Keys to the Past

Norham Castle (Norham)

Norham Castle (Copyright © Don Brownlow)
Norham Castle (Copyright © Don Brownlow)

Norham Castle from the air. Copyright Tim Gates, 2003.
Norham Castle from the air. Copyright Tim Gates, 2003.

Norham Castle was built in the early 12th century by the Archbishop of Durham. It stands on the south bank of the River Tweed. The castle has three enclosures or wards, each surrounded by an earthwork. The inner ward is the earliest. A large stone keep was built within it in 1174. The surrounding wall was often rebuilt and the current wall dates to the 16th century. Many other buildings in the castle also date to this period, though the keep was rebuilt in the 15th century. The surrounding wards contain further buildings, but did not have complete walls. Several stone bastions were built, as well as defended stone gatehouses. Some of these were rebuilt in the 16th century. The castle was built to defend the area against raids from Scotland, was besieged by Scottish armies several times in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was redefended during the relatively peaceful 15th century, though it was besieged during the Wars of the Roses. In 1513 it was besieged and attacked with canons by a Scottish army under James IV. As the area became more peaceful in the 16th century the castle began to fall into disrepair. Recent work has suggested that earthworks on the south side of the castle may be part of an earlier fortification, perhaps an Iron Age promontory fort. This is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Monument protected by law.

Reference number:N2207
Historical period: Post Medieval (1540 to 1901)
Medieval (1066 to 1540)
Iron Age (800BC to 43AD)
Legal status:Conservation area
Listed Building
Scheduled Ancient Monument
Event(s):FIELD OBSERVATION, Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigation 1967; D Smith
MEASURED SURVEY, Norham Castle, Northumberland. Survey Report 2002; English Heritage
TRIAL TRENCH, Evaluation of a possible prehistoric earthwork at Norham Castle 2005; Archaeological Research Services
TOPOGRAPHIC SURVEY, Flodden 500 - Norham Castle 2012; GUARD
GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY, Flodden 500 - Norham Castle 2012; GUARD
WATCHING BRIEF, Norham Castle 2012; Archaeological Services Durham University
TRIAL TRENCH, Trial trenching at Norham Castle as part of the Flodden 500 Project 2015; The Archaeological Practice

See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Norham

Disclaimer -

Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.