent some to France in exchange for wine and made the rest into a brewing vessel.  Further, on 7 January 1538, it was reported that a part of the wall with the ground under it had ‘shot down in the outer ward between the gatehouse and the castle'.  Presumably this marked the collapse of the western approach wall from the main gatehouse beyond the barbican to the keep. 

Nearly 3 months later on 25 March 1538, a view was taken of Scarborough castle by Sir Marmaduke Constable and Sir Rauff Ellerker Junior. This found that the barbican, or as they called it, ‘the outer ward is in circuit 98 yds (294'), of which 37 yds (111') are clean fallen down'.  The figures given for this show that by this they meant the circuit of the barbican which is about 300', the outer ward being over 1,000 long and not being a circuit, unlike the barbican.  The 111' which had fallen was obviously the rear, north side of the defence.  Beyond this was the approach, described as ‘a second ward of 154 yds (462'), of which 38 yds (114') are fallen down, with 2 bridges and turrets'.  The gatehouse was described as ‘within the same (bridge) a turret in length 9 yds (27), in height 13 yds (39'), in breadth 5 yds (15').  It's defences also included a portcullis, although all traces of this are now gone. 

Above the second ward was a small, otherwise unmentioned ‘third ward'.  This was entered ‘neither by a tower nor a house, but by a pair of evil timber gates 13' high and 10' broad with a place for a portcullis'.  The ward was ‘square like a court, 22 yds (66'), all in good repair, except the gates'.  This is obviously the area between the keep and the Master Gunner's House, which house as yet did not exist.  Beyond this was ‘the inner or fourth ward' which was ‘156 yds (468') in circuit, with three turrets'. If the dimensions quoted are correct, they did not include the great keep as part of the defences of the inner ward, for this and its associated buildings would have added another 120' to the distance.  The core of the defences were then described, ‘the dongeon or high tower of 4 stories with 5 turrets' and was 18 yards (54') square.  It would therefore appear that originally the keep had 4 corner turrets and presumably a fifth that contained the forebuilding with chapel.  Within the keep were ‘the ordnance concepts of a great brazen gun, an old serpentine, four bases, and eight chanters; but no shot or powder'.

From the inner ward there was ‘a straight [wall] that stretches to the sea-side towards the south-east, 207 yds (621'), and round towers, 2 storeys high and 18' in diameter called Queen's Tower, Bosdale Hall, Cokhyll Tower, as well as 2 others'.  Interestingly this is the first measurement that certainly does not tally with reality, the real wall from the inner ward being at least 720' to the inner ward junction from the Cockhill or rather Cockfield Tower.  This latter has now fallen with that part of the headland into the sea.  Also Bosdale is obviously the Mosdale Hall and the last before the Cockfield Tower of the outer ward had already collapsed.  Finally, of the castle defences, it was noted that the north wall along the headland ran for ‘140 rods (2,310'), on the sea cliff'.  Such a distance is almost exactly the current distance around the periphery of the castle rock - from the Master Gunner's House, round the back of the Roman castle and to the site of the Cockfield Tower.  Quite clearly from this, the headland was fully fortified in 1538, even if the wall was not in a good state of repair, it being clearly stated that ‘there are 3 places where men may climb it, which may be mended for 40s'.  Within this defence ‘the castle garth is 480 yds (1,440') by 240 yds (720') [and] within it is a pretty chapel of Our Lady and a fair well, but no bakehouse, brewhouse, nor horsemill'.  It was then estimated that the materials required to repair the castle would be 2,102 tons stone, 337 tons timber, 9½ tons iron and 40 foder of lead.  Usefully the survey concluded with stating that ‘stone can be had at Haburne wike, 6 miles off; rough stone and lime from the sea cliff; timber at Rayncliff, within 3 miles, and slate at Sawdon More, within 5 miles'.

