Ripley Castle and the Ingleby family

The Manor of Ripley came under the control of the Ingleby family through marriage in 1308/9. It has remained in the families possession ever since. At the time of Sir Thomas Ingleby taking possession, Ripley had a Manor House. Over the course of the 14th century this was developed into what we now know as Ripley Castle. In the 15th century the castle was held by Sir William Ingleby of Ripley, passed upon his death to his five year old son, Sir John Ingleby, and then to his son, via transfer of rights, in 1457. The transfer of rights is addressed below, but his son was a young child and as a result Ripley Castle avoided the political and military upheavals of the early 1460s and 1469-71 periods.

Sir John Ingleby abandons his estates, 1457

Sir John Inglebly had inherited Ripley and its estates, including Ripley Castle, aged 5. He married a wealthy heiress, Margery Strangeways, daughter of Sir James Strangeways and the couple had one son, William. During his married life Sir John added the gatehouse at Ripley Castle, which remains in place to this day.

A widow of a known to be living man!

In 1457, Sir John Ingleby decided to have a new life. He stepped away from his lands, wife, and son, to become a monk. His decision led to the curious scenario of his wife being recognised as being a widow, despite the fact that Sir John was very much alive and resident at a Carhusian Charterhouse near North Allerton that had been founded by this great-grandfather. Mary’s widow status allowed her to remarry, and gave her some rights to the Ingleby estates. She opted to concentrate on raising her son, William, for the next eleven years. Then she remarried, to Sir Richard Welles, in August 1468.

Sir John’s Monastic and Ecclesiastical Life

If Sir John had entered the Charterhouse in search of a peaceful and quiet life, it was something that he eventually changed his mind over. In 1477 John Ingleby was appointed as Prior of Sheen. Sheen enjoyed Royal connections and had King Edward IV as one of its patrons. His role as Prior of Sheen led to him becoming close to to the Royal family and this continued hroughout the reigns of Edward IV, Richard III and into the reign of Henry VII. It resulted in Sir John Ingleby being an executor of the estate of Elizabeth Woodville, and to his appointment by King Henry VII as an ambassador to Pope Innocent VIII. John’s successes as a prior at Sheen and as ambassador to the papacy led to his appointment by the Pope as Bishop of Landstaff in 1496. He died in 1499 and was buried at St Nicholas’ Church, Hertford.

Sir William Ingleby (1455 – 1501)

His father’s decision to enter into a monastic lifestyle resulted in his lands being held on William’s behalf until he came of age. His mother oversaw his upbringing and presumably took a leading role in the administration of Ripley Castle and its associated estates. From the perspective of the Wars of the Roses, this had a consequence of Ripley largely being uninvolved in the politics, warfare, or revolts of the 1460-64 period, or during the northern and Lincolnshire uprisings, Readeption, and campaigns that led to the restoration of Edward IV as King of England: though Ripley was indirectly involved in the Lincolnshire Uprising through Sir William’s stepfather’s involvement and execution, something that appears not to have impacted at all on crown attitudes toward Ripley and the young William Ingleby.

Wiliam Ingleby married at an early age, 15, to Katherine Stillington. He appears to have begun taking an active role in regional affairs in his early 20s, being involved in hearings called by Richard Duke of Gloucester.

In the 1480s Sir William Ingleby was a retainer of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. This is noted during the reigns of both Richard III and Henry VII. He also received patronage from King Richard III, given in 1483. The royal patronage came in the form of annuinities and were granted as Richard restructured administration of the north following his accession. Presumably this was part of a policy of strengthening and continuing ties within areas, particularly of Yorkshire, that he had held administrative and military oversight over in the last years of his brothers reign.

Ripley Castle, Sir William Ingleby, and the Battle of Bosworth

Given that Sir William Ingleby had roles at York as part of the Council of the North it is reasonable to assume that his participation in attempting to defeat Henry Tudor’s invasion would be a given. However, as with many men associated with the City of York and those within the Percy families retaining network, there is little hard evidence to demonstrate what, if anything, he did. The City of York received the request to raise a force to aide King Richard III on 19 August 1483. Just three days before the Battle of Bosworth, making it unlkely that men such as Sir William could realistically have made the appropriate arrangements, travelled, and participated as the time scale is tight to say the least.  Evidence such as the Ballad of Bosworth Field notes some men of the north as having participated, but far from all. This doesn’t mean they were or weren’t there though, just that the author of the Ballad did not mention them. Further evidence comes in the form of the lack of attainders for men such as Sir William. However, this could mean several things. First, they may not have participated. Second, the Tudor regime may not have known exactly which knights had participated if they evaded capture. Third, the new regime needed to adopt a policy that would limit the risk of Richard IIIs supporters rising in revolt. In short, without hard evidence as to Sir William’s whereabouts or intentions we do not know for certain how, if at all, Ripley was involved in the defence of England on Richard IIIs behalf in 1483.

Greeting King Henry VII

In 1486 Sir William Ingleby was one of 33 knights, along with men holding administrative positions, who as ‘feedmen’ [retainers] of the Earl of Northumberland were in attendance to meet King Henry VII at Robin Hood’s Stone. This illustrates that Sir William was well established within the retaining network of the north and thought highly enough of to be in the party greeting the King to the Earl of Northumberland’s area of dominance. It was also a time in which there was a potential threat to the Tudor regime from men whom had been steadfastly loyal to Richard III, so it suggests that Sir William and the other Percy retainers were thought of as being trustworthy by the new regime. [Source: see Pollard, A. J. North Eastern England in the Wars of the Roses. Clarendon Press, Oxford. p127]

Sir William Ingleby in the City of York records

William was one of the men who, on 27 April 1481, considered the ‘Kings Letter’ regarding what locally was termed the Ainsty Men. The Ainsty Men are those upon whom the City of York calls for defensive duties. ‘gentilmen of Aynestie desire curtaslie that as for the nombre of men defensible araied that they might understond and more over to have a day to answer’.

And the answer of the Ainsty Men was to meet in readiness, as on 2 May 1481 Sir William is noted as being one of the men who was amongst, ‘these gentilmen war garderid in the place abovesaid [Bilton Church]’. The purpose of this meeting of the men entrusted with defence of York was to determine whether or not severalmen were truly English, or aliens [in this case, though to be Scottish].

Sir William was also involved in administrative roles following the establishment of the Tudor monarchy. In August 1486 and March 1489 he was one of the men noted as receiving documents and evidence pertaining to the rights of Thomas and Robert Stillington [Bishop of Bath and Welles] and/or a Thomas Wandisford. This was a case relating to land, and took years to resolve.

Ripley Castle Links

Ripley Castle – the castle’s own overview of its history.

Historic England – listing details.

Historic Houses – Ripley Castle.

Featured Image

By Rev. Francis Orpen Morris; –, Public Domain,

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