Long Time Line

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Prehistoric Scarborough

2100-1600BC: Fragments of Beaker pottery, but no clear evidence of settlement.

~1600BC: No clear evidence at Scarborough of Stone Age setlements; some evidence in burial mounds in the local region of the presence of Neolithic man.

800BC & 500BC: Distinct evidence of habitation. Pits and post holes have been uncovered from this period. Pottery, metalwork, axe heads, and fragments of animal bones were found.


Roman Scarborough

300's, end of: Romans built a signal tower on the edge of the promontory. This tower is similar to other signal stations up and down the coast; it has been attributed to Magnus Maximus who was acclaimed emperor by his troops and ruled Britain between 383-388. (To see Signal Station pictures.)

367: Germanic tribes combined together and invaded Britain and northern Gaul. The Roman forces were overthrown.

367-70: A Roman general, Count Theodosius, overcame the invaders and restored the Saxon Shore fortifications. He also reinforced the coastal defenses by adding signal stations along weakly defended sections of coast, like the Yorkshire coast, which closed the defences between Hadrian's Wall and the Isle of Wight.

383: Magnus Maximus denuded Britian of troops for his fight for the Imperial Throne; the signal stations seem to have stayed in commission.

394: The signal stations remained in use at least until this date, as is demonstrated by the coins found at Scarborough Signal Station and others along the Yorkshire coast.

400: The signal stations on the Yorkshire coast could not have lasted much past 400, because the coins found in them do not date past 395 and there is no evidence in any of the stations of any rebuilding.


Medieval Scarborough

1000: Earliest chapel on headland was probably associated with Viking Scarborough. The settlement probably centered around the harbor.

1066: The town of Scarborough was supposedly burned down by Harald Hardrada, the Norwegian King, who invaded England to help Earl Tostig usurp the British throne.

1070: Baker claims that William the Conqueror probably built Scarborough castle around this time, during his pacification of Britain.

1086: Scarborough is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey. This either is a compelling argument for Harald Hardrada destroying the town, or more probably Scarborough is not mentioned because it was a part of the manor of Falsgrave.

1136: William Le Gros is governor of castle, and its builder after 1138.

1138: William Le Gros is a strong supporter of King Stephen against the Empress Matilda. William is rewarded for his loyalty with the title of Earl of York.

1154: King Henry II ordered Scarborough castle and several others destroyed, but countermanded this order for Scarborough when he realized how strategically important the castle was.

1154: King Henry II rebuilt and enlarged Scarborough Castle and strengthened its defenses.

1174: Roger, Archbishop of York (d.1181) made governor.

1175: Earliest reference to the barbican.

1181: Hugh Bardolph made governor, held in high esteem by Richard I until deposed for supporting John, Earl of Morton.

1190: William of Newburgh, a historian monk, wrote about Scarborough Castle at about this time.

1194: William de Stuteville made governor in Bardolph's stead.

1200: Richard Pipard was the governor of the castle.

1201: John de Builly is governor.

1204: John de Lacu is governor.

1206: King John visited the castle in the second year of his reign.

1208: Robert de Valibus is governor.

1213: Prisoners taken at Dieppe were held in Scarborough Castle.

1215: Godfrey de Neville is governor.

1215: The 15th-19th of June was the conference at Runnymede where King John was pressured by his barons into establishing the rights of his subjects in the charters Magna Charta and Charta de Forresta.

1216: King John visited the castle in the last year of his reign.

1223: King Henry III ordered that Scarborough castle be repaired.

1224: Prisoners were held in Scarborough castle.

1236: By this time Brian Fitxallan, the Sheriff of Yorkshire, is governor.

1239: William de Dacre, who was from the North, is governor.

1243-5: King Henry III (King John's son) built the barbican gate towers between the drawbridges. (To see pictures of the Barbican.)

1248: William Heron is governor.

1253: John de Lexington is governor.

1256: Henry, Lord Hastings is governor.

1266: William de Latimer is governor.

1270: Geoffrey de Neville is governor, later made an itinerant judge.

1271: Peter de Brus of Skelton in county Durham is governor.

1272: John de Vesci was governor after returning from pilgrimage to the Holy Land; he was also in line for the Scottish throne in 1292.