Although it remained a royal fortress until 1619 there seems to have been little effort made with its upkeep.  The end for the castle came during the Civil War of 1642-51 when it was twice besieged.  The Parliamentarian governor, Hugh Cholmley, became disillusioned and switched to the Royalist cause after 5 months in occupation of the castle.  The castle was then seized by his brother for Parliament, but Cholmley persuaded him to surrender the fortress back to him.  After the Royalist defeat at Marston Moor and the fall of York, John Meldrum marched on Scarborough in August 1644.  In January 1645 the siege began in earnest, with the town only being overrun on 18 February.  A high point of the siege was when Meldrum fell off the cliff and plunged 200' while apparently chasing his hat on a blowy day.  Surprisingly he recovered and resumed his siege in May.  At this point a ferocious artillery duel began which wrecked St Mary's church and the castle keep.  On the collapse of the west face of the keep after 3 days of fire, the Parliamentarians rushed the castle, but were defeated with Meldrum being shot and killed.  The new commander decided to starve the place out, with the alleged 250 survivors of the 500 strong garrison duly capitulating on 25 July 1645.  Even so Mosdale's Hall was converted into a barracks in 1745.  Subsequently the garrison was withdrawn in the nineteenth century, but Mosdale's barracks were blown up by a brief bombardment by the German navy in 1914.

According to William Newburgh, writing in the late twelfth century, the site of Scarborough castle enclosed 60 acres.  For this to be true the site would have to be 1,616' square.  The headland enclosed by the castle remains is currently about a 1,000' along its south and west sides, but to the seaward north and west only 800' and 700' which gives an area of less than 20 acres.  In the 1530s Leland reckoned that this area covered 16 acres, so it is apparent that there have been few collapses since his day, while the 1361 survey makes it abundantly clear that the entire ‘60 acres' of headland was originally enclosed by a curtain wall.  This means that a great deal of the castle rock has simply collapsed into the sea and also probably that William was not very good at judging plateau sizes, which in itself is hardly surprising.  It should also be remembered that some 300 square feet of Whitby headland is adjudged to have disappeared since Roman times taking with it a Roman fortress perhaps similar to the one at Scarborough.  Similar losses can be seen at other Roman fortresses the country over, viz, Burgh, Caer Gybi, Lympne, Maryland, Reculver and Walton to name but a few.

Roman Castle
The Scarborough Roman ‘signal station' was one of a string of sites established in the fourth century AD along the North Sea coast.  Their original purpose is unknown as no documentation about them has survived the 1,700 odd years since their construction.  However, their purpose has been guessed at and varies from small castles, to protected beacons, to warning stations for enemy sea-raids.  Their distribution has been noted at the beginning of this article.  The Scarborough Roman site is unusual in having been largely excavated, the excavations again showing that the site was far more complex than the relatively pathetic earthworks at the surface suggested.  An c.90AD signal tower has been preserved in Hadrian's Wall at Pike Hill.  This tower, at some 20' square with walls under 3' thick, bares little resemblance to the Scarborough Roman tower which is 50' square with walls 8' thick.  It was set within a ditch enclosing what appears to have been a sub rectangular site with sides about 150' long.  Within a 50' wide berm was a 100' square enclosure with chamfered corners complete with small, projecting D shaped angle towers.  In the centre of this ward was the double-stepped plinth of the central tower.  The wall thickness of 8' suggests that it was over 60' high.  Centrally in the west courtyard wall was a small, internal rectangular gatetower.  Probably above this portal was the building inscription.  That above the 293/305AD gate at Qasr Bashir in Syria still exists in situ.  At Ravenscar castellum the inscription has been found in the eighteenth century.  This appears to read IUSTINIANUS PP VINDICIANUS MAGISTER TURR[I]M CASTRUM EFFCIASTO and translates as Commander Justinian and Magister Vindicians built this castle tower.  No doubt a similar inscription once existed at Scarborough and named the builders. 

The often pushed idea that the 8' thick tower foundations found on the English and German Roman frontiers supported nothing more than a wooden beacon seems as likely as it being discovered that the Roman pharos at Dover castle is actually built of wood too.  The post foundations within the tower probably supported a superstructure that mounted artillery of some description.  Their possible use is discussed in Matthew Symonds' Protecting the Roman Empire.

When the Scarborough tower had been derelict, apparently for many hundreds of years, a chapel was built on the site using the fortress walls for 3 of its sides, while a new wall was made to the south.  This had a chancel, 12' square and a nave 20' long by 17' wide.  These dimensions again undermine the claim that Anglo-Saxon churches have tall, narrow naves.  That the Roman castle was still visible is proved by the churchyard following the enclosure of the old castle ward.

