WARKWORTH CASTLE, NORTHUMBERLAND

Grid Ref: NU 246 058
Date: 3 September 2014

 

Warkworth Castle lies near Alnmouth close to the Northumberland coast in a loop of the river Coquet. It is an impressive sight when the sun is on it and I was fortunate to have a few minutes of good light. The castle is in the care of English Heritage.

Warkworth
Warkworth Castle, view looking north from within the bailey
Castle Wall
External wall viewed from outside the castle on the south side
Gate
The gate to the castle grounds at the south end of the bailey

 

The origins of Warkworth Castle are unclear; it has been ascribed to both Prince Henry of Scotland in the mid-12th century and to Henry II (1133-1189) who was king from 1154. Warkworth Castle is first mentioned in a charter of the period 1157 to 1164 when it was granted by Henry II to Roger fitz Richard. It appears to have been a timber castle at this period. Roger fitz Richard's son, Robert is reported to have entertained King John at Warkworth in 1213. The grandson of John, King Edward I (1239-1307) was king from 1272 and became known as the "Hammer of the Scots". He stayed at the castle in 1292. His son, Edward II (1284-1327) and king from 1307, during his Scottish Wars strengthened defences of Northumbria including Warkworth. The Scots beseiged the castle without success on two occasions in 1327. In 1345, Henry de Percy took possession of the castle on the death without heirs of John de Clavering, a descendant of Roger fitz Richard. It was Henry de Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland (1341-1408) who added the keep. Algernon Percy, 10th Earl, (1602-1668) fought for Parliament in the Civil War but the castle was damaged at that time.

The male line of the Percy's died out in 1670 but Hugh Smithson (1714-1786) married Lady Elizabeth Seymour, daughter of Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset in 1740. Lady Elizabeth's mother, was Lady Elizabeth Percy, the only surviving child of Joceline Percy, 11th and last Earl of Northumberland who had died in 1670. Hugh Smithson's wife Lady Elizabeth became Baroness Percy in her own right. The title of Earl of Nothumberland passed to her husband on her father's death in 1750 and he was created 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1766

Warkworth Castle was restored in the 19th century with the Dukes using the celebrated architect Anthony Salvin. The 8th Duke, Alan Percy, put the castle under the custody of the Ministry of Works in 1922, which body evolved into English Heritage.

Sources:

Wikipedia artilce on Warkworth and linked articles to persons mentioned in it. Dates of kings and their reigns added.

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