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Structure Details
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Structure Name: Norham Castle

Description:
 
Ruined castle standing on the south bank of the Tweed, comprised of three walled wards surrounding a stone keep, with earthworks separating each ward. Entrance to the quadrant-shaped outer ward is through a gatehouse in the west wall.

The keep is the most impressive remain of the castle. It stands to full height of 27.5m on all sides but the north, with a garderobe tower on the south wall and three tunnel vaults above the ground floor. The walls are between 3.5 and 4.5m thick.
 

Extant: Yes

Legal Status: Listed Building Grade I, Scheduled Ancient Monument

Location: Norham Castle, NORTHUMBERLAND

Eastings: 390670m (view map)

Northings: 647560m (view map)

Position Accuracy: 100m

Positional Confidence: Absolute Certainty

Structure Types Identified: BARBICAN, CASTLE, CURTAIN WALL, MOTTE AND BAILEY, TOWER KEEP

Historical Background
 
Norham Castle was built as a motte and bailey for the Bishops of Durham, to defend the area against Scots invaders, and was later rebuilt in stone. It came under siege a number of times in the 1200s and 1300s. The 15th century saw a number of repairs to the castle, as well as another siege during the Wars of the Roses. After the attack of 1513, the 16th century saw the castle fall into disrepair during more peaceful times.

In 1559, Norham and Holy Island were both alienated from the control of Durham, and taken by the Crown. Queen Elizabeth's refusal to provide money for the castle's upkeep led to the castle becoming useless when England and Scotland were united in 1603. Norham Castle was sold to the Earl of Dunbar, and changed hands a number of times, until coming into the care of the State in 1923.
 

Chronology:

  • 1121   Motte and bailey castle constructed for the Bishop of Durham.
        Entities Involved:
              Bishop Rannulf Flambard: Commissioned work.
  • 1136 - 1138   Castle besieged twice and captured by King David of Scotland.
        Entities Involved:
              King David II: Invaded England.
  • 1157 - 1174   Castle rebuilt in stone by Richard of Wolviston for Bishop Puiset.
        Entities Involved:
              Bishop Hugh de Puiset: Bishop of Durham.
              of Wolviston, Richard: Designed and oversaw the construction of the stone keep and curtain walls.
  • 13TH CENTURY AD   Construction of the Great Hall in the inner ward, and the south wall of the outer ward. Sheep Gate and outer bastions constructed.
  • 15TH CENTURY AD   Forebuilding constructed containing a stair turret. Annexe added to southeast of keep.
  • 1422 - 1425   Two floors were added at the top of the keep, requiring the heightening of the walls and the installation of a central supporting wall. Barbican aded to outer wall of outer ward.
  • 16TH CENTURY AD   Wall of inner ward replaced. Some bastions and gatehouses rebuilt.
  • 1513   Castle surrounded and bombarded with cannon fire, by Scots forces led by James IV.
        Entities Involved:
              King James IV: Invaded England.
  • 1513 - 1515   Extensive rebuilding for Bishop Ruthal.
        Entities Involved:
              Bishop Thomas Ruthall: Commissioned work.
  • LATE 18TH CENTURY   Gothick-style cottage built encasing a turret on the south wall.
  • 1923 - 1925   Castle excavated.
Notes
 
NORHAM CASTLE - C 1421 by.
BISHOP FLAMBARD - REBUILT BY
BISHOP HUGH DE PUISET OF DURHAM
1157 - THE KEEP FROM S.W.
84 X 60 X 90 high originally 3.
storeys high & then 5 storeys
in 1422.
[Note on slide mount - Pearce #2965]
 

References:

  • Images of England
  • Keys To The Past
  • Northumberland SMR
  • Pevsner, N., Richmond, I., Grundy, J., McCombie, G., Ryder, P. and Welfare, H. (2001) The Buildings of England: Northumberland. London, Penguin Books, pp.521-523

The information displayed in this page has been derived from authoritative sources, including any referenced above. Although substantial efforts were made to verify this information, the SINE project cannot guarantee its correctness or completeness.

 


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Last Modified 26 March 2004
2002 SINE Project, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
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