Approach to the castle headland is difficult, but not impossible on all but the west side of the fortress, while even the cliffs on the other 3 sides can be scaled with a little effort.  The fall of Beeston castle to such an attack in the Civil War confirms such a weakness in similar sites.  Regardless of this, the best way for provisions to enter the fortress would have been from the landward side, up the ridge from St Mary's church.  Here a road runs down from the north-western corner of the headland towards the church.  At some point a masonry barbican with a twin towered gatehouse and 2 irregular turrets was built on the eastern two-thirds of the summit occupying an irregular area about 50' north to south and some 150' long.  At the extreme western end is a rocky knoll that might have been part of an earlier defensive system, but is now beyond the masonry barbican.  In the early modern age a gun battery stood here.  Currently a path runs along the southern side of the ridge and up to the gatehouse which is set back at an angle so that those approaching the castle could be viewed from the main curtain on the headland above, which lies some 200' to the east.  This probably gave the name to that sold inner ward tower, the Watchhouse.

The gatehouse, like the rest of the barbican, consists of a much weathered and roughly laid ashlar made of the local Ravenscar Group, golden sandstone.  The wall core is made of local limestone rubble, quarried from the castle rock, while the sandstone was probably also quarried from the castle rock as well as nearby Falsgrave (Whallesgrave) and Hayburn.  The entire barbican has been much rebuilt and the summit of all the walls are obvious late rebuilds in the post defensive era.  Further there is now no evidence of the wallwalks so that it is impossible to guess to what height the walls originally stood.  That said, some original features remain.  At the western extreme of the work a flat headed, but blocked, doorway still exists, but is not covered by the adjoining turret which only protrudes gently to the south.  Apparently this was made in the seventeenth century to allow access to the battery at the western end of the knoll.  A proper medieval postern exists directly north of the turret and was protected from view by a pilaster buttresses to its west.  Between the south-west turret and the gatehouse is another small turret.  Such features bear some resemblance to the inner ward at Chateau Gaillard, but are not common in the UK.  They are more akin to the west front of the inner ward here, only smaller and open backed, rather than solid.

The barbican twin towered gatehouse is an odd affair, whose summit has been totally rebuilt.  There is an outer segmental arch of 2 orders holding up a thin wall, behind which is what appears to be a large murder hole which takes up the entire width of the entrance and is 6' deep.  Possibly this was once floored to make a chamber, but rebuilding has destroyed any trace of this if it existed.  The outer arch does not appear to have held a gate, although the inner one did.  Oddly there is no provision for drawbridge or portcullis, indeed there is no trace of any portcullis grooves throughout the site, even though at least 2 of these formerly existed according to the 1538 survey.  There are rebuilt windows on the first floor of the gatehouse, possibly in the positions of early features.  There is also an odd niche above the outer gate arch.  Possibly this was similar in function to the elaborate niche that carried a half effigy of King Edward II above the king's gate at Caernarfon castle.  The heavy rebuilding of the gatehouse probably occurred in the fifteenth century, judging by the apparent insertion of a royal coat of arms in the south face of the west gatetower.  This tower, according to the 1538 survey, was also the porter's lodge, ‘one storey in height and covered with lead'.  Just west of the tower are the remains of a flight of steps that presumably once gave access to the summit of the gatehouse and possibly a wallwalk on the southern side of the barbican.  The wall to the north was obviously too thick to support any alure.

Behind the outer gatehouse the barbican increases in width to its maximum and then shrinks to a gorge leading to the main gatehouse.  First comes a pair of projecting turrets protecting the far side of a drawbridge.  After the drawbridge comes the main gatetower and then another drawbridge which brings the wayfarer to the base of the headland, having crossed the great gorge some 30' above its bottom.  Beyond the gutted gatehouse is another postern, this one facing south and leading to the bottom of the great ditch.

