HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Mitford Castle

Hob Uid: 23178
Location :
Northumberland
Mitford
Grid Ref : NZ1704085470
Summary : Ruins of a late 11th century earthwork castle of the Bertram family with later curtain wall (early 12th), outer ward and chapel (late 12th) shell keep and and keep (early 13th). Destroyed in 1327, it is uncertain whether it was ever restored. Excavations in 1938 uncovered the remains of a mid 12th century chapel and an earlier burial ground. Scheduled.
More information : (NZ 1704 8547) Mitford Castle (NR) (Remains of) (NAT) (1)

Pointed oval bailey with strong counterscarp bank and outworks, with a similar-shaped low motte on one side. The top of the motte is surrounded by a high D-shaped shell-wall, within which is a pentagonal keep. The southern half of the bailey was walled. Excavations inside the bailey in 1938 recovered a mid-twelfth century chapel covering an earlier burial ground. Mentioned in 1138, and confiscated by the king in 1215. (2)

The castle is in a very ruinous condition, with some parts in danger of collapse. Two headstones (now in Mitford churchyard) were recovered by the Rev Stirk from the old quarry at the south end of the castle (see illustrations). (3)

Condition unchanged. (4)

Mitford Castle. Scheduled Ancient Monument. Very picturesque, forms part of an important group of the Church, Manor House and Bridge. Cream stone walls in fragmentary condition on a mound opposite the Church. 12th and 13th centuries, with tunnel vaults in basement. (5)

Mitford Castle, remains of inner ward and keep. Grade I. Castle ruins. Late C11 earthwork fortress of Bertram family; curtain of inner ward early C12, outer ward and chapel late C12, keep early C13. Squared stone, in places with ashlar quality. Natural hill scarped and ditched to provide motte carrying irregular oval inner ward containing pentagonal keep, with triangular outer ward to south and east and barmkin to north-east. Inner ward: tall curtain, on stepped plinth, remains on west, with large round arch perhaps to a balcony. Section of wall on east with round arch to outer ward, is largely C19 reconstruction. Keep stands to 1st floor but external facing wholly robbed. Basement divided by axial cross wall into 2 barrel-vaulted chambers; impost band at spring of vault, internal stone spouts (bringing in rainwater; the chambers were probably intended as cisterns), segmental-arched doorway to mural stair. 1st floor has chamfered plinth, and is entered via lobby from external stair. To west of keep footings of possibly earlier 'blockhouse' with splayed arrow loops. Historical notes: Described as the "oppidum" of William Bertram in 1138. Seized by Flemish troops of King John in 1215. In 1315 the scene of kidnappings and theholding of prisoners to ransom by Sir Gilbert de Middleton. In 1327 described as "wholly burned"; it is uncertain if it was ever restored.

Mitford Castle. Remains of west curtain wall buildings. Grade I. Curtain wall and adjacent structures. C12 and C13. Squared stone. Three lengths of wall, each showing different builds and masonry types. Northern section has postern into motte ditch, with shouldered lintel under pointed relieving arch. Southern section has partially exposed footings of adjacent range of buildings on east.

Mitford Castle. Remains of east curtain wall. Grade I. Curtain wall. C12 and C13. Squared stone. North-east cutain, with gateway to barmkin, fragmentary. South-east curtain better preserved with mural chambers, garderobe, and round arch of uncertain function.

Mitford Castle. Remains of chapel in outer ward. Grade I. Chapel, mid-C12, largely destroyed by quarrying in early C19. Squared stone. Lower courses of east part of north wall, thickened internally at east end to carry vault of sanctuary or short chancel. The moulded base and attached jamb shaft of the sanctuary or chancel arch survive.

Mitford Castle. Two headstones to north of chapel ruin. Grade I. Headstones, probably early C12. Part of a cemetery with several sepulchral monuments in situ, uncovered in 1939. The northern stone, 0.40m high, has an incised equal-armed cross with an expanded centre; the adjacent body stone is now in Mitford churchyard, on the north side of chancel of the parish church. Other stones removed or destroyed by vandals. (6)

NZ 170 855. Mitford Castle. Scheduled No ND/73. (7)

Listed by Cathcart King. (8)

Scheduled, National Number 32728. (9)

By 1115 William Bertram and his wife were living in the newly-built motte and bailey at Mitford. In 1166 the timber-work was being replaced in stone, which was not completed until 1215. Mitford became notorious as the centre of activities of the `Mitford Castle Gang' in 1315-17. Local landowners, led by Thomas, the Earl of Lancaster, terrorised local farmers into either joining their protection racket, or being imprisoned at Mitford and having their land and stock siezed and relatives outcast or murdered. Most of the Gang were captured in December 1317 and executed. Robert the Bruce siezed Mitford and put it in the charge of Walter Selby, one of the Mitford Gang who had escaped cature. In 1321 he surrendered Mitford to the sheriff of Northumberland, after which the castle went into disuse. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1950
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Norman castles in Britain
Source details : (D Renn)
Page(s) : 245-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1968
Source Number : 10
Source : Bastions and Belligerents: Medieval Strongholds in Northumberland
Source details :
Page(s) : 232-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 EG 11-MAR-54
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3a
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Rev J W Stirk The Vicarage Mitford
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 BHP 21-JUN-71
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Morpeth RD, Northum, April 1969, 12.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Boro of Castle Morpeth, Northumbs 29-Apr-1987 9-10
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details :
Page(s) : 30
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 337
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Schedule amendment 28-JUL-2000
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C11
Monument End Date : 1100
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Early C12th-1327
Monument End Date : 1327
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Cemetery
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C12 and C13
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Castle, Curtain Wall, Bailey, Barmkin, Postern, Gate, Shell Keep
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt in stone 1166-1215
Monument End Date : 1215
Monument Start Date : 1166
Monument Type : Keep, Curtain Wall
Evidence : Earthwork, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C12 to 1327
Monument End Date : 1327
Monument Start Date : 1267
Monument Type : Domestic Chapel
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Destroyed and abandoned
Monument End Date : 1327
Monument Start Date : 1327
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Partial reconstruction of walling
Monument End Date : 1899
Monument Start Date : 1800
Monument Type : Curtain Wall, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 73
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 79054
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 238931
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 238932
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 238933
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 238934
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 238935
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 32728
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 18 NE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1427506
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1421692
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1421622
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1449326
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, MITFORD CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1938-01-01
End Date : 1939-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 18 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1954-03-11
End Date : 1954-03-11
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 18 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1971-06-21
End Date : 1971-06-21
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, MITFORD CASTLE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MITFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MITFORD CASTLE CONSERVATION PROJECT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MITFORD CASTLE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31