Savills | Gilling Castle, Gilling East, Yorkshire, YO62 4HP | Property for sale
96.97 Ac(39.24 Ha)
Guide price £3,750,000

Gilling CastleGilling East, Yorkshire, YO62 4HP

  • Freehold

Key features

  • Suitable for a variety of uses subject to planning
  • Range of Outbuildings
  • Architecturally important property
  • Approximately 100 acres
  • Freehold to 9 hole Golf Course

A Grade I Listed castle with 14th century origins sitting in approximately 100 acres

About this property

  • Gilling Castle is one of England's most treasured and historic buildings. Nestled in the Howardian Hills this iconic building is Grade l listed and is to be sold for the first time in nearly one hundred years. With origins going as far back as the 14th century it has been altered and remodelled over the many centuries, but remains an impressive structure with some magnificent and unique period features of national importance.

    The original core was significantly re-modelled by the Fairfax family who rebuilt the 14th Century manor house. This work was believed to have been completed around 1585. The north and south wings were added at the beginning of the 18th Century as part of a major extension. Lying to the north of the main house is an enclosed series of buildings, which would have originally been the stable complex and workers' cottages and, but now classrooms and dormitories.

    Gilling Castle can either be approached from the private driveway, leading from the main entrance gates and the Lodge, or from Pottergate which then joins the main drive part of the way along.

    The driveway leads to the west face of the property where there is a turning and parking area. The property has been occupied as a school since 1929 with the building adapted for that use over a number of years. Gilling Castle retains many architectural features which are scheduled in the Listing as undoubtedly it is an important building, with the entrance hallway, dining room, long gallery and chapel of particular note. Gilling Castle itself is Grade I Listed, the former stables and clock tower are Grade II Listed, the stone gate piers are Grade II Listed and in all sits in approximately 100 acres, formerly part of a large estate on the register of Historic Parks and Gardens for its special historic interest.

    Lying to the south and west of the gardens and playing fields lies a private nine hole golf course within the curtilage of the property. There is a parking area and small club house off Pottergate. The course is primarily a nine hole golf course with the facilities available to the Abbey and college as well as private members and paying guests. The area occupied by the golf course is subject to a lease from the Ampleforth Abbey Trustees to the Trustees of the Ampleforth College Golf Club. The golf course is let until August 2030 at a peppercorn rent.

    To the west lies the avenue which was presumably an historic carriage entrance to the castle in a long open and level grassland strip flanked to each side by maturing woodland.

    Part of this woodland borders the golf course providing amenity and shelter. In all the property extends to just short of 100 acres and can be broken down to around 30 acres with Gilling Castle to include drive way, amenity woodland, castle, playing fields and gardens. The golf course, part of the avenue and the rookery add another 70 acres or thereabouts. The property is sold freehold by the Ampleforth Abbey Trustees and forms part of title number NYK312468.

    We understand that the property will be offered for sale with the benefit of vacant possession upon completion except for the golf course which is let until 2030.

    There are believed to be no public rights of way affecting the property with the exception of a footpath running from main street in the village and passing along the length of the eastern boundary of the rookery woodland.

    Gilling Castle would be suitable for conversion to a full service hotel, subject to the necessary consents. With conversion of the bedrooms, which were previously used as dormitories for the boarding school, there is also ample space for meeting and event space and food and beverage opportunities. There would also be opportunity to extend the building to offer other uses such as a spa and wedding suites. Externally there are tennis court's a golf course and car parking. Consideration will be given to a Leasehold transaction accompanied by the payment of a premium.

    The proximity of the property to York city centre, and the North York Moors is extremely appealing to an operator. York is a strong regional market sitting alongside other cathedral cities such as Cambridge, Oxford and Bath in terms of appeal to both domestic and international visitors. Also the popular towns of Helmsley,Thirsk and Northallerton are within easy reach, as is are the coastal resorts of Scarborough and Whitby.

    View payable Stamp Duty for this property

This is an iconic building known to many and now is available to buy and create something special for the next thousand years

Ed StoyleProperty agent

Local information

  • Gilling Castle lies to the west of the village of Gilling East and occupies a commanding position surrounded by private grounds all lying within a ring fence. The principal access is a tree lined private carriageway leading from the village. The property lies within a rural setting with farmland and woodland to the south and west. To the north is farmland and playing fields which lead up to Ampleforth Abbey & College and Ampleforth village. Gilling East is an attractive village with houses mainly of traditional stone construction. Facilities include the Fairfax Arms which is a well regarded pub and restaurant with rooms.
  • The historic and thriving city of York lies 19 miles to the south providing access to the main East Coast railway line midway between London and Edinburgh. The popular tourist market town of Helmsley lies 6.2 miles to the north east and the market town of Thirsk lies 17.2 miles to the north west again providing access on to the main East Coast rail line as well as the A168 dual carriageway, A19 and A1 trunk roads. The property lies within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers easy access to the North York Moors National Park.