The Gatehouse
From the north-eastern angle of the barbican a series of 2 drawbridges and 3 small gatehouses protected the entrance to the second ward.  The first gatehouse, consisting of the remnants of 2 small turrets overlooking a gorge at the end of the castle great ditch running up from the sea to the south-east, formed the end of the barbican.  Beyond this was a drawbridge, approached from the gateway by a sloping roadway sunk a few feet below the level of the surrounding ground.  On the other side of the drawbridge stood the main gatehouse, apparently built for Henry III in the mid 1240s and heavily rebuilt in the 1420s.  This sat upon a massive central pier and consisted of 2 semicircular turrets, which have been much rebuilt.  The drawbridge to the barbican must have been operated from the upper storey or roof of this structure.  Sadly not enough of it remains to comment far on its construction, although part of a vice still remains in the surviving southern turret.  The corbel table at the summit would seem to have supported a projecting parapet and is probably fifteenth century in date.  The 1538 survey stated that it was 27' across, 15' wide and nearly 40' high and contained a portcullis.  The gorge before and behind the gatehouse was linked by segmental arches carrying spandrel walls.  Beyond the gatehouse were 2 further small turrets from which the second, shorter, drawbridge was operated.  This miniature gatehouse, mounted on buttresses, led to the second ward.

The Second Ward
The much damaged second ward was of an irregular shape, originally occupying a triangular area measuring about 150' by 130' and shrinking at its western point to a mere 20' at its entrance from the main gatehouse.  The northern front of the ward is now marked by a modern wall following the rise of the ground up to the main castle.  This section of wall must have plummeted when the cliff face on this side of the castle collapsed.  To the east the ward was bounded by the enceinte of the inner ward, though this has largely disappeared.  To the remaining south side, the ward curtain has largely survived.  This ascends sharply from the miniature gatehouse up to a butt joint with the solid D shaped turret in the inner ward curtain which may have been the ‘watchhouse' of 1538.  On this inner ward turret are the lower jamb stones of a doorway that led to the second ward south curtain wallwalk and via the steps on this down to the miniature gatehouse.  Beneath this wallwalk are 5 crossbow loops covering the great ditch.  Two of these still boast fine, deeply splayed fish tailed oillets.  At the base of the wall is a blocked, pointed opening.  This may have been another postern.  It is also noticeable that this wall is of 2 builds, the lower section being of much more ashlar quality large blocks of stone, while the upper 10' consist of well coursed, smaller rubble blocks.  This wall was recorded as rebuilt in 1361 and 1424-29.  At the top of the slope the path from the bridge passed into the third ward through a simple hole in the wall type gateway with portcullis, of which all traces are now gone.

The Third Ward
At the top of the path from the main gatehouse was a small 66' square ward, of which little now remains.  Consequently its layout is hard to fathom, although it certainly was not a true square.  Presumably the ward predates the walling of the inner ward as the inner ward rampart and ditch does not continue under the north-eastern wall of this enclosure. Its masonry remains appear to be of at least 2 or 3 different phases.  To the north-west some 230' of curtain wall runs along the cliff edge from the site of the ‘evil gate' next to the keep, behind the Master Gunner's House, and eventually fades out where the cliffs have collapsed.  Presumably this was part of the wall around the headland still mainly standing in 1538.  From just east of the Master Gunner's House 2 fragments of the remains of a curtain wall run south-eastwards towards the inner ward rampart.  This wall appears to be of a unique build, containing may snecker stones and being set upon a few irregular courses of herringbone style masonry.  Where this ward joined the inner ward to the south-east, there appears to have been a gate to the outer ward.  This may have been an internal rectangular tower, but only parts of its south wall survives and these have probably been patched up.  The base of this wall is made of small, flat slabs of grey limestone, while the upper sections contain some golden sandstones laid in a more ashlar fashion.  What appears to be a buttress maybe one side of the gate jambs.  Fragments protruding to the west may suggest that the gatetower once projected beyond the curtain as well as internally.  The southern wall of the structure is used as a retaining wall for the rampart which begins here and runs round to the south wall of the main castle defence line.

The retaining wall divides the ward from the inner bailey and can be followed for some 25' against the interior of the inner bailey rampart, but nothing remains to show the position of any inner ward gate.  If it existed it would have to have been near the west end of this wall immediately under the castle keep.  Alternatively, for access to the inner ward it may have been necessary to pass through this ward and around the exterior of the great inner ward ditch and then enter that ward via the rectangular gatetower to the south, between the King's Hall and Mosdale Hall.

