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Alnwick Castle

Hob Uid: 7152
Location :
Northumberland
Alnwick
Grid Ref : NU1871013570
Summary : Medieval motte and bailey replaced by a stone built castle in the first half of the 12th century. It was heavily fortified in the 14th century when the keep was strengthened but ruinous by the 18th century, when it was restored and extended as a gothic style country house by Robert Adam and others. Further alterations were carried out in the second half of the 19th century under Anthony Salvin for the 4th Duke of Northumberland.
More information : (NU 18711357) Alnwick Castle (NR) (1)

See attached pamphlet. (2)

Published earthworks (25") revised. (3)

There is a belvedere at Alnwick Castle - Robert Adam's prospect tower (Brizlee Tower). (4)

Main events in the Castle's history listed by Cathcart King. (5)

The seat of the Percy family since Norman times. During the first half of the 12th century a stone keep was erected on the motte, and stone curtain walls round the baileys replaced the original timber structures. In the 14th century the Keep was strengthened by the addition of semi -circular towers. The castle remained unchanged for 400 years. In the 18th century the keep of the decaying castle was turned into a comfortable pseudo-Gothic mansion by Robert Adams and others. In the second half of the 19th century the 4th Duke of Northumberland began another major reconstruction, when, under Anthony Salvin , the present palatial apartments were created. (6)

Alnwick Castle has work of every period on the line of the original motte and bailey plan. By 1138 a strong stone built border castle with a shell keep in place of the motte, formed the nucleus of the present castle with 2 baileys enclosing about 7 acres. The curtain walls and their square towers rest on early foundations and the inner gatehouse has round-headed arches with heavy chevron decoration. The Castle was greatly fortified after its purchase by Henry de Percy 1309 - the Barbican and Gatehouse, the semi-circular towers of the shell keep, the octagonal towers
of the inner gateway and the strong towers of the curtain wall date from the early to mid C14. Ruinous by the C18, the 1st Duke had it rehabilitated and extended by James Prince and Robert Adam, the latter being mainly concerned with the interior decoration, very little of which remains except for fireplaces in the Housekeeper's and the Steward's Rooms and for inside the present Estates Office range. Capability Brown landscaped the grounds, filling in the former moat (formed by Bow Burn).

The 4th Duke employed Anthony Salvin 1854-65 at the cost of £1/4 million to remove Adam's fanciful Gothic decoration, to restore a serious Gothic air to the exterior and to redesign the state rooms in an imposing grand Italian manner. The Castle is approached from Bailliff gate through the crenellated Barbican and Gatehouse (early C14): lion rampant (replica) over archway, projecting square side towers with corbelled upper parts, fortified passage over dry moat to vaulted gateway flanked by polygonal towers. Stone figures on crenellations here, on Aveners Tower, on Record Tower and on Inner Gateway were carved circa 1750-70 by Johnson of Stamfordham and probably reflect an earlier similar arrangement.

In the Outer Bailey to the, north are the West Garrett (partly Norman), the Abbott's Tower (circa 1350) with a rib vaulted basement, and the Falconer's Tower (1856). To the south are the Aveners Tower [C18], the Clock Tower leading into the Stable Yard, the C18 office block, the Auditor's Tower (early Clk) and the Middle Gateway (circa 1309-15) leading to the Middle Bailey. The most prominent feature of the Castle on the west side is the very large Prudhoe Tower by Salvin and the polygonal apse of the chapel near to it.

In the Middle Bailey, to the south are the Warders Tower (1856) with the lion gateway leading by a bridge to the grand stairs into the walled garden, the East Garrett and the Record Tower (C14, rebuilt 1885). In the curtain wall to the north are 2 blocked windows probably from an early C17 building now destroyed and the 'Bloody Gap', a piece of later walling possibly replacing a lost truer; next a small C14 watch tower (Hotspur's Seat); next the Constable's Tower, early C14 and unaltered with a gabled staircase turret; close by is the Postern Tower, early C14, also
unaltered.'To the north-west of the Postern Tower is a large terrace made in the C18, rebuilt 1864-65, with some old cannon on it.

The Keep is entered from the Octagon Towers (circa 1350) which have 13 heraldic shields below the parapet, besides the agotrop3ic figures, and a vaulted passage expanded from the Norman gateway (fragments of chevron on former outer arch are visible inside). The present arrangement of the inner ward is largely Salvin's work with a covered entrance with a projecting storey and lamp-bracket at the rearof the Prudhoe Tower and a corbelled corridor at 1st floor level on the east. Mediaeval draw well on the east wall, next to the original doorway to the keep, now a recess The keep, like the curtain walls, is largely mediaeval except for some C18 work on the interior on the west and for the Prudhoe Tower and the Chapel. The interior contrasts with the rugged mediaeval exterior with its sumptuous Renaissance decoration, largely by Italians - Montiroli, Nucci, Strazza, Mantavani and inspired from Italian sources. The chapel with its family gallery at the east end has 4 short rib vaulted bays and a shallow 3-light apse; side walls have mosaics, covered now with tapestry. The grand staircase With its groin vaulted ceiling leads to the Guard Chamber from which an ante-room leads west into the Library (in the Prudhoe Tower) and east into the Music Room (fireplace with Dacian captives by Nucci). Further on are the Red Drawing Room (caryatid fireplace by Nucci) and the Dining Room (ceiling design copied from St Lorenzo f.l.m. in Rome and fireplace with bacchante by Strazza and faun by Nucci).

South of the Middle Gateway are Salvin's impressive Kitchen quarters where the oven was designed to burn a ton of coal per day. West of the Stable Courtyard, with C19 Guest Hall at the south end, is the C19 covered riding school, with stable to north of it, and with its west wall forming the east side of Narrowgate. The corner with Bailliffgate has an obtuse angled tower of 2 storeys, with a depressed ogee headed doorway from the street, and merlons. (7)

History of the castle. (8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" (Prov) 1921-38
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Alnwick Castle, Official Guide (undated)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 BHP 28-JAN-70
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Symes, Michael, 1993. A Glossary of Garden History (19)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
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) : 325
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Feb-83
Source Number : 6
Source : Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 181
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1988
Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Alnwick 20-Feb-1952
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Bastions and Belligerents: Medieval Strongholds in Northumberland
Source details :
Page(s) : 115-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Constructed circa 1140
Monument End Date : 1150
Monument Start Date : 1130
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant 1136-1318
Monument End Date : 1318
Monument Start Date : 1136
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Largely rebuilt 1318-52
Monument End Date : 1352
Monument Start Date : 1318
Monument Type : Curtain Wall, Gatehouse, Interval Tower, Angle Tower, Shell Keep, Barbican, Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : C18 restoration and extensions
Monument End Date : 1799
Monument Start Date : 1700
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : C19 construction
Monument End Date : 1899
Monument Start Date : 1800
Monument Type : Riding School, Stable
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Additions of 1854-65
Monument End Date : 1865
Monument Start Date : 1854
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 79103
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 235592
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NU 11 SE 21
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 7189
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1095530
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, GATEHOUSE, ALNWICK CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1902-01-01
End Date : 1902-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NU 11 SE 21
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1970-01-28
End Date : 1970-01-28
Associated Activities : Primary, ALNWICK CASTLE GARDENS
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ALNWICK CASTLE CAR PARK
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT ALNWICK CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ALNWICK CASTLE ESTATE OFFICES
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2016-01-01
End Date : 2017-12-31