Snape Castle, located in North Yorkshire, England, was built sometime between 1425 and 1430 by George Neville, 1st Baron Latimer, who inherited the land from his father, Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland. Cecily Neville and Queen Anne lived at Snape Castle during the 15th century, linking the castle to King Richard III. Cecily was Richard's mother, and Queen Anne was his wife.

Snape Castle

Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, also lived at Snape Castle in the years before becoming Henry's wife. During the Pilgrimage of Grace, she was married to John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer. A mob of Roman Catholic rebels stormed the castle in January of 1537, taking Katherine Parr and the two children hostage out of fear that Neville would betray them to the King while Neville was in London trying to mediate between the King and the Northern countrymen. Neville quickly returned to Snape Castle and persuaded the mob to release his wife and kids, but after the rebels damaged the castle.

Snape Castle passed to Sir Thomas Cecil in 1577 through his marriage to Dorothy Neville, whom he married in 1564. Thomas started rebuilding the castle by adding the two towers, built for effect rather than defense. The renovations stopped after 1578 when Thomas inherited the Burghley Estate near Stamford.

Snape Castle and the surrounding estate were sold to William Milbank of Thorpe Perrow in 1798. The castle is still inhabited as a private residence and not open to the public.

Castle Highlights

Snape Castle is closed to the public. The towers built by Thomas Cecil are still intact and visible from the road. Although closed to visitors, it is an imposing structure. The castle has no foundations due to the boggy ground on which it is built, but sits on huge oaken piles 12 feet long and 8 feet in diameter, now over 700 years old.

The chapel, on the upper floor of the castle's south side, is dedicated to St Mary. Katherine Parr is said to have married John Neville in this chapel. The chapel also contains a memorial to those from the village of Snape who died in World War I.

Snape Castle is only worth the journey to view the castle from the road if you are already visiting Marmion Tower, about 5 miles to the south, or Middleham Castle, about 10 miles to the west.