Additional information

  • Gilling Castle was originally the home of the de Etton family, who appeared there at the end of the 12th century. It was Thomas de Etton who built, in the second half of the 14th century, the fortified manor house, a large tower almost square, whose basement still forms the core of the present building. In 1349 - the year of the Black Death - his father had settled the manor of Gilling on his wife's family, the Fairfaxes, in the event of the failure of the Ettons. Thus, Thomas Fairfax was able to claim the property in 1489, and it was his great grandson, Sir William Fairfax, who succeeded in 1571, and undertook the rebuilding of the old 14th century house.
  • Building on top of the medieval walls and leaving the ground floor intact he rebuilt the first and second floors, adding at the back (east) a staircase turret and a bay window. We owe to him the Great Chamber, which was completed in 1585. At the beginning of the 18th century the owner, now Viscount Fairfax of Emley, remodelled much of the interior of the house and added the wings enclosing the front (west) court. Though this work has often been attributed to Vanbrugh it was more probably by James Gibbs, the architect of St Martins in the Fields and of the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford.
  • On the death of Mrs Barnes (Lavinia Fairfax) in 1885, this branch of the family became extinct and the castle, after passing through several hands, was bought by Ampleforth Abbey in 1929. The vendor, however, retained the panelling and glass of the Great Chamber and sold it separately. It was subsequently recovered for Gilling Castle, with the help of the Pilgrim Trust and many friends and subscribers, and restored to its old home in 1952.
  • The Great Chamber was the principal room of the house as rebuilt by Sir William Fairfax, who held Gilling from 1571 to 1597. It survived the 18th century rebuilding almost unaltered and is a remarkable example of the richness and elaboration of a late Elizabethan interior. Sir William was keenly interested in heraldry and he used it to decorate the newly-built room. The glass has the signature of the artist and the date, 1585, which suggests that the room and its decorations were completed that year.
  • Above the wainscoting is a frieze, painted on boards, displaying the arms of the gentlemen of Yorkshire. They are arranged in twenty-one Wapentakes. To each Wapentake is given a tree and the coats of all gentlemen then living in that district are hung on its branches.
  • The room is wainscoted in English oak divided in height into three large panels in the four corners. The lozenges are filled with interlacing geometrical patterns in ebony and holly. Each one is different and there are nearly a hundred round the room. Each triangular panel is inlaid with a flower. The chimney piece has the Fairfax achievement (quarterly of six, Fairfax, Malbis, Etton, Carthorpe, Ergham and Folyfayt) in the centre panel. Above are the arms of Queen Elizabeth I. The breast above the fireplace has four coats - of Sir William's four sisters and their husbands (Bellasis, Curwen, Vavasour and Roos, each impaling Fairfax).
  • The ribbed plaster ceiling with its fans and pendants completed the room. Once again Sir William's enthusiasm for heraldry finds its place. For the grounds of the panels formed by the ribs are decorated with lions (Fairfax coat), and goats and talbots (the Fairfax and Stapleton supporters). In common with much of the decorative work carried out at Ampleforth Abbey there are a number of decorative and amusing panelled objects with the characteristic mouse carved by the renowned popular Valatta maker Robert Thompson.
  • Sir William carried on his heraldic decoration in the painted glass, which is its finest part. The south window which alone survives almost intact, is devoted to the heraldry and genealogy of his second wife's family, the Stapletons. The bay window has suffered, and the first row of lights were re-glazed with clear glass, probably in the 18th century. This window shows the story of the Fairfax family. These two windows are the work of Bernard Dininckoff who has left his signature, with the date 1585 and a tiny portrait of himself, in the bottom right-hand light of the south window. The third (east) window has also lost its lower lights and is by a different artist, slightly later in date. It shows the story of the Constable family, for Sir William's only son, Thomas (afterwards the first Viscount Fairfax), married Catharine Constable of Burton Constable.
  • EPC Exempt
  • Tenure = Freehold