1275: William de Percy, a clerk, is governor.

1275: King Edward I, while in residence, held a magnificent court in the castle.

1277: Robert de Neville (d. 1282) is governor.

1282: John de Vesci, the second baron (d. 1289), is governor.

1289: Isabel de Beaumont (d.1297) is governor, the widow of Baron de Vesci, kinswomen of Queen Eleanor. She also founded the Dominican Conventual Church in Scarborough.

1297: William de Vesci, the brother of John, is governor.

1298: Thomas Oughtred is appointed governor for distinguished service in the Scottish wars.


Late Medieval Scarborough

1305: John Sampson Valettus is governor; at this time repairs to the castle would cost 100 pounds.

1307: Henry de Percy (d. 1315) is made governor but refuses to give up the castle to his successor, William de Latimer, and also refuses admittance to King Edward II.

1312: William de Latimer was supposed to be governor.

1312: Piers de Gaveston, the close friend of Edward II, is governor.

1312: Piers de Gaveston, a favorite of Edward II, got the barons so mad at him that they started a conspiracy to oust him. Gaveston escaped with the King. He surrendered to the conspirators but was beheaded by the Earl of Warwick on Blackmore Hill.

1312: Edward II seized the castle.

1312: Ralph Fitzwilliam is governor.

1312: John de Mowbray is governor about 6 months. This is when the Great Hall and some other castle buildings fall apart; repair costs 200 pounds.

1313: Talliferus de Tillio and John de Rolleston are the governors.

1319: Egidius de Bello Campo is governor.

1319: Humphrey de Walden is governor.

1319: Thomas Ughtred is governor.

1322: Henry de Percy, the son of Henry de Percy, is governor with his mother Eleanor.

1322: Robert de Sapye is governor for a bit.

1322: Willo Barde de Butterwyke and Robto Wawayn have custody of the castle and town of Scarborough.

1324: Robert de Wynferthynge and Richard de Skene are the seneschals.

1324: The burgesses state that the reoccurring problem of the maintenance of the quay at Scarborough harbor can only be aleviated by a quayage (a tax) being levied on all ships in the harbor.

1325: Robert Wawayne and Alexandre de Berg are governors.

1325: Roger de Somerville, the Sheriff of Yorkshire, is governor.

1300's: The town of Scarborough suffered during the various wars in this century. Its sailors were imprisoned and slain and its trade goods were siezed by pirates sanctioned by the enemies of England.

1327: Eleanor de Percy is governor.

1328: Henry de Percy is the constable.

1330: Henry de Percy is appointed governor for 12 years.

1300's: A commission was set up to search all ships between Scarborough and Berwick-on-Tweed, because of the high rate of smuggling in that area. Scarborough's sailors were definitely involved in the smuggling trade during the 14th and 15th centurys.

1343: The castle was repaired for 2,000 pounds.

1362: The castle was again repaired.

1382: Sir John de St. Quintin (d. Jan. 17 1397) is governor.

1397: John Massdale, a sergeant at arms, is governor for life; he rebuilt the King's Chambers, and so it is called Massdale Hall (or "Mosdale"). (To see pictures of the King's Chamber's.)

1421: John Massdale's appointment as governor is confirmed by the king.

1423: Thomas Burgh appointed governor on Jan. 15.

1327-1376: During King Edward III's reign the Great Hall fell into ruin and was taken down.

1437: Sir Ralph Babthrope (d. May 22 1455, at battle of St. Alban), is governor for life.

1455: Sir Thomas Lumley (d. 1485) is governor for life; he married the bastard daughter of Edward IV.

1473: A grant of the town and castle of Scarborough and manor of Wallsgrieve was issued, by Parliament, to the Duke (the future King Richard III) and Duchess of Gloucester.

1483: King Richard III and his wife resided at the castle for the first time May 22nd.

1484: The Queen's Tower is named after King Richard III's wife, Queen Anne, when the two stayed at Scarborough between June 30th and July 11th.

1485: Nicholas Kyngston is the constable-seneschal and gate keeper for life.

1486: William Tunstall, a Royal Body Guard, is governor (d. 1500).

