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Northumbria, the extreme northeast point of England, abounds with historic sites. It also boasts of more castles and fortified buildings than in any other English county and the smallest human population.A four hundred year old territorial conflict was waged ending in 1707 culminating in the Union of Parliment.
Graced with natural beauty and many memorials to its rich history (in the form of many man-made monuments) much of Northumberland is natural parkland. Hadrian’s Wall served as a border wall, at one point, although it is sixty miles to the south of the modern border. The county takes up nearly four hundred square miles of wooded valleys and wide expanses of open moorland.
South of Berwick-on-Tweed,the northernmost part of the county, a causeway leads to the priory, which is in ruins now and Lindisfarne Castle, which sits high and looks as impressive as Mont St. Michel in France. The other major castles nearby are Bamburgh, which is closest (within viewing distance of each other), Alnwick and Warkworth. Two inland routes A696 and A68 meet at Otterburn, near the Cheviot Hills and enclose the National Park, the remains of Hadrian’s Wall and the north Pennines Walking Tour.Newcastle-upon-Tyne has a lively night life along with magnificent architecture. Other castles of note in this English county are Chipchase (just south of Wark on the Tyne River), with three Roman Heritage sites nearby, Seaton Delavel Hall and Tynemouth ( near Newcastle), Edlingham (near Alnwick), Belsay Castle (north of Ponteland and east of Chipchase), and Etal (northmost, close to Berwick-upon-Tweed). There is also Dunstanburgh, which is also a coastal keep south of Bamburgh, and Norham which is set on a high bluff near the River Tweed and right on the English /Scots border.Lastly, is Prudhoe, the southernmost Castle in the county, a giant’s stone throw from Hadrian’s Wall!
Lindisfarne has inhabited the Holy Island off the eastern coast since 1550. Its older sister, the Priory, was established in the eleventh century through conversions performed by St. Cuthbert. It is still a major pilgrimage centre and the ruins are magnificent.The dramatic coastline, famous for the Viking invasions is dotted with the Farne Islands. It was besieged by the armed forces of Edward IV and in the twentieth century was restored in Tudor style by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1903. An added attraction are the nineteenth century lime kilns in the field of the castle. It was a private residence for Edward Hudson and is now owned by the National Trust.
Bamburgh Castle is an excellent place to view Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands and most of Northumberland, from its ramparts. It is currently the home of the Armstrong family, and has been a royal centre since AD 547.The Norman keep of the castle has been a stronghold for almost nine centuries, the rest of the castle has been twice restored, first by Lord Crewe circa 1750 and then by Lord Armstrong II around 1900. Bamburgh has the distinction of being the first castle fired upon and besieged by Edward IV.
The public tour focuses on rooms which contain museum pieces in fine collections of armour, china, paintings, furniture and tapestries. The Armstrong Museum, in the building which was once the laundry, gives the history of the first Lord Armstrong and cover industrial archaeology, a part of the inventive genius of said Armstrong.
A’ demain, The Castle Lady
March warning #3: Don’t cut your own hair!
There are many more photos of Northumberland’s Castles in the Photo Album created for it.
Check it out !