Bamburgh Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh, England, United Kingdom

Bamburgh Castle is a grand structure which looms high upon a crag overlooking the coast of Northumberland.

Lily Johnson

12 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle is an imposing castle overlooking the Northumberland coast, that once served as the seat for the Kings of Northumbria. Restored to its former glory in the 19th century, today Bamburgh provides a glimpse into the area’s thousands of years of fascinating history.

Bamburgh Castle history

The site upon which Bamburgh Castle sits was once occupied by the ancient Votadini tribe in around 800 BC, with the first mention of the castle itself dating back to 547 AD.

At this time, the Anglo Saxons invaded and captured Bamburgh Castle, establishing it as the royal citadel of their new capital Din Guayrdi, and the seat of the Northumbrian Kings. In the coming century Bamburgh was subjected to a barrage of attacks from Viking invaders, including one such in 993 in which it was set alight.

In 1095 a new threat would take Bamburgh from the Northumbrian Kings however – William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, seized the castle, building a fierce Keep in its centre. Remaining sections of this medieval structure can still be seen today, and are the oldest parts of the current Bamburgh Castle.

Over the years Bamburgh hosted many of England’s medieval kings from King John to Edward II, while under Henry III a great hall and glass windows were added to create a more comfortable stay.

During the Wars of the Roses, Bamburgh Castle was attacked by the Yorkist Edward IV, becoming the first castle in England to fall to gunpowder. In the years following the war Bamburgh fell into disrepair, and by the time it was put up for sale in 1894 it was half-derelict.

Its second lease of life came when it was purchased by William Armstrong, an industrialist entrepreneur often nicknamed the ‘Magician of the North’ for his innovative scientific discoveries. Armstrong restored Bamburgh Castle to the glorious state in which it is found today, and his family have lived there ever since.

Bamburgh Castle history

Today Bamburgh Castle is open for the public to explore its fascinating story and incredible coastal views. 14 state rooms are filled with artefacts and heirlooms from the site’s hundreds of years of history, while the magnificent King’s Hall is a masterpiece of Victorian design and features a host of artwork and stunning oak interiors.

In the medieval Keep, the armoury presents a collection of battle-scarred weaponry from across the medieval and early modern periods, while in the Archaeology Museum lies a collection of Anglo-Saxon treasures!

Getting to Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle is located in the town of Bamburgh, Northumberland, following the B1341 off the A1. The nearest train station is Chathill station, 8 miles away, while a number of buses run into Bamburgh, with the Lord Crewe Hotel stop a 9-minute walk away.

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