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 Castle Life in the 21st Century

Sir Thomas Ingilby

19th January 2012

Ancestral legacies can have negative as well as positive financial outcomes for the recipient. If you are left a castle but not sufficient funds to maintain it what do you do?  In a delightful humorous, and informative talk, entrepreneur and owner of Ripley Castle Sir Thomas Ingilby told us what he did to create a profitable business that ensures the future of this fine building. There were three important dates that helped to decide the future of the castle. The first was in 1954  when it was found that the roof timbers were infested with death watch beetle and  Sir Thomasís father had to obtain a grant to replace the roof. One of the contractual obligations of receiving the grant was that the castle should be opened to the public 28 days per year in  perpetuity. This started the Ingilby family in the business of entertainment.

 In 1980 the Harrogate Conference Centre opened resulting in requests for dinner parties in the Castle for corporate visitors to Harrogate . Sir Thomas enthusiastically pursued these requests and set up a business to satisfy their requirements.

By the time the law changed in 1986 to allow marriages to take place in suitable venues other than churches Ripley Castle had all the facilities required for both ceremony and reception. A licence was obtained for the conducting of weddings and a further arm was added to the business of maintaining the life of both the castle and the family. As well as normal English weddings, Sikh and Punk weddings have been incorporated along with the filming of various TV and cinema projects. The variety of these functions has created many challenges to be overcome but from which Sir Thomas has gained satisfaction and fulfilment.

Chris Power eloquently thanked Sir Thomas for a really wonderful talk.


A Guided Tour of Yorkgate Gardens by Meg Morton is our next talk on Thursday 2nd February at !0-00am in Otley Methodist Church Hall.

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