1501: Sir Walter Gryffythe (d. 1530) appointed governor of castle March 10th; his will is dated June 24th 1530 and was proved December 17th 1531.


Tudor Scarborough

1536: Sir Ralph Evers, jr. (d. 1545 at battle of Ancram Moor) was governor of castle; his will is dated May 6th 1533 and proved December 18th 1551.

1536: Scarborough was besieged during the insurrection following the Reformation of the church of England.

1536-7: Uprising called the Pilgrimage of Grace. Scarborough Castle stayed loyal to the crown, but the townspeople rioted and besieged the castle. John Wyvill, a rebel captain, was hanged in chains at Scarborough in 1537.

1538: Constable Sir Marmaduke and Sir Rauff Ellerker made a detailed description of the state of Scarborough Castle and the repairs that it needed, for King Henry VIII.

1545: William, Lord Eure (Evers) made constable of castle.

1548: Sir Richard Cholmley was governor of castle.

1554: Thomas, son of Lord Strafford, took the castle by trickery; he and his men slipped in disguise then killed the guards.

1568: Sir Richard Chamberlain not allowed to keep the castle because he would not change his religion.

1569: Sir Henry Gate was governor of castle, and told to take orders for its safety.

1579: Sir John Constable (b. 1531, d. 1584) was governor of castle for life.

1580: Queen Elizabeth inquired into the decay of the castle.

1584: Edward Gate (b. 1547), son of Sir Henry Gate, was governor of castle.

1604: Martin Skelton was in control of the castle.

1619: William St. Quinten and Stephen Hullgesson were told to delve into the decay of the castle. Some ruining seemed to be from 1584, and some 1604.


Civil War Scarborough

1642: Sir Hugh Cholmley, of Whitby Abbey, made governor of castle. When the Civil War started he was with Parliament, but soon became disillusioned with them; he switched to the Royalist side, bringing with him the castle and its strategic importance for supply.

1643: The south steel battery was built above the town harbor.

1644-5: Sir Hugh Cholmley was the governor of the castle during its siege by Parliament; he kept a detailed journal. It was during this siege that the keep was partially destroyed from cannon fire. (To see pictures of the Keep.)

1645: Sir Hugh surrendered the castle on July 25th, after losing all hope of relief, and having almost no food left.

1645: Sir Mathew Boynton, Bishop of Burton (d. 1647), appointed governor when Sir Hugh Cholmley surrendered.


Scarborough as Prison and Barracks

1665-6: George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends (the Quakers), was imprisoned for 17 months in Cockhyll Tower.

1660's: Scarborough town became a popular spa, or "spaw", and beach resort.

1730's: Cockhyll Tower fell into the sea.

1745: After the failed Jacobite Rebellion, a 3-story brick barracks to house a garrison of soldiers was built over the foundation and walls of the old King's Chambers. The master gunner's house was built north of the keep (To see pictures of the Master Gunner's House.), and the sally port and fortified stairs to reach the south steel battery were also built at this time. (To see pictures of the Sally Port.)

1779: John Paul Jones defeated two ships in the bay.


Modern Scarborough

1800's, mid: The Barracks were no longer garrisoned.

1818: The last drawbridge separating the castle from the town was replaced by a stone arch. The other two had been replaced earlier.

1914: December 16th, two German warships shelled the town and castle, killing 17 people and badly damaging the barracks.

1984: Scarborough Castle site taken over by English Heritage. (A link to the English Heritage web site.)




References for time line

Joseph Brogden Baker, The History of Scarborough, from the Earliest Date, (London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1882), 52-63 & 69-74& 81-97.

R. G. Collingwood, The Roman Signal Station, Arthur Rowntree (ed.), The History of Scarborough, (Temple Press, Letchworth, Herts, 1931), 42-50.

John A. A. Goodall & Katy Carter, Scarborough Castle, (London: English Heritage, 2000), 21-35.

D. Moutgomerie, The Keep, Arthur Rowntree (ed.), The History of Scarborough, (Temple Press, Letchworth, Herts, 1931), 161-62.

R. E. M. Wheeler, Prehistoric Scarborough, Arthur Rowntree (ed.), The History of Scarborough, (Temple Press, Letchworth, Herts, 1931), 11-13 & 32-33.

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