The small house at the north-west corner of the ward, attractively decorated with stepped gables, was purpose-built in the early eighteenth century as a lodging for the master gunner serving the castle batteries.  As this structure penetrates the line of the third ward it is to be presumed it was built after this ward was abandoned as a defensive element of the castle's plan.

The Inner Ward
The main bailey of the castle was sub ellipsoidal, being about 250' from north to south by 150' across. The ward is a most peculiar affair of at least 6 separate builds.  Logically the oldest part of the structure should be its south and west walls as these cover the approach from the main gate and cover the top of the cliff.  This length of wall is now spilt into 3 parts.  To the south, where the north curtain meets with the main south wall, are the foundations of a small, probably solid turret, overlain by an awkward later turret which has been numbered Tower 1 of the description of the outer ward, although it doesn't seem to appear in the 1538 survey.  Sixty feet north-west of this stands another turret which still survives to most of its original height, some 20', the summit having been rebuilt in modern times.  This consists of a coursed rubble build with larger blocks of stone than the adjoining curtain to the west and has recently had its summit converted into a viewing platform.  The internal base of this wall has a fine golden sandstone ashlar face, while the upper layer is a rotten coursed rubble.  This ashlar work is not seen elsewhere in the exterior inner ward curtain, although a portion of it remains behind the rebuilt front of the wall between this turret and Tower 1 in the interior.

The curtain to the east of the viewing platform turret has 3 narrow pilaster buttresses on its external face against the good quality golden ashlar on its inner face.  On the exterior it consists of better shaped, darker stone and is possibly that part of the curtain recorded as rebuilt in 1241-42.  The curtain runs from the viewing platform turret to the north-west point of the inner ward where there is another turret which has a post medieval beacon on its summit, reached by modern steps up from the wallwalk.  Half way along this curtain is the base of a pilaster buttress which shows that the lowest 6' of this wall is an older build.  The wall above is less well coursed and of a weaker, darker stone.  The beacon turret has also been rebuilt with a masonry similar to the upper section of the curtain.  The original base of the turret is in the finely laid, almost ashlar quality stone and has a sloping plinth of at least 3 courses still visible.  This wall and plinth continues around the turret to a final solid turret overlooking the approach wall from the barbican.  This seems to have originally supported the 1538 watchhouse.  Again this wall and turret have been rebuilt from 5-10' above the plinth.  Internally there is evidence for 2 sets of steps running up the inner face of the wall to give access to the wallwalk.  A few yards beyond the northernmost turret the wall ends heading towards the west end of the keep, leaving just the slope running slightly downhill, around the west face of the keep to the site of the evil gateway. 

The eastern side of the inner ward is clearly of a totally different build to the western side.  Here there is a rampart whose summit is about 10' above exterior ground level and nearly 20' above the V shaped ditch bottom.  Internally the rampart ranges from 8' at its northern end to nothing at its southern end, having largely died out by half way along the enceinte.  It is possible that the interior of the ward has been somewhat raised, certainly the main southern curtain above the town makes a definite drop as it passes down the 6' bank of the inner ward before heading on down to the Cockfield Tower site.  That there is no trace of a ditch or slumping where this main curtain passes over the area where it would be expected, suggests that the curtain predates the ditch and that it was never dug all the way to the headland scarp.  The bulk of the east wall of the inner curtain has been stripped of most of its facing, although at the external northern third of the wall there is a trace of what may have been a wide pilaster buttress.  At the southern end of the enceinte are the foundations of a rectangular gatetower.  This is complimented with a bridge support at the bottom of the ditch.  In the 1538 survey the tower was described as lately regated, but having never been fitted with a roof and with its battlements decayed away.

Within the inner ward enclosure were early rectangular buildings at the north and south ends of the east curtain, while the foundations of various service buildings survive south of the great keep.  Between the northern end of the west curtain wall and the keep are the foundations of various eighteenth century buildings and offices.  Near these are a well, over 150' deep, the first 70' being lined with masonry.  Below this the shaft continues for in excess of another 100'.

