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Historic England Research Records

Norham Castle

Hob Uid: 4006
Location :
Northumberland
Norham
Grid Ref : NT9067047560
Summary : A castle originally built as a motte and bailey in 1121 for Bishop Flambard and rebuilt in stone circa 1157 by Richard of Wolviston for Bishop Puiset. Additions were made in the 13th century, including the great hall and south wall. The keep was remodelled between 1422-25. The last phase of construction was 1513-15 when rebuilding was carried out, especially to the north wall for Bishop Ruthal. This last work was neccessary after the castle had been temporarily been captured by a Scottish army under James IV using a devestating artillery bombardment. The rebuilding meant that the castle took on more the character of a Tudor artillery fort. During the late 18th and early 19th century one of the south turrets was encased in a gothic cottage. A possible outer enclosure encroaches into the field to the south (see record 1237268). The castle lies within a possible Iron Age promontory fort (see record 1360807), and there are various post-medieval artillery fortifications in the vicinity (see record 1360810). The castle is in the are of English Heritage.
More information : [NT 906475] NORHAM CASTLE [NR]. (1)
hed M.P.B.W. Guide. (2)

As described and in good condition. Open to the public. Published survey 1/2500 revised. (3)

Air photgraphs. (4)

NT 906476 Norham Castle. Scheduled. (5)

Norham Castle. Grade I. Ruined castle of the bishops of Durham. Originally a motte-and-bailey castle of 1121 for Bishop Flambard.
Rebuilt in stone c.1157 by Richard of Wolviston for Bishop Puiset. Of this period the keep and part of the masonry of walls and W gateway. C13 additions include the S wall of the outer ward and the great hall in the inner ward. The keep was extensively remodelled in 1422-25; finally much rebuilding, especially of the N wall, in 1513-15 for Bishop Ruthal. One of the turrets of S wall encased in Gothick cottage in the late C18 or early C19. Inner ward with keep forming SE corner. Outer ward with West Gate, the site of Sheep Gate in S curtain wall. Inner and outer moats. (6)

NT 9067 4756; NT 9064 4745. Norham Castle tower keep castle.
Scheduled RSM No 23229. The mound of the earliest castle is protected on the S side by a 20m wide ditch up to 10m deep and on the N by its own steep gradient and the River Tweed. The keep was complete by 1174. Full archaeological and historical account. (7)

In August 1999, English Heritage carried out a Level 1 field observation on Norham Castle (8).

A detailed architectural study of the castle, which proved that the keep was begun by Bishop Flambard as early as 1121, was published by P Dixon and P Marshall in 1993, and this contributed to a guidebook by A Saunders published in 1998 (8a, b).

The field observation identified what appears to be a defended enclosure in the field to the south of the castle (NT 94 NW 52), its interior filled with well-preserved broad ridge and furrow (NT 94 NW 48). The massive defences bank and ditch crossing the promontory to the SE suggest it to be contemporary with the castle and an integral part of its design and defensive strategy.

The moat of the outer ward has a substantial counterscarp bank; a stretch of c100m to the SE of the castle has been levelled, part of the material apparently going into the moat. The arcading within the adjacent rampart of the outer ward has been exposed by the removal of the earth along the same stretch, some of which is shown on a view of the castle by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck in 1728 (reproduced in 8b, page 4).

Main events in the castle's history listed by Cathcart King. (9)

Following the Field Observation in August 1999 (Source 8), in March 2002, English Heritage carried out a detailed field investigation and survey of the setting of Norham Castle (NT 94 NW 1) to improve understanding of both the castle itself and various earthworks in its vicinity (Event Record 1363798).

A full report on the Level 3 investigation, which includes full description and analysis, plans at various scales, photographs and interpretative drawings, is available through the NMR. The remainder of the archive material is also available (10).

