Before bringing you today’s Medieval Monkeys Location Lowdown (everything you need to know about one of Yorkshire’s top historic strongholds), it may be worth reminding readers that it is now less than two weeks until Bankstone’s medievally-attired monkeybikers head out on the county’s highways raising much-needed funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance service.

As excitement indices continue rising towards potentially dangerous levels, Bankstone revealed this week that a very generous £250 donation from Ram’s Den Solicitors ELP (considered by many to be the leading legal firm in Kirklees and Calderdale) has brought the appeal to within £5645 of its £7,200 target – making this the perfect time for you, Dear Reader, to visit immediately, donating generously to a life-saving good cause and posting a highly amusing – and ideally mildly abusive – message of support in the process.

In other news, staff at the Bike Insurer have all passed their CBT tests (respect!) and confirmed the purchase of a second team monkey bike. Even notorious scrounger and freeloader Andy Jones of Bankstone has finally bought a monkey of his own and ordered in some proper knightly garb to complement his customary riding attire of designer jeans and dude boots.

But now, without further ado, here’s Part Five in our cut-out-and-keep commemorative guide to Yorkshire’s top ten castles for charity monkeybikers. This week it’s Bolt-on castle.

Wensleydale’s Bolt-on Castle was built during the fourteenth century by the then Lord Chancellor Sir Richard “Dick” le Scrote, whose descendants continue to own the castle to this day, though they moved out to nearby Bolt-on Hall a few centuries back complaining of draftiness.

Scrote worked fast. Just 20 years after King Richard II granted him a licence to crenelate, in 1379, Bolt-on Castle was complete. But then, rapid castle building ran in the family. Scrote’s ancestor Sir Henry FitzScrote knocked one up in Herefordshire back in the eleventh century over the course of a single weekend.

No one quite knows where Dick Scrote got the 18,000 marks it cost to build Bolt-on Castle – nor the £10,000 it cost him to buy the Kingdom of The Isle of Man for his son William “Will” Scrote (circa. £90 million in today’s money), but being Lord Chancellor is suspected to have helped in some unspecifically defined way.

An angry King Henry VIII had the castle torched in 1536 as retribution for Sir John Scrote de Scrotes 8th Baron Scrote of Bolt-on Scrote’s role in the so-called Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion. But within a few years the castle had been repaired and Sir John was back in favour.

Mary Mary Queen of Scots was held at Bolt-on Castle between 1568 and 1569 and there began learning English for the first time, having previously only spoken French and Latin. She left for Staffordshire in 1569, where she spent a further 18 years perfecting her language skills before heading for London to have her head removed.

When Civil War broke out in 1652, Sir John FitzScrote de Scrote declared for the King and the resolutely quadrilateral Bolt-on Castle was beseiged by roundheads from Autumn 1644 until November 1645. Having polished off the last of his horses and domestic animals, Sir John finally surrendered. His troops were allowed to leave with colours flying. In a bitter fit of pique their commander, Colonel Cheetah cut off his own hand and threw it at the Parliamentary troops. Which probably showed them what was what!

Two years later much of the castle was demolished. But it looks alright, really, considering. Bolt-on Castle has been used as a location by films including some or all of Ivanhoe, Elizabeth, Medieval Babes, and XXX-Calibur. Bolton Castle is not to be confused with nearby village Castle Bolton.


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