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Knaresborough History

Knaresborough History the history below is that I have researched on the internet and in libraries and hopefully correct. However, history sometimes differs in the views of different historians. Should you find any errors, anything I might have missed or indeed anything  I can include or research please email

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Knaresborough History

The history of Knaresborough Castle is a captivating tale spanning centuries. It all began around the year 1100 when a Norman baron perched the castle on a cliff overlooking the River Nidd. By 1130, records mention maintenance work on the castle carried out by Henry. In the 1170s, the castle served as a refuge for Hugh de Moreville and his companions after they were involved in the assassination of Thomas Becket.

In 1205, King John recognized the strategic significance of Knaresborough Castle and made a substantial investment of £1,290 to enhance it. Between 1307 and 1312, Edward I initiated a significant reconstruction effort, costing £2,174. This reconstruction project was later completed by Edward II, resulting in the construction of the impressive Great Keep. Edward II also granted the castle to Piers Gaveston, who sought refuge there during a siege near Scarborough Castle.

Over the years, Knaresborough Castle changed hands. In 1331, Philippa of Hainault took possession of the castle and transformed it into a royal residence, using it as a favoured summer retreat for her and her family. In 1372, her son, John of Gaunt, added the castle to the extensive holdings of the Duchy of Lancaster. After his passing, the castle came into the possession of his third wife, Katherine Swynford.

The winds of the English Civil War swept through Knaresborough in 1644, with Parliamentarian troops capturing the castle. Surprisingly, in 1648, the castle’s ultimate destruction was not a result of warfare but rather stemmed from a parliamentary order to dismantle all Royalist strongholds. Today, remnants of the castle, including the 700-year-old King’s Tower, are accessible to the public, providing a glimpse into its history and dungeons. The castle’s grounds also house the Courtroom Museum and the Tudor court, shedding light on the judicial processes and punishment of the time. Knaresborough Castle stands as a significant piece of history, recounting the tale of medieval power, royal intrigue, and the echoes of a turbulent era.

The history of Knaresborough is a tapestry woven with rich narratives, fascinating characters, and significant events. At the heart of this charming town stands St. John’s Parish Church, a venerable structure dating back to approximately 1115. It was during this era that Serlo de Burgh’s connection to the Honour of Knaresborough from the King forged an early bond with the town’s storied past.

Knaresborough is renowned for its association with remarkable individuals, such as Blind Jack, an extraordinary road builder of the 1900s who overcame blindness. A bench in Market Square stands as a tribute to his legacy. The town’s public art trail pays homage to famous figures like Guy Fawkes and King John, underscoring their place in Knaresborough’s history.

Delving into the history of the Honour of Knaresborough is a captivating journey through different hands, including figures like Hugh de Morville and the Stuteville family. Notably, King John played a pivotal role, marking the town’s history with the distribution of the first Maundy Money in 1210 and utilizing Knaresborough Forest for hunting. The town’s vibrant market, established in 1310, continues to thrive every Wednesday.

Knaresborough Castle, with its turbulent past marred by rebellions and attacks, became closely associated with the Duchy of Lancaster, retaining its significance over the years.

In 1848, the advent of the railway age transformed Knaresborough with the opening of a railway station, later replaced in 1851. Though the railway line to Boroughbridge ceased passenger services in 1950, the town’s history continued to evolve.

John Metcalf, also known as Blind Jack, remains a remarkable figure in Knaresborough’s history, celebrated for his remarkable contributions to road building despite his visual impairment.

For tourists, Old Mother Shipton’s Cave stands as a timeless attraction, intertwining the town’s history with notable places like Ripley Castle and Deer Park, offering visitors a glimpse into the past. Exploring the historic architecture and marvelling at the impressive viaduct is made all the more leisurely through boat hire on the River Nidd.

Today, the castle’s remains are accessible to the public and serve as a venue for various events, including the annual FEVA (Festival of Visual Arts and Entertainment). Owned by the monarch and administered by Harrogate Borough Council, the castle’s grounds offer both leisure space and a hub for cultural activities. Despite the castle’s ruins, the two walled baileys with sturdy towers and the keep, once the lord’s residence, stand as enduring testaments to its historical significance.

Knaresborough: Unravelling Its Historical Tapestry and Vibrant Community”

Explore the rich history and vibrant community of Knaresborough. Discover its remarkable heritage, engaging museums, shopping options, education facilities, and exciting sports scene. Learn about annual highlights like the renowned bed race and its historical significance in the 2014 Tour de France.

Knaresborough’s Historical Significance:

Knaresborough is steeped in captivating history and is a community cherished by locals and visitors alike.

The Courthouse, a Historical Gem:

At the heart of Knaresborough stands the Courthouse, a treasure trove of history. Its upper level hosts a captivating museum showcasing authentic Tudor Court furniture. The museum also offers engaging exhibits that delve into the castle’s history and the town’s heritage. Remarkably, you can still see visible scars from bullets fired during the Civil War siege on some parts of the castle’s keep walls.

Shopping and Amenities in Knaresborough:

Knaresborough offers a variety of shopping options and amenities:

Retail Options:

Knaresborough features a prominent Lidl supermarket on the former Co-Op store site in Chain Lane. You can also find smaller supermarkets in the town centre. The St. James retail park on the town’s outskirts, off Wetherby Road, houses various retail chain outlets.

Explore a diverse selection of restaurants, charming wine bars, and 15 public houses. National retailers are conveniently located in the town centre, primarily along High Street, Market Place, and Castle Courtyard, a shopping arcade in the former town hall. Don’t miss the quaint public swimming pool.

Knaresborough’s Role as a Commuter Town:

Knaresborough predominantly serves as a commuter town, connecting neighbouring rural villages. It supports a modest tourism industry and a thriving service sector.

Education in Knaresborough:

Education is well-represented in Knaresborough, with five primary schools and the distinguished King James’ School, the sole secondary school in the area. Further education is available at a nearby college in Harrogate. Explore the two-story library located on the bustling Marketplace.

Places of Worship:

Knaresborough hosts a variety of places of worship, including two Church of England churches, a Roman Catholic church, a Methodist church, one United Reformed church, and a Mormon congregation.

Sports and Recreation:

For sports enthusiasts, Knaresborough offers a diverse range of options. It’s home to Knaresborough Town F.C., Knaresborough Rugby Club, and two cricket clubs, Knaresborough Forest Cricket Club and Knaresborough Cricket Club. Youth football enjoys representation from Knaresborough Celtic, Scotton Scorchers, and the developing youth football program of Knaresborough Town.

Annual Highlights:

One of the town’s annual highlights is the renowned bed race held each June, a tradition dating back to 1966 when Knaresborough Round Table organized it as a community fundraiser. The event draws 90 teams, each composed of six runners and one passenger, who race over a 2 1/2 mile course through the town. The race kicks off at Knaresborough Castle, where teams are judged for their bed designs. The event also includes a lively parade through the town centre in fancy dress, and the course itself features a short swim across the River Nidd. This cherished event generates an estimated £100,000 for charitable causes.

Historical Significance in the Tour de France:

Knaresborough made history during Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France when the race passed through the town on its route from York to Sheffield.

Knaresborough History

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