From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Bamburgh Castle

55° 36′ 28.8″ N, 1° 42′ 32.4″ W
11th Century

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Bamburgh Castle is located on the coast, close to Seahouses, at Bamburgh, Northumberland.

The rocky dolerite outcrop at Bamburgh upon which the castle is built, was originally home to a fort, built by native Britons known as Din Guarie. It was captured in 547 by the Anglo-Saxon ruler Ida of Bernicia and became the seat of his power. In 590, the Britons successfully retook the fort but the Anglo-Saxons reclaimed it later on in that year. Eventually the fort was passed on to Bebba, she renamed the for to Bebbanburgh. A Viking raid in 993 destroyed the fort, raising it to the ground.

The Normans built a castle on the rocky outcrop soon after the 1066. In 1095, Robert de Mowbray seized four Norwegian vessels lying in the Tyne. After refusing to explain his actions, King William II led an army to Bamburgh but failed to capture it. When Mowbray left the castle, he was pursued to Tynemouth. After six days he was captured. He was taken back to Bamburgh, where his wife was still holding the castle. She only surrendered the castle after the besiegers threatened to blind her husband.

Bamburgh became the property of the crown. It was strengthened and enlarged, as it was a popular target for raids from Scotland. In 1464, during the War of the Roses, it became the first castle in England to be defeated by artillery, after a nine month siege by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick.

The castle was taken over by the Forster family of Northumberland, after 400 years of governorship, the Forster family was granted ownership. In 1700, after Sir William Forster Died, he was declared bankrupt and the castle was sold to Lord Crew, Bishop of Durham to settle his debts.

The castle passed through many hands and slowly fell into a state of disrepair. Various attempts to restore the castle were undertaken, but progress was slow. William Armstrong finally bought the castle and completed the Restoration. The castle still belongs to the Armstrong family who has opened it to the public.