Warkworth Castle - Northumberland

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Warkworth Castle

Location OS Landranger sheet 81 NU 247058

How to get there In Warkworth village, 7 1⁄2 miles South east of Alnwick, on A1068

Thought to have been built c 1070 by the de Merlays or by Henry, son of David I of Scotland who was created Earl of Northumberland in 1139. First mention 1157. A very detailed History to be found in Mike Salter's "Castles and Tower houses of Northumberland" see Castles page for Link .

The castle is in the custody of English Heritage

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History

NU 247058/Ruin/EH

The name of Warkworth in the 12th Century was Werceworde, that is the home of a woman called Werce. It first comes into the light of history when in 737 Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria, bestowed it on the monks of Lindisfarne. Frank Graham (the castles of Northumberland)

The Castle here was either founded by the de Merleys c 1070 or by Henry, son of David I of Scotland, created Earl of Northumberland by the treaty of Durham in 1139. It existed by 1157 when Henry II  recovered the earldom and gave Warkworth to Roger Fitz-Richard in thanks for his service when the royal army was ambushed by the Welsh in Flintshire. It was held by that family for two centuries when it then passed into the hands of the Percies in 1332. Mike Salter the Castles and Towerhouses of Northumberland

The first Percy earl and his famous son Harry Hotspur were Chiefly responsible for placing Henry V on the throne in 1339 but later conspired against him . Hotspur was killed at the battle of Shrewbury and Henry marched north to batter the Castle of Warkworth into submission.

Three of the scenes in Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth Part I are laid at Warkworth.  Shakespeare describes it as “ this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone, where Hotspur’s father, Old Northumberland,  lies  crafty-sick “ Frank Graham (the castles of Northumberland)

In 1922 the 8th Duke of Northumberland placed the ruins in state care.

Early C12 motte and bailey castle. Rebuilt in stone circa 1139 with many alterations from the mid C12 - C16. The remains include a tower keep castle and C14 collegiate church. One tower was used as a prison in C16. The castle was reported in good repair in 1538 and from then until 1557 it became the residence of two royal officials. It was captured by the Scots in 1644 and 1645 and by soldiers of the commonwealth in 1648. Used for building materials for a house at Chirton in 1672*. The Keep was repaired in C19.Philip Davis The Gatehouse (Warkworth castle)

* John Clarke the estate auditor , took away 272 wagon loads of lead, timber and other materials Frank Graham (the castles of Northumberland)

Warcorthe , Werceworde

Post Card 1920s Post Card 1960s
JMW Turner Warkworth Castle
Post Card Warkworth castle from the air 1950s
For other Castles in Northumberland or for Illustrated Walks click the name in list on the left of the page

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