Outer Bailey
From the junction with the inner ward curtain the main south-western wall of the castle runs for some 850' to the site of the Cockfield Tower.  Towards its southern end the wall becomes very jagged and changes dramatically in width showing that it has been much rebuilt.  Along its length are the remains of probably 6 D-shaped towers and 2 solid D shaped turrets.  None of these structures are deeply projecting, which could either be a continuation of style of the earlier solid turrets to the north or a fact that the wall was built so close to the berm it was impossible to build them further out without grave risk of their collapsing down the bank.  It is at once readily apparent that the towers and turrets are not equidistantly placed and it is possible that they date from different building phases.  For convenience's sake the towers will be numbered 1 to 8 from the north.

Tower 1 has already been noticed as where the southern corner of the inner ward begins.  This tower is an odd affair built over the remains of an earlier solid turret.  The wall adjoining it to the north has 3 narrow external pilaster buttresses and is thicker than the wall to the south.  Externally the tower is difficult to see, but its faces are largely flattened making it half an irregular octagon.  It is also cut in 2 by the arrival of the eastern inner curtain roughly centrally in its rear face.  Judging from where the D shaped turret underlies it, the wall between this and the next solid turret to the north-west has collapsed when the berm gave way and the new curtain with its 3 pilaster buttresses was therefore built further back of necessity.  This 'new' curtain is not aligned to the curtain south of Tower 1.  This tower was of at least 2 storeys below the curtain wallwalk.  Presumably there was another storey above it.  Some of the curtain pilasters are deeper than others, the shallower ones possibly being earlier.

From Tower 1 the curtain runs some 65' downhill to Tower 2.  This half round tower was originally open backed and has a diameter of about 32', making it rather similar to the early towers of the inner ward at White Castle.  Internally there seem to have been ground floor loops to north, south and west.  The upper storey and most of the upper half of the ground floor has gone, but externally, where the loops were, the surface has been ashlared when the tower was refaced.  The 1538 survey makes it reasonably clear that this was the Queen's Tower.

South-east of Tower 2 is some 55' of curtain containing 4 pilaster buttresses, with the southern 3 being equidistant, but the northern one being a lone structure.  At the end of this section of curtain is Tower 3.  This appears to have been a solid turret, but it has been much altered, especially after 1745 when it was refaced in brick as a barracks.  Internal to this lay the Queen's Chamber which by 1538 was known as the Mosdale Hall.  This structure is currently not aligned with the curtains on either side of it, though whether this means the first building here pre or postdated the curtain is open to question.  Certainly this structure has been heavily rebuilt right up into the eighteenth century when it was converted into barracks in 1745.  This involved the structure being clad in brick, although the lower courses of the original masonry are visible in the main structure and the base of Tower 3.  Beyond the Mosdale Hall were 6 pilaster buttresses and then a small solid turret which has been added to the curtain.  Seventy feet beyond that was another D shaped tower, Tower 4, similar in plan to, but better preserved than Tower 2.  Despite this, its stonework seems more fine coursed rubble than ashlar and it has a plinth.  A further 60' beyond this was Tower 5, a copy of Tower 4.  Centrally between them was another blocked postern in a wall with only 1 pilaster buttress, irregularly placed between the postern and Tower 5.

From Tower 5 a further 4 pilaster buttresses led to an another solid turret which appears to have been added to the curtain.  This is ashlar faced and has the remnants of deeply splayed battlements at its summit.  After this another 5 buttresses led to the destroyed Tower 6.  This exists only as foundations.  Beyond its site lies a flight of steps leading to a sallyport which gave access to a curtain which curves down the hill to the 1643 South Steel battery.  This structure is mostly washed away.  Beyond the sallyport the curtain, supported by more pilaster buttresses, ran to the Cockfield Tower which itself fell when the cliff collapsed at some point after 1538.  This and the earlier surveys make it clear that a curtain wall then continued around the headland, encompassing the church and the site of the Roman castle, before returning to the ward next to the keep.

