Newcastle Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

Castle Keep in Newcastle upon Tyne is one of the city’s most famous attractions and one of the best preserved Norman fortifications in the country.

Lily Johnson

01 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle in Newcastle upon Tyne is a partially restored Norman fortification and one of the best preserved of its kind in Britain. As the ‘castle’ that gave Newcastle its name, it has seen over 800 years of history and today provides an exciting walk through Britain’s medieval past.

Newcastle Castle history

Built at a key strategic location, the site of Newcastle Castle has been occupied for almost 2,000 years, with the Romans first fortifying the site in the mid-2nd century. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the site came into use as an Anglo-Saxon Christian burial ground.

After the Norman invasion the site was refortified by Robert Curthose, eldest son of William the Conqueror. This fortification was called the ‘new’ castle upon the Tyne – later lending its name to the city which grew up around it.

The stone structure we see today was built by King Henry II in the late 12th century and was modified further over the next hundred years – in particular a barbican known as the ‘Black Gate’ was added in the reign of Henry III. However by the 14th century, the Castle had largely become militarily redundant due to the new, wider fortifications built around the town.

Though it was briefly refortified during the English Civil War – and was the last Royalist stronghold in the city – it would never again serve in a military capacity and was used as a prison for some time after, before falling into ruin.

Newcastle Castle today

Restoration work during the 19th and 20th centuries revived much of the castle from its ruinous state, and it now serves as a popular visitors attraction. The most prominent remaining structures within Newcastle Castle are the Castle Keep, the Black Gate, and the structure’s main fortified tower.

As well as exploring the Castle’s many mysterious – including the remains of the former prison chambers – visitors can get a great view of the surrounding area from the top of the fortification. The remains of this Roman fort, Pons Aelius, have also been excavated and a few elements are visible close to Newcastle Castle.

Getting to Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle is located in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, and can be reached via the A1. The nearest major public car park is on Dean Street, a short walk away, while limited street parking outside the Castle Keep is also available. Newcastle Central train station is a 5-minute walk to the site, while the Q1 QuayLink bus service runs to the bottom of the Side – the medieval street that leads up to the castle. Public buses also run to the Black Gate, and the Metro service has two nearby stations under a 10-minute walk away – Monument Station and Central Station.

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