Architectural History

The Licence to Crennelate was granted to Sir Richard Le Scrope in 1378 with building commencing the next year. The Castle was finally completed in 1399. The Castle was designed by architect John Lewyn who did a lot of work in the style of architecture termed the Perpendicular by a circle of Edward III's masons in this period. The Perpendicular Style focused on regular planning, consistency of detail and the use of complex geometry to generate building designs. The Castle was built with 4 large towers surrounding a central courtyard and four curtain walls and so is very symmetrical and geometric in its design. The Castle was partly ruined during the Civil war and now only has the South West Tower, West Curtain wall and part of South front fully intact. The North East Tower collapsed completely in a storm but the North West and South East towers remain standing as shells. The North and East curtains are partially ruined but still show wonderful architectural features and design as the walls are still standing in most areas.

Architectural Features

Bolton Castle has a very imposing south facing profile with two large towers flanking the south curtain wall. The lower levels have arrow slit windows with larger windows mullion and transom windows appearing on the higher levels of the building. The large cobbled central courtyard is completely enclosed by the four curtain walls, along with a working portcullis on the main entrance.
The ground floor rooms all have vaulted ceilings and are set dressed as the armoury, archers garrison, stables, and brewhouse – we also have several rooms where the ceilings are missing. The Great Hall is open to the sky and was an impressive double height room with an interesting feature whereby the chimney flues were small holes above each window to allow the smoke from the central fireplace to disperse easily. The Castle was ahead of its time, in that all of the main rooms except the Great Hall had fireplaces and chimneys set into the walls.
The walls are 6ft – 9ft thick in places and are constructed from local limestone they are a soft grey colour throughout. Slate roofing throughout and spiral stairs in each of the towers.
Several of the rooms on the first level of the Castle also have vaulted ceilings and most are painted white to reflect the best of the candle light.
The upper intact rooms include the Solar (south facing), Nursery (original beamed ceiling), Great Chamber (double height ceiling and looking out over the west view of Wensleydale to one side and over the cobbled courtyard to the other. There are also two bedchambers in the tower both very large and high ceilinged. The lower bedchamber is painted white while the other one has exposed stonework and beautiful large windows. There is also access to the battlements in this tower which are crenelated.
The tower give you 360 views over the whole of magnificent Wensleydale and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Filming Attributes

The access is up a relatively steep and narrow hill though previous productions have managed the hill with their large trailers without a problem. There is a large field below the Castle, a field and a car park next to the Castle which can be used as a unit base as well as neighbouring fields. You can also use the local quarry as car parking space if additional space is required.
The Castle is situated in a small village half way up the hill with plenty of accommodation locally for cast and crew.
Tom Orde-Powlett who now runs the Castle is very open to having filming on the property and keen to work with filming companies to make filming possible. An extremely friendly and welcoming team, who really enjoy sharing the Castle with others.
Candles are allowed and open fires can be lit as well as braziers and torches to be lit in the building.
Animals are allow in the courtyard due to prior arrangements. Night shoots are subject to prior agreement.
Heavy plant machinery can be used with protective flooring on the grass or make use of the roads and car park.


Special Considerations

  • Accommodate Unit Base
  • Animals Allowed
  • Remote Area
  • Weekend Shoots


The Castle is situated part way up the hill at the lower end of Wensleydale just inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We are surrounded by agricultural land and higher up by heather moorland. There are tarmacked roads leading up to the Castle and into the car park. Inside the Castle itself the floors are cobbled or stone on the lower levels and wooden beams in the internal rooms. We have a gravelled drive to the side door of the Castle and gravelled paths in the gardens.
We also have access to ancient woodland, rivers, and lakes so please do ask if you require other shooting locations.

Crew and Relevant Links



Phone: Heritage4Media: 07736 364722