CASTLES, Cathedrals, Abbeys and Stately Homes 



Set on an outcrop of the Whin Sill the castle has been a natural fortress since Iron Age times. The Angle Warlord Ida landed there in the 6th century and established 'Bebbanburgh' as the capital of what became Bernicia.

A curtain wall encircles the keep that was erected in the 12th century to deter invading Scots. The outcrop on which the castle stands has been inhabited for at least 2000 years and a well 150ft deep built in

Anglo-Saxon times still survives. One of the displays in the castle’s museum is a gold plaque from the 7th century depicting a creature known as ‘the Bamburgh Beast’. Until Viking raiders overran the north-east Bamburgh was one of the principle strongholds of the Anglo-Saxon kings of Northumbria. In the Middle Ages the castle survived several sieges, but in 1464, it became the first English castle to fall to gunfire.

The castle passed to the Forster family and also became a school for a time. After centuries of neglect, it was restored, in Victorian times by Lord Armstrong. Among the castle’s treasures are Sevres and Dresden china, Faberge animals and a display of arms and armour. There is also the Armstrong Museum seperate from the main castle which is dedicated to the First Lord Armsrong. Lord Armstrong was an engineer who founded what is now the Vickers Armstrong works at Scotswood. Many exhibits of Armstrongs inventions are displayed. Armstrong invented the recoilless gun which revolutionised warfare in the late 19th century.

Lady Armstrong lives in part of Bamburgh Castle, in the strongest part, called the keep. The keep was burgled a few years ago. The Castle is next to the beach. The sand is all white with a lot of marram grass on the dunes. The Castle is about forty metres high on volcanic rock. St Aidan's Church had its roof lead stolen twice. The Church dates back to the 13th Century, replacing the previous wooden building. It is a large church for a small building. One very famous person who was born and died in Bamburgh, at the age of 26, was Grace Darling. She was famous for the rescue she did with her father when she was twenty three. It was dark stormy night and the vessel Forfarshire ran aground on the Farne Islands. Grace woke her father and they rowed out to sea and found the survivors on the rocks.



Alnwick Castle, often referred to as the `Windsor of the North', is undoubtedly the best medieval castle in northern England. It dates from the eleventh century and its construction was begun by a Norman family called the De Vescis, but the castle is much better known as the historic seat of the Percy family.

Northumberland's asssociation with the Percy family began on the nineteenth of November 1309 when Henry De Percy bought the castle and baronry of Alnwick from Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, who had acquired the land from the De Vescis. In 1377 Henry, the fourth Lord Percy, became the first post conquest Earl of Northumberland, a title held by the Percys until the seventeenth century. The present Duke of Northumberland still bears the Percy name.

Alnwick is magical, in fact.  It's 'Hogwort', if your name is Harry Potter!



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