The 12th-Century market town of Knaresborough is perched on the cliffs above the River Nidd in North Yorkshire.
Around 1100 AD the town began to grow and provide a market for traders to service Knaresborough castle. The earliest identified Lord of Knaresborough is Serlo de Burgh, in 1115. The Honour of Knaresborough was given to Hugh de Morville in 1158.
Although a market was first mentioned in 1206, Edward II did not grant a Royal Charter to hold a market until 1310. This tradition continues every Wednesday in the market square.
In Edward II’s reign, the castle was occupied by rebels and later invaded by Scots, who burned much of the town and the parish church. The castle eventually fell in 1646 and its destruction was ordered. This was executed by citizens looting the stone, and in consequence many town centre buildings are built of castle materials.
The main attractions in the town include the remains of Knaresborough Castle, Mother Shipton’s Cave, St Robert’s Cave and the railway viaduct over the River Nidd.
What to See
Medieval Knaresborough: Top 5 Attractions
Knaresborough Castle is a ruined fortress built by a Norman baron around 1100 on a cliff above the River Nidd. In the 1170s Hugh de Moreville and his followers took refuge there after assassinating Thomas Becket. The castle was taken in 1644 during the Civil War, and largely destroyed in 1648.
There has been a market every week in the Square since 1310. The market offers a vast selection of locally grown fresh seasonal produce, Yorkshire meat, fresh fish, local Cheeses and beers and the traditional Yorkshire Pork Pies.
Mother Shipton’s Cave is situated next to the Petrifying Well, a unique geological phenomenon. Mother Shipton was a strange child born in 1488, in a cave on the banks of the River Nidd. As she grew older, her prophecies became known throughout England.
Knaresborough Viaduct carries the Harrogate line over the River Nidd and is one of the region’s better known landmarks. The line was built in 1848 and can be seen from the castle. Yorkshire-born writer, J B Priestley, was in admiration of how the river reflected the viaduct and said that it “added a double beauty to the scene“.
St Robert's Cave
This secluded cave and pilgrimage site was home to the well-known Saint Robert from c. 1180 to 1218. Although never officially canonised, Robert is considered as one of the outstanding saints of the early thirteenth century. It is said that King John visited him here.
Knaresborough's and Surroundings Oldest Buildings
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