Tuesday, June 22, 2010

warkworth castle, northumberland

this is the first post from my recent holiday in Northumberland which for those of you who havent been there is absolutely gorgeous. we stayed about 30 miles north of newcastle, just north of the old county capital of alnwick. our little trip was helped by some fantastic weather that led to me getting burnt, although we did take especial care of little izzy, whose now 7 months.
My lovely wife was kind enough to allow me to drag her around several castles and i will post them up over time in amongst models as and when they are done.
Warkworth castle was built in the mid 12th century probably on the site of a previous anglo-saxon estate, and then a wooden norman castle.
the castle was initially described as 'feeble' leadint o the population of the town being massacred during a scottish raid in 1174. later robert fitz roger took over and rebuilt the core of the present castle between 1199 and 1214 leading to the later description of a 'noble castle'. robert was acptured at stirling in 1297 leading to the castle being taken into the crown control.
Edward III granted the castle to Henry Percy, second lord Percy, a main land owner in Northumberland. The percy family became the major leaders in the North of England and became so powerful that they challenged to king on a variety of occasions

The wars of the roses
instead of covering everything about the castle, which i strongly advise you to visit, i will instead focus the next part on the wars of the roses, which since growing up near Bosworth battlefield in leicestershire have always held a special place for me.
By now we are onto Henry, the second earl of Northumberland, who was killed at 1st St. Albans 1455. he was swiftly followed by his son, also Henry, the third earl, who was killed at Towton 1461
in 1462 the Percy/lancastrian stonghold of Northumberland was subdued by Edward IVs kingmaker Richard Neville, earl of Warwick. he used Warkworth as his headquarters whilst undertaking sieges of the Lancestrian castles of Alnwick, Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh (all of which i will cover another time). The castle was later given to Richard Nevilles brother John, lord Montagu but then returned to Henry Percy, the fourth earl in 1471.

the castle
this castle has so many interesting faetures it is difficult to list them all but the spectacular layout of the keep with its home comforts such as a central light well, more serving areas, sluices and garderobes than most castles suggest the main role was influence rather than military.
the bailey is also amazing in that it has some beutifully preserved stonework showing the Percy lion which is hugely ornate. having said that there is no doubting the fact that like all castles the main effect is to intimidate by showing off the wealth and power of the owner

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