The name was derived from the family of Richard Sterr in 1312 (the 'burgh' or court of the Sterrs).
Reginald de Cobham (1295-1361) was the first Baron Cobham of Starborough. He had a distinguished career and fought at Crécy and Poitiers alongside the Black Pronce. He was one of the first Knights of the Garter and was allowed to crenellate his manor house, which then became known as Starborough Castle in 1342.
The substancial quadrangular shaped castle was built on a half acre artificial island, situated in a sandstone valley on the southern side of the River Eden. The castle buildings were faced with sandstone ashlar, and arranged around a central courtyard. The defences included a high curtain wall with projecting circular corner towers. During medieval times, Starborough attracted the highest levels of society, as well as being an important administrative centre.
For a short while in the 1400s, it accommodated the Duc d'Orleans - albeit as an unwilling guest after his capture at the Battle of Agincourt in October 1415.