A meeting of military power in the Yorkshire Dales... past and present

PIC: Bruce Rollinson
PIC: Bruce Rollinson

The ancient and modern combined in the Yorkshire Dales for this wonderful shot of an RAF Atlas aircraft passing over Middleham Castle, the childhood home of Richard III.

Captured by chance by Bruce Rollinson, one of The Yorkshire Post’s award-winning photographers, the pilot chose a beautiful spring day to glide past the castle, which dates back to the 12th Century and dominates the North Yorkshire town of Middleham to this day.

The site is now looked after by English Heritage and although it is now roofless, extensive remains of the fortified palace still survive – making it is fascinating place to visit.

An English Heritage spokesman explains its appeal: “From the core of its Norman great tower, one of the largest in the country, the castle developed under the powerful Nevilles into a residence worthy of a family who dominated English affairs for over two centuries.”

Appropriately given the military presence of an RAF aircraft in this photograph, Middleham has played an important role in various battles and wars over the centuries.

During the War of the Roses, the Nevilles were instrumental in Yorkist Edward, Earl of March, taking the throne from Lancastrian Henry VI in 1461 – the same year in which several defeated Lancastrians were executed at the castle. But by 1469 Warwick had risen in rebellion against Edward, dissatisfied with royal policy. Edward was captured and briefly held at Middleham Castle in August 1469.

Following Richard III’s defeat by Henry Tudor in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth, Middleham became the possession of the Crown under Henry but fell into gradual disrepair. In 1647, during the Civil War, Parliament ordered the destruction of the castle to prevent it being taken by the Royalists, but fortunately the order was never carried out. In 1930, after several further changes of ownership, the castle was eventually gifted to the state.

Its bloody history may have long since passed, but there is no doubting the importance of Middleham Castle to this day.

Technical details: Nikon D4 camera, 80-200mm Nikkor lens with an exposure of 1/1000th sec @ f8, ISO200.