Ripley Castle

Sir Thomas Ingilby: Owner

My family has lived at Ripley Castle for 714 years. It was given to us as a dowry – a wedding present – and like most wedding presents, it has taken 28 generations to work out what to do with it.

I was 18 when my father died. At 18 you think you can fly, and it never occurred to me how awesome a responsibility I had inherited. Running a castle is a colossal logistical and financial challenge – but hugely satisfying when things work out right. I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor, land agent and agricultural valuer, but it soon became evident that tourism was far more lucrative than agriculture. I woke up one morning to discover that I had been transformed into a Licensee: Emma has kissed me numerous times to try and reverse the magic, but it hasn’t worked so far – I only hope that she keeps trying. I got some very odd looks from the worthy publicans of Harehills and Gipton when I joined them at training courses.

My place is the Castle Gatehouse. It was built in 1450 to protect the castle when Britain was a lawless place and millions of people struggled to make ends meet: it has taken 571 years, but that time has finally come. It is ironic that having spent centuries fighting to keep visitors out of the castle, we now extend the warmest of welcomes when they cross our threshold. With oil at $72 per barrel we can’t afford to pour it over the battlements.  The cauldrons now boil tea and coffee, and the sound of popping emanates from champagne bottles, not muskets. If only my ancestors would spin in their graves, we might be able to generate some electricity off them. It’s about time they did something useful! 

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