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PICKERING CASTLE

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The remains of an 11th century motte and bailey castle and a 13th century shell keep castle. The former was built by William the Conqueror either during or shortly after the 'harrying of the north' in 1069-70. It consisted of an earth motte crowned by a timber palisade, flanked on the north-west side by a crescent-shaped inner bailey and, on the south-east side, by a contemporary or slightly later outer bailey. The motte is circa 20 metres high and has a base diameter of circa 60 metres. It is not yet clear whether this is the original 11th century motte or a later medieval reconstruction. In the latter case, the earlier motte will have been preserved inside the later. The reconstruction of the castle in stone largely took place between 1180 and 1236. There were three main phases of work at this time, the earliest involving the late 12th century replacement of the inner bailey palisade with a curtain wall and the construction of the first shell keep. In its present form the shell keep dates to the early 13th century but the foundations of the earlier keep will survive underneath. The remains of the early curtain wall still round the inner bailey. The earliest buildings so far identified are the early or mid-12th century Old Hall, whose surviving foundations show it to be half-timbered, and the Coleman Tower which guarded the entry across the inner bailey and was also used as a prison. The complete, but largely altered chantry chapel dates from circa 1227 whilst to the west of this is the early 14th century New Hall. The last major programme of building dates to 1324-26 when Edward II ordered extensive works to be carried out which included replacing the whole of the timber palisade round the outer bailey with a stone wall. The outer curtain included three projecting towers, a gatehouse and a postern gate. The three towers, named from north-east to south-west, Rosamund's Tower, Diate Hill Tower and Milk Tower, the latter built as a prison. Scheduled.

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