The North of England and its castles

As most of my readers know I set my books, largely, in the north of England. It has more castles than anywhere else in England. Although the buildings we see now date mainly from the fourteenth century, the sites themselves have never changed. This first castle is Bamburgh. It is the Bebbanburg of Bernard Cornwell’s books. Originally it was a wooden structure called Din Guardi and was the home of the kings of Bernicia.  As you can see from the first photograph it is set on a high rock above the sea. Even made from wood it would have been a formidable fortress. The second photograph shows the man made bank and the sea entrance. Coincidentally if you watch the Vikings (Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas) then you can see them attack the castle through that entrance.

The fourth photograph shows the side which was originally next to the sea. Over the years the coastline has changed. The cricket field on the north of the castle was under water because it was tidal. Where there is now grass there would have water.

The interiors show the well and the corridors from the medieval castle.  There is a passage which goes down from the well room and emerges beneath the castle. Sadly I was not able to go down (health and safety.)  Someone last went down a few years ago- lucky chap!

The last photograph is the medieval entrance- they wouldn’t let Scout in!


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The castle with the daffodils below the keep is Warkworth.  This keep dates from 1377 and is made in the shape of a cross.  However it replaced a stone castle from the Anarchy and that replaced a motte and bailey built just after the conquest.  It is built in a loop of the Coquet river. You can see the river in the photograph taken from the top of the tower.  The other photographs show the steepness of the mound.  (I think the daffodils are a modern addition!)

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This is Dunstanburgh castle. It was built by Thomas the Earl of Lancaster to rival the Royal Palaces of Edward II.  Such actions were severely punished and eventually the Earl was executed but he chose a remarkable site.  The nearest settlement is Craster- one and half miles south. It sticks out on a headland.  We stayed in Amble some fifteen miles down the coast and I saw Dunstanburgh castle every morning. The first photograph shows its position. The gatehouse was also a keep.  It is a superb castle.



This Alnwick castle.  Like Warkworth it is built by a river, the Aln. It was used to film Harry Potter and many other films and T.V. programmes. It dominates the landscape.  Personally I prefer Bamburgh but it is still a great castle to explore. Bamburgh let you photograph almost everything but not so Alnwick.

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I was standing on the bridge over the river Aln when I took the photograph immediately above.

I will add to this page as time allows. I will also add my photographs of Hadrian’s Wall and the forts there, too.