The mysterious Leeds castle that ended up being demolished

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Despite its long history of settlement, Leeds lacks a medieval castle.

Back in 1770, a wealthy merchant with an interest in British history decided to do something about the absence of a fortress - and built his own.

King Alfred's Castle, as it later became known, was located on Tunnel How Hill, between Stonegate Road in Meanwood and the modern ring road. At the time, it was the highest point within the city boundary.

It was a vanity project instigated by Jeremiah Dixon, who served as High Sheriff of the West Riding, and who was a great admirer of King Alfred.

The 'castle' was in fact a very realistic folly. At the time, the area was woodland and part of the Gledhow estate, which Dixon had purchased. It was deliberately designed to replicate the appearance of a ruin, and displayed a plaque which paid tribute to Alfred.

The folly was a popular playground for children as housing began to spring up around the site, but by 1946 it had become unsafe when a tree fell against one of the walls and damaged the archway of the structure. The site was cleared by Leeds City Council in 1960.

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