The site for Chillingham was well chosen for a fortified private estate. It doesn’t quite classify as one of the giants of Northumbria but it has been continuously owned by the Earls Grey heirs since the mid-1200s. The current heir is Sir Humphrey Wakefield who married the daughter of Mary Grey.
It was started as a twelfth century stronghold and by the fourteenth century it graduated to a fully fortified castle replete with dungeon, torture chambers and hidden passageways. These are most unusual features for primarily domestic renaissance architecture, but not for the time and place. It is, after all, a border castle and inland.
During Northumberland’s border feuds and skirmishes castle dwellers could escape through the hidden passageways. Chillingham had visits from Monarchs during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which coincided with the Scottish campaigns. During the Tudor period additions were made but the castle has retained its medieval features.
The pathways and garden landscaping was laid out by Sir Jeffrey de Wyatville (of Windsor fame) and can be properly viewed in breathtaking splendor from the various towers. The romantic grounds include a lake and Elizabethan topiary garden and fountains.
My next entry is going to center on Bamburgh and Lindisfarne being as how they are in such close proximity to each other and both are an awesome size. While you’re waiting you can check out today’s new photos of Chillingham and grounds and if you look around I have various photos in the Northumberland album of all the castles. I have included maps of Northumberland in the line-up so you can check out the landscape! There is also a castle directory on the home page all the way at the bottom. If you’re looking for a specific photo of a castle you’re sure to find it there ! Happy hunting!
Evelyn , The Castle Lady