Slingsby Castle


The ruin known as Slingsby Castle | Photographs by Geoff Brooks

The ruin we see today and known as Slingsby Castle is in actual fact a Jacobean mansion which was built around 1630-1640 for Sir Charles Cavendish, the grandson of Bess of Hardwick.

An early design had been drawn up by Robert Smythson, the leading Elizabethan architect, who had been responsible for the design of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, Longleat House in Wiltshire and Burton Agnes and Fountains Halls in Yorkshire.

His son John Smythson produced the design that was actually built. It is rectangular, with a projecting stair turret on each corner.

There were two main storeys and a massive vaulted basement. The house had unusually high rooms and tall windows.

There is no record of the house ever having been inhabited and it seems that it was never completed, as Sir Charles Cavendish fled to the continent in 1644, having chosen the “wrong” side in the Civil War.

Our website has more about the Cavendish family at Slingsby here.

The ruin is now in the care of English Heritage and is on that body’s regional Heritage at Risk register. It is in a dangerous state and is not open to the public. DO NOT attempt to enter the site.

More information about the earlier medieval castle which preceded it on the site can be found HERE

A gallery of Slingsby Castle images can be found HERE