Further buildings lay within the outer bailey.  Within the much ruined and much rebuilt structure later known as Mosdale Hall are fragments of carved masonry from earlier buildings.  Possibly these may have come from other buildings that once stood within the castle garth.  Internally the structure, about 90' long by 35' wide, is much gutted, but at its southern end is a rectangular structure which may have been a garderobe turret.  Some 100' north-west of the Queen's Chamber stands the sad remnants of the King's Hall.  This is some 90' long by 55' wide.  It is often claimed, without evidence, to be the work of King John.  It's aisled plan looks much older and it is merely referred to as the Great Hall in 1278.  This, like later surveys which call it the King's Hall, of itself proves nothing of its origin, merely its current usage.  North of the hall are traces of the kitchen.

The Keep
Scarborough has a moderately sized keep, some 56' square and with walls varying between 10' to the north and 15' in the west wall.  This wall also contained the central stair vice, here some 12' in diameter - an impressive size.  Now, some 80' high, the keep was originally over 90' tall.  As such it compared with other northern keeps like Bamburgh and Carlisle, but was rather larger than Brougham.  Externally it had much in common with the much smaller Peak castle, both keeps having clasping 3/4 columns on their corners and lacking pilaster buttresses on the side that had the forebuilding.  Scarborough was also unusual in having a central, rather than a corner stair vice.  In this respect it is only matched by nearby Helmsley.

The keep was surrounded by a fine ashlar plinth of 7 courses ending in 3 further chamfered courses.  From these 4 pilaster buttresses rose at the corners and originally peaked in turrets, although all of these are now gone.  To north and east there were central pilasters and probably too to the west, although this face of the keep has now gone.  There were no buttresses on the south wall as here there was a 50' high forebuilding covering the main first floor Romanesque entrance.  This was reached via a flight of steps running up the south wall of the keep and entering a small rectangular chamber, which has subsequently been largely destroyed.  Here was the main doorway into the keep, though this has been altered, probably in the seventeenth century.  Somewhat surprisingly, and unlike Rochester keep, there was no portcullis protecting the entrance, though there was a large murder hole spanning the entire width of the forebuilding entrance.  Beneath was a prison pit with attached garderobe.

From the forebuilding chamber a short flight of steps led up through the wall into the first floor of the keep.  Through this is a very narrow doorway on the right which leads up to the chapel in the forebuilding.  The narrowness and height of the doorway is reminiscent of Anglo-Saxon church architecture.  The chapel roof was apparently paved and this seems to be referred to as the fifth turret of the keep.  Access to it was gained through the second floor of the keep via a Romanesque doorway.

The keep was divided longitudinally by a north-south dividing wall, similar to those in other keeps, like the slightly larger Hedingham and Rochester.  In the destroyed west wall there was probably an access to a central vice whose surviving steps still lead down to the basement, which has 2 loops to the north.  No doubt the stair also ran upwards to the battlements.  The first floor chamber also had 2 window embrasures to the north and east, while a small chamber occupied the south-eastern turret.  There was also a Romanesque fireplace set centrally in the east wall and another chamber in the destroyed south-west turret of which slight traces remain.  The second floor had a smaller chamber in the south-eastern turret and also its north eastern counterpart.  The other 2 turrets to the west are utterly destroyed at this level.  Again there is another fireplace centrally in the east wall, again flanked by twin lights.  To the south were doorways to the roof of the forebuilding, while to the north was a passageway and another double window.  The top floor seems to have had twin window embrasures to north, south and east, the west wall, of course, being destroyed.  The lack of any creasing on the upper floor walls would suggest that the roof was always flat.

Like many other keeps this one is traditionally dated to the work of Henry II, in this case to work recorded between 1159 and 1169.  In reality the only expenditure actually mentioned on Scarborough keep in the pipe rolls was in 1159-60 and 1169.  After such a dating claim it is best to quote the History of the King's Works where it is stated:

The tendency in the past has been to attribute nearly all [tower keeps] to [the reign of] Henry II, often for no better reason than an odd payment on the pipe roll recording a minor repair, or a hasty refortification in the face of some temporary emergency.

The evidence quoted above and the respective size and monies spent on the keep could well indicate that Henry II's work here was merely refacing the keep, which could account for its similarity to Peak keep with their shafted corners and of course leaves the true dating of the keep as possibly much older.

Why not join me here and at other Northern English castles this year?  Please see the information on this and similar tours at Scholarly Sojourns.


Copyright©2021 Paul Martin Remfry