Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle - Bebbanburgh - Medieval Castles - Medieval History - Middle Ages HistoryTowering 150 feet above the northeast coastline of England, the castle of Bamburgh sits as a formidable defense, a testament to the once great glory of the Northumbrian kingdom. The first written reference to the castle is around 547 AD, when the Anglo-Saxon ruler Ida of Bernicia established the castle as his royal stronghold. The site would, throughout the centuries, be a witness to bloody battles, rebellions, and legends.

In 607, Ida’s grandson, Aethelfrith, took control of the castle. Bede, the famous monk and English historian, described Aethelfrith as a ravening wolf. Aethelfrith later gives the castle to his wife Bebba, where the castle earned its name of Bebbanburgh, or Bamburgh, as it is called today.

In the year 993, an invading force of Norsemen attack and pillage the stronghold, in similar fashion to their attacks on Lindisfarne centuries earlier. Their attacks weaken the capital, and afterwards, the castle falls into disrepair.

During the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror takes control of Bamburgh and appoints his own men to rule the castle. Bamburgh becomes a launching point for William’s later invasions into Scotland. In the late 11th century, William’s son, Rufus, must put down a rebellion led by the Earl of Northumbria, Robert de Mowbray.

In the later middle ages, during the Wars of the Roses, Bamburgh is besieged and destroyed by cannon fire, making it the first castle in English history to be destroyed by gunpowder.

Of the castle construction itself, the keep is the oldest surviving portion of the castle. Built around 1164, the walls are approximately three to four meters thick. Its doorway is large enough for men on horseback to enter without dismounting. The well, which is now enclosed by the keep, dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.

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Image source: Michael Hanselmann, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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My life has been pretty simple. I grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor's in Advertising. I have spent about the last ten years in web development. In 1998, a friend of mine and I started a web design company we ran for three or four years before deciding to close it due to the demands of school. Since then, I stayed in the web working with various companies in Alabama. I worked for a brief period with Southern Progress, namely with Southern Living magazine and Health magazine, in their web departments. While there, I also wrote for Southern Living magazine,, and the company's internal newsletter. I write as much as I can. For the last five years, I have been working on my first novel. I am on the third revision now and hope to be finished with this draft by the end of the year. I also write short fiction, though not as frequently as I used to due to the time I spend on the novel. My goal is to have my novel published in the next three years. Other interests include: History (particularly medieval and ancient civlizations), Reading, Foreign Language (I currently speak Spanish but plan to learn as many as I can), Landscape Photography, the outdoors, sports (especially college football), and Travel.

2 thoughts on “Bamburgh Castle”

  1. it’s on my list to visit for sure. It looks to me, from the photos, to be extremely well preserved. Doesn’t a family technically still live on the premises?

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