The layout of Helmsley Castle is unusual, a large rectangular area enclosed by a steep bank and ditch with two large towers on either side.
It was begun in 1186 by Robert de Roos on the site of his uncle Walter Espec's earlier castle, and substantially extended and improved in the following centuries.
The East Tower, nearer the town, was the better defended of the two and was partly demolished during the Civil War.
The West Tower, along with the adjoining Chamber Block and Latrine Tower was remodelled as a domestic building in the sixteenth century by Edward Manners.
In 1711 the then owner, Thomas Duncombe, built a grand new house, Duncombe Park, nearby and the old Tudor house was finally abandoned.
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