During the civil wars which followed the death of Henry 1st, the Percy family built a castle on this site to guard the ford across the River Wharfe against raids by armies from Scotland which controlled England to the north of Yorkshire. Built without royal permission, it was demolished by order of Henry 2nd. Only the foundations of the keep remain.
During the Civil War remains of the castle were held by Parliamentary troops under the command of Sir Thomas Faifax who repelled an attack by Royallists from York.
Wetherby Castle is categorised as a tower keep castle. Such castles were strongly fortified residences in which the keep was the principal defensive feature. Keeps were either free-standing or, as at Wetherby, surrounded by a defensive enclosure normally including ancillary buildings such as stabling and workshops.
The castle at Wetherby is thought to have been developed from an earlier ringwork. Ringworks were medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later C12. They comprised a small defended area formed by a substantial ditch and an inner bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall, typically enclosing otherwise undefended buildings.
Only the foundations now remain, very little of which comes above ground level, in 2005 and 2006 the three dwellings occupying this site were demolished and replaced by flats, named ‘Castle Keep’ to reflect its history, and marked with the blue plaque commissioned by Wetherby Town Council and Wetherby Civic Society
Click on any of the plaques below to see more detail.