est. 5th century
norman ruins from 10th century

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post NE69 7DF
NU 184 350




Bamburgh Site
Visit Northumberland
Heritage Trail
Castle Explorer
Excavations 2009


Bamburgh Castle

the 12th century gatehouse

The enry to the castle is through a huge gatehouse, built in the 12th century. There would have been a drawbridge here over a moat (I really wish they'd keep some of them --like at Dirleton--instead of worrying about access and piddly little thigns like roadways. As it is the narrow road passes throught he gatehouse and up to the main tower, along the inner courtyard wall and the sea wall.

There are only four psasages through the main wall -- the gatehouse, the postern gate, and the battery, which was added to allow carriages to enter the grounds -- the cannons above would have defended the gate. Finally, a small entryway at the very point of the outcropping is the earliest entry to the castle, and leads to the natural harbor that the castle defends.

The most prominent structure on the site is the Keep -- the 12th century square tower. The walls were 3-5 meters thick, and the tower was built for defense. THere is a wierdly shaped doorway designed specifically for men on horseback.

the walls of the keep are up to 13 feet thick

Perhaps the most impressive of the rooms open to the public are int he King's Hall -- a restored, teak-ceilinged room that was built in the original medieval Great Hall. The ceiling is a false hammer beam ceiling of golden teak, giving the room a spectacular golden glow. THe room is a victorian interpreation of a medival banqueting hall.

In the inner courtyard (inner 'ward') lie the foundation sof a chapel, which was turned into a little folly when the castle was restored by Armstrong in the 19th century. There may have been seven other buildings in the inner ward, below the existing chapel.

A stable block has been restored as a cafe and tourist facilities, and a path leads down to the point of the castle outcropping and the Oswald gate and Neville Tower -- with cannon emplacements and watchtowers along the wall near the sea. The views are beautiful (although a bit hazy). On a clear day, you can see all the way to Lindesfarne Priory. Much easier to see the nearby Doe Island castle on a small spit of land offshore.

the kings hall and old kitchens in the inner ward

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