Since I was a kid, I was always fascinated by castles and stories of knights in shining armor. In 1990, I took my first trip to Europe to visit friends in Germany. We decided to drive to the Middle-Rhine region where I saw my first castles up close. I have been obsessed with castles ever since.
In the late 1990’s I lived in Northern England for a few years and would spend most weekends visiting castles in North Yorkshire and beyond. I could see Knaresborough Castle from my bedroom window in the winter when there were no leaves on the trees. It was a magical place to live.
I began the site in the late 90’s as a way to share castle adventures and pictures with family, using the free web space that came with my AOL account. When I moved back to the United States, I registered the Great Castles domain name and the site began to take shape. Now over 20 years later, the site continues to grow.
The only goal of the site is to promote interest in castles and their preservation. I hope you find something that draws your interest during your visit to Great Castles and thanks for visitng!
I love to study castles and do the research of their histories, but spelling, grammar, and story flow are not very strong suits of mine.
This site would not be possible without Seth Friedman who serves as our Chief Editor, tirelessly reviewing and correcting my numerous spelling and grammatical errors, as well as organizing content for better comprehension. This site would not be so polished without his efforts.
During those early years, I received an email from a visitor who sent me two pictures of a stairwell in Spofforth Castle in North Yorkshire England, which ironically was about 10 miles from my house at the time. One picture showed a crystal clear stairwell, the second picture was taken a few seconds later of the same stairwell but had a white mist in the middle of the stairwell. The sender was hoping I could tell them if it was a ghost or not.
Well, I know nothing about ghosts, but a book I had, Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland, by Richard Jones, happen to have an email address inside the back cover. So I decided to send the pictures to the author and see what he thought, explaining I had a castle site, loved his book, and that I used some of his stories in a watered down version on the site. And if he didn't want me using his stories, I would gladly take them down. Amazingly, I received a reply the next day. Mr. Jones replied and said in his opinion the picture with the ghostly mist was nothing more than a combination of dampness on the glass of the camera lens and sunlight. He also said he was happy for me to use his ghost stories as long as I acknowledged him as the source.
Richard and I stayed in contact and became friends. Each time I visit England, I spend time visiting with him in London, accompanying him on one of his ghost walks. He is an amazing and energetic story teller and one of the nicest people I know. Now 20 years on, I have been to over 170 castles and have seen some amazing artifacts of history. But I often think back to that first email from a visitor and the friendship that came from it. That has been the best part of the whole journey.