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There are very few giants in this world, either of the human variety or other references. One can say that the chances of seeing several giants in one area or one arena is an awesome sight but none can compare with the giant castles which dominate the Northumberland eastern coastline. In this entry I’m going to cover Alnwick which is already in my photo album but others which I’ve covered and some of which I have not as yet are Bamburgh, Lindisfarne, Dunstanburgh (short entry only), Chillingham (which is purported to be haunted), Seaton Delaval Hall, Warkworth, Durham, Barnard, Hexham Abbey and the Castle at Newcastle (although only the crenellated keep of the latter remains.) Alnwick, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh formed a trio of big, powerful castles which during the Middle Ages held the key to the English north-east and its coast.
Alnwick, as I understand, was used in one of the Harry Potter movies and since the references that I’ve read have been vague about which movie, perhaps one of you young things can tell me! The landscaping on this estate was, of course, done by Capability Brown and has been owned and occupied by the Dukes of Northumberland since 1309. Throughout the Middle Ages this was a major defense against the invading Scots and held its own quite well. The Victorians didn’t call this the "Windsor of the North" for nothing!
It boasts one of the finest interiors in England. I will include two new photos of the luxurious rooms contained inside. It is also a museum and contains the Fusiliers, telling the story from 1674 up to the present. The Postern Tower contains valuable archaeological artifacts, and the Constable’s Tower has an exhibition on the Percy Tenantry Volunteers, who were formed in response to Napolean’s threat. The art collection boasts Camalettos, Vandycks and Titians.
Alnwick was rebuilt twice, first in the 1760s when it was gothicized and then again in the 1850s and once more when the fourth Duke of Northumberland spent L 250,000 on modernizing and beautifying the exterior and interior. Anthony Salvin’s restoration of Alnwick in the 19th century centered on the Guest Hall and is used for various conference, entertainment and even wedding receptions and dinner parties. Check out my December photo album to see the photo of the exterior of the Castle.
Alnwick has been the home seat of the Percy family for many centuries but this was not their only connection to castles. They were not originally a Northumberland family but they settled in Spofforth in Yorkshire and William de Percy was given eighty-six manors. He built a castle in Spofforth and it was the family home for three hundred years! Their fortune amassed to such a degree that it was necessary to move into Alnwick. You can see Spofforth in the black and white photo below! Spofforth has the distinction of being the birthplace of Harry Hotspur.
You can see some great interior pics of the inside of Alnwick below and soon I’ll have more photos of the castles I haven’t introduced you to, one of them being none other than Chillingham! Until then…..
Evelyn The Castle Lady at your service (with a smile!)