AN Englishman’s castle could become your home – if you can find a cool £3.5 million.

Crayke Castle, situated in the village of Crayke, near Easingwold, has been put on the market by Kevin Hollinrake, an estate agent.

He has lived there with his wife, Nicky, and four young children since he bought the property just over four years ago.

He said he was planning to stay in the Crayke area, but move to a property that was easier to maintain.

Mr Hollinrake, who is the Conservative candidate for Dewsbury at the next General Election, said the castle was on the top of a hill, giving total privacy, and was also a “real family house”.

He said: “The kids have a wonderful Enid Blyton-type existence here. It’s south-facing, and most of the windows are at the front, so you get quite a lot of sunlight.

“It’s been modernised over the years, and we’ve put a lot of work in, too – the kitchen, a lot of decorative improvements, some basic repairs to the roof, that kind of stuff.”

The castle, which is being sold for £3.5 million by Knight Frank and Mr Hollinrake’s estate agency Hunters, was built in about 1450 by Robert Neville, then Bishop of Durham, on Crayke Hill, the site of a Norman motte-and-bailey fort.

There were orders for it to be destroyed in 1646, and in 1648 the manor of Crayke was sold by the Puritan parliament to a former lord mayor and MP for York, William Allenson.

His son, Charles, repaired and restored the Great Chamber, which remains.

The castle later reverted back to the church and was leased and subleased variously until it was sold into private ownership in 1827.

Remains of the fort still stand, next to the tennis court.

The castle has no ghosts, but one legend claims King Aella of Northumbria is said to have kept a marauding Danish king hanging in a dungeon there over a pit of snakes.

The news comes as a new report shows that rural and coastal areas of North Yorkshire are emerging as favourable destinations for people wanting to escape the towns and cities.

The Commission For Rural Communities (CRC) report shows that families are replacing the retired as the biggest group leaving urban areas to settle in the region’s countryside, despite a continued decline in services and a rise in rural poverty.

The report, the tenth annual analysis of life for those living and working in the English countryside, reveals that wages in some sections of rural Yorkshire continue to be low, and for many work is not a secure route out of poverty.

Dr Stuart Burgess, chairman of the CRC, said: “Around one in five rural households now live below the poverty line and between 2004/05 and 2006/07 poverty in rural households has increased faster than in urban areas.

“This year we have been able to use the official Households Below Average Income data for rural areas to show this increase.”