Bothal Castle - Northumberland

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Bothal Castle

Location OS Landranger sheet 81 NZ 241867

How to get there From A1068 south of Ashington take minor road signposted to Bothal.

Richard Bertram, is thought to have built a castle here in c1150 but there may have been a fortification prior to the Norman Conquest.

No public access. Part of the Welbeck Estate

click on first picture for wide view

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Below :- some photographs of Bothal village
St, Andrew's Church >>>

History

NZ 241867/Habitable/No Public Access

Bothal, or as it was known Bottel meaning a house or a hamlet, was fortified before the Norman Conquest.There has been considerable conjecture however about where the Norman motte could have been sited The Castle sits on a long natural mound and no evidence exists to define the location of any motte even to the consideration that there may have been a bailey and no motte and the thinking behind that conjecture is of an administrative nature rather than architectural reason in that there was no one both willing and empowered to erect a Motte and Bailey Castle at Bothal throughout that era. The Estate passed into Norman hands only in 1095 when Guy de Balliol, Baron of Bywell, took possession and he had no need or right to raise a castle on what was a detatched enclave of a large Barony.

The existing structure dates from C14. A licence to crenellate his Mansum was granted to Sir Robert Bertram in 1343 and it is assumed that he then built the gatehouse probably on the site of a former Norman motte; this motte site having been determined by C. H. Hunter Blair and he admitted that it might not have existed [ AH 4 xxii 147]. A survey in 1576 records the castle having among other facilities, a great chamber, seven bed chambers, bakehouse, brewhouse and a court called the gatehouse wherein there is a prison. It was at that time also noted for its "fair gardinges and orchetts, wherein growed all kynde, Peers, damsillis, nuttes, wardens, cherries to the black and redde, wallnutes, and also Licores verie fine". The house built in the 1840s occupies the position once taken by two towers, The Blanke Tower and the Ogle Tower. The gate tower and fragments of curtain wall are medieval, a good deal of which survives. The rest of the castle was built within the last sixty years. The castle is in an excellent state of repair and is used as a private residence and as offices by the agent of the Duke of Portland and forms part of the Welbeck estate. For a comprehensive history of the Castle see " Bothal Observed" by Roland Bibby

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as; Bothall; Bothalle; Bothalla; Bothale; Bottell; In the 19th century and evidently earlier the local people pronounced it Bottle.

For more information see the gateshouse

Postcard of Bothal village, posted 1903
Old Engraving January 1823 drawn H Gasineau - engraver W.Tombleson
Old print of Bothal Castle 1794 with thanks to A. Rowland
Old print of Bothal Castle 1822 with thanks to A. Rowland
Other old print of Bothal Castle
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