Sebastian Fattorini on visiting Skipton Castle.
One December day in 1645, a column of soldiers, weary and tattered but with colours flying and trumpets sounding, marched out of the Castle gate and away down the wide High Street, surrendering (with honour) after a three year siege. Skipton Castle had been the King’s last stronghold in the North of England. For five centuries the Lords and Castle of Skipton had played major roles on the stage of English history, but now Cromwell decreed that the castle should be destroyed. However, thanks to the determination of its owner, Lady Anne Clifford, it still stands today, fully roofed, and guarding the bustling market town of Skipton.
These days, it’s possible to explore the buildings from the dungeon to the Watch Tower and see how each age left its mark. Young visitors can explore the castle and find out about the people and events that have shaped the castle from Norman times to the present day. Skipton Castle offers National Curriculum related activities and worksheets for History, Science, Technology and Geography, as well as a teachers’ resource pack.
Experienced guides stimulate pupils’ imagination, sharpen their observational and deductive skills and increase their enjoyment of the past. Talks span many areas of the curriculum and include discussions on warfare and castle defence, how the castle was built, the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, ‘Butcher’ Clifford and his family, and their links with Royalty, coats of Arms, castle life, or medieval and Tudor cookery. Classrooms and picnic areas are available.