A Medieval/post Medieval castle, centred at NT 9063 4758, is visible as a ruined building on air photographs. It is enclosed by two moats that are visible as earthworks on air photographs. The castle (situated on top of a Medieval motte) is as described by previous authorities. The innermost moat measures between 20m and 30m wide. It is, however, only visible on the south and west sides. Any further earthworks are obscured by trees. After the inner moat there is an outer bailey that measures 40m wide. This is enclosed by an outer moat that also measures 30m wide and is only visible to the south-east (on the air photographs available). (11)

The castle was described as ruinous in 1571 when Elizabeth I granted it to Lord Hunsdon. Full history of the castle. (12)

Norham Castle was in the Palatinate of Durham. The original castle of Bishop Flambard was destroyed by the Scots. It was rebuilt in stone by Bishop Hugh de Puiset soon after 1153 on the orders of Henry II. In 1173-4, Henry suspected the Bishop's loyalty and took the castle into his own hands until 1189, and during the vacancy of the Bishopric of 1208-1217 it was again taken into Crown hands. (13)

Despite several 16th century surveys commenting on the continual deterioration of Norham Castle, and its excellent defensive position, nothing was done to halt the decay and bring Norham back to defensive readiness. By 1596 it was totally indefensible. (14)

There are several gunports at Norham dating from 1509-13. (15)

Saunders thinks that the casemates in the curtain wall post-date the destruction done to the castle in 1513, rather than 1509-1513. There are three low level casemates for guns mounted on flat beds. The wall is sufficiently wide to have supported guns on it. (16)

Puplished version of the survey report alluded to in source 10. The survey shed some new light on the development of the castle as a whole the main benefit of the survey was in examining in detail the earhtworks situated in a field to south of the road, demonstrating multi-period developments here including a possible iron Age fortification, part of the third bailey of the castle. Moreover a line of probable 16th century earhtwork fortifications were discovered o nthe west side and on the edge of the promontory. A small settlement alongside the road to the south gate was also investigated. The report also includes a summary of previous investigations and the status quo of knowledge about the castle to 2002. (17)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source : Norham Castle
Source details :
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Source Number : 8a
Source : The great tower in the twelfth century: the case of Norham Castle
Source details :
Page(s) : 410-32
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Source Number : 8b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Saunders. A 1998. English Heritage guidebook to Norham Castle.
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 9
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) : 339
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : Feb-83
Source Number : 10
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : English Heritage: Norham Castle survey
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Source Number : 11
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NT 9047/20 (19834/54) 01-AUG-1971
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Source Number : 12
Source : Bastions and Belligerents: Medieval Strongholds in Northumberland
Source details :
Page(s) : 27-30
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Source Number : 13
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 749-50
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Source Number : 14
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 679-82
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Fort : the international journal of fortification and military architecture
Source details :
Page(s) : 83
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1977
Source Number : 16
Source : Fort : the international journal of fortification and military architecture
Source details :
Page(s) : 37-59
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Vol(s) : 25, 1997
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DS 10-MAY-67
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Source Number : 17
Source : Norham Castle, Northumberland: survey report; Archaeological Investigation Report Series AI/25/2002
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Source Number : 4
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : RCAHMS NMR Archive card
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Source Number : 4a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : xs/824-34/CN (J Dewar 7258/CN 1976)
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Source Number : 4b
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : xs/305 RCAMS AP 1976
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Source Number : 5
Source : County list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments : December 1987
Source details : Northumberland
Page(s) : 8
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Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Berwick Upon Tweed, 11-FEB-1988
Page(s) : 41
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Vol(s) : 1408
Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 25-May-94
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : English Heritage: Field Observation on Norham Castle (NT 94 NW 1)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Constructed 1121
Monument End Date : 1121
Monument Start Date : 1121
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : circa 1157
Monument End Date : 1167
Monument Start Date : 1147
Monument Type : Keep, Curtain Wall, Gatehouse, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 13th century
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : Curtain Wall, Great Hall, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Remodeled 1422-1425
Monument End Date : 1425
Monument Start Date : 1422
Monument Type : Keep, Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilding 1509-15
Monument End Date : 1515
Monument Start Date : 1509
Monument Type : Curtain Wall, Castle, Loopholed Wall, Casemate
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Late 18th - early 19th century
Monument End Date : 1832
Monument Start Date : 1767
Monument Type : Cottage Ornee
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 4
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 23229
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 237920
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 134
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northumberland)
External Cross Reference Number : 2207
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1020234
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1154811
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NT 94 NW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 918105
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1360801
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1360805
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1360807
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1360810
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1360813
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1237268
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NORHAM CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1923-01-01
End Date : 1925-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NT 94 NW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1967-05-10
End Date : 1967-05-10
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: NORHAM CASTLE SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-03-01
End Date : 2002-03-01
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: NORHAM CASTLE ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-03-01
End Date : 2002-03-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: TILL TWEED NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2003-03-27
End Date : 2003-09-29
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT NORHAM CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NORHAM CASTLE (FLODDEN 500)
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT NORHAM CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2013-01-01
End Date : 2015-12-31