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A 12th century castle replacing earlier timber motte and bailey castle which was probably constructed earlier in the same century. Excavations have revealed early timber buildings and a palisade, and that the latter was replaced by an earth and stone bulwark. The curtain wall was rebuilt and extended in the 13th century and a barbican added in the 14th century. The great hall was replaced with a larger one in the 15th century, which was in turn replaced by a smaller hall again by 1586. Tree-ring dating on the castle gates suggests that they were constructed using timber felled between AD 1459 and AD 1484. Surviving physical remains include both ruined buildings and earthworks. The site also contains a 19th century manor house. William the Lion, King of Scotland unsuccessfully beseiged the castle in 1173 and 1174. The castle changed ownership during the course of the medieval period, initially the main family connected with the castle were the Umfravilles, in the late 14th century the castle passed into the hands of the powerful Percy family but was forfited for some time after the rebellion of Percy Harry "Hotspur" against Henry IV. It passed between the houses of York and Lancaster in the 15th century until being regained by the Percys once more in 1470. The castle is in the care of English Heritage.

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