Hellifield Peel Castle Grand Designs

What happened to Hellifield Peel Castle?

After renovating Hellifield Peel Castle, Francis Shaw ran it as a B&B. But what happened next?

By Victoria Purcell | 31 August 2021

After years of toiling to convert Hellifield Peel Castle into a family home, architect Francis Shaw and his wife Karen ran the property as a successful B&B. Later, they put it up for sale. But why? What happened to the Grand Designs castle?

Grand Designs first broadcast the ‘Yorkshire castle episode’ in 2007, but the task of converting the property into a house was so huge it required a special 90-minute broadcast, followed by a revisit in 2009.

The Shaws bought the 800-year-old Hellifield Peel Castle, located near Skipton in Yorkshire, for £165,000 in 2004 with the idea of transforming it into a seven-bedroom family home.

Inside Peel castle, featured on Grand Designs, with original fireplace and burnt orange walls

Photo: Jefferson Smith

The build cost £850,000, far exceeding their £350,000 savings pot, so they opened the castle as a B&B to help clear their debts. Thanks in part to repeated screenings on Grand Designs, the couple were able to run the B&B successfully for a decade without advertising it. Francis was also able to launch his own architecture practice, Shaw & Jagger Architects.

But in 2016, it was time for the family to move on, so they put the house on the market for £1.65 million. At the time, in an exclusive interview with Grand Designs magazine, Francis explained why they decided to sell the castle.

‘Our youngest daughter Morgan sadly had oxygen starvation at birth, which has affected her development, and is the primary reason we moved to Hellifield Peel Castle,’ he said. ‘It meant we could be near Brooklands, a great special school in Skipton. She’s at the end of that schooling period and we now need to find a college for her. We’re also going to be closer to Karen’s parents.’

Hellifield Peel Castle: what happened after Grand Designs

Photo: Jefferson Smith

After years of toiling to convert Hellifield Peel Castle into a family home, architect Francis Shaw and his wife Karen ran the property as a successful B&B. Later, they put it up for sale. But why? What happened to the Grand Designs castle?

Grand Designs first broadcast the ‘Yorkshire castle episode’ in 2007, but the task of converting the property into a house was so huge it required a special 90-minute broadcast, followed by a revisit in 2009.

The Shaws bought the 800-year-old Hellifield Peel Castle, located near Skipton in Yorkshire, for £165,000 in 2004 with the idea of transforming it into a seven-bedroom family home.

Inside Peel castle, featured on Grand Designs, with original fireplace and burnt orange walls

Photo: Jefferson Smith

The build cost £850,000, far exceeding their £350,000 savings pot, so they opened the castle as a B&B to help clear their debts. Thanks in part to repeated screenings on Grand Designs, the couple were able to run the B&B successfully for a decade without advertising it. Francis was also able to launch his own architecture practice, Shaw & Jagger Architects.

But in 2016, it was time for the family to move on, so they put the house on the market for £1.65 million. At the time, in an exclusive interview with Grand Designs magazine, Francis explained why they decided to sell the castle.

‘Our youngest daughter Morgan sadly had oxygen starvation at birth, which has affected her development, and is the primary reason we moved to Hellifield Peel Castle,’ he said. ‘It meant we could be near Brooklands, a great special school in Skipton. She’s at the end of that schooling period and we now need to find a college for her. We’re also going to be closer to Karen’s parents.’

Hellifield Peel Castle: what happened after Grand Designs

Photo: Jefferson Smith

Sadly, the house didn’t sell, and according to a recent interview with Yorkshire Live, the family still resides at the castle, which is now estimated to be worth £2million. The plan is to sell up and move out once their daughters have finished their education.

But Francis continues to work on exciting projects with Shaw & Jagger Architects, including Mingary Castle in Scotland, where they discovered the first use of Roman cement since the twelfth century: ‘It’s an amazing property and the cement is a revolutionary discovery,’ said Francis in 2016, ‘you can use it underwater and it’s practically indestructible.’

Views over the Yorkshire countryside from the terrace of Hellifield Peel Castle

So when, or if, Francis eventually leaves Hellifield, how will he feel?

‘It’s part of my life. This has sort of defined me in a way, and I was able to launch a practice off the back of it. It’s been a wonderful catalyst in my life to new things.’

Watch the original Peel Castle episode of Grand Designs from 2007
Watch the 2009 Grand Designs revisit to Peel Castle
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