Restored Yorkshire castle with Mary Queen of Scots connection

Kirby Knowle Castle
Kirby Knowle Castle
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Kirby Knowle Castle, near Thirsk

Kirby Knowle Castle, near Thirsk

Price: £4m

This magnificent Grade II listed castle is back on the market after an aristocratic would-be buyer was unable to complete on the sale.

He would’ve been a perfect fit for the grand property, which sits in an elevated position above Thirsk and has exceptional views

The castle, which comes with over 37 acres of formal gardens, parkland and woodland, has a long history. Sir Roger de Lascelles sought permission from Edward I to build in the latter part of the thirteenth century. It was later owned by Sir John Constable, when part of the castle was destroyed by a fire in 1568. It was left in a dilapidated state until 1653 when it was bought by James Danby, who added the south and west wings.

Its claim to fame is that Mary Queen of Scots was a frequent visitor at a time when Sir Thomas Rokeby, a knight, owned the property.

By the time the latest owner, Richard Wainwright, bought the castle 15 years ago, it had fallen into disrepair after being empty since the 1950s. It had been owned by a Chilean countess and her husband. He died in a car accident and she left the area.

“We have done everything including repairing all the stonework, which was an enormous job. We have loved living here but we are now selling to downsize,” says Richard.

He and his partner, Lisa, have turned the castle into a home for the 21st century and it now has eight bedrooms, a reception hall, drawing room, vaulted dining room, family room, garden room, snug and an inner hall. There are two kitchens, each with a four oven Aga, and on the upper floors there is a studio, study, games room and other rooms that could be made into further bedrooms. The property also has is a self-contained apartment and a detached cottage. The castle’s cellar has store rooms and it may also hold the key to a mystery. It is said to have an underground passage leading to nearby Upsall Castle. The property is being jointly marketed by Carter Jonas and Blenkin and Co.

Edward Hartshorne, of Blenkin and Co., says “This is a property that sits up and commands attention. I suspect there is a little bit of all of us that wants to live in a bona fide castle with bags of history.”

Edward Stoyle, of Carter Jonas, adds: “This is a true ‘Englishman’s castle’ set in a wonderfully secluded position with good transport links. It is conveniently close to the A19 which provides direct access to the towns of Thirsk and Northallerton, and further to the A1 for access to Leeds and Harrogate.”

Contact: Carter Jonas,, 020 7493 0676 and Blenkin & Co,, 01904 671 672.