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Harbottle Castle

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Title: Harbottle Castle  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Harbottle, Margaret Douglas, William the Hardy, Lord of Douglas, Castles in Northumberland, Grade I listed buildings in Northumberland
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Harbottle Castle

Harbottle Castle
Ruins of Harbottle Castle
Harbottle Castle is located in Northumberland
Harbottle Castle
Harbottle Castle
 Harbottle Castle shown within Northumberland
OS grid reference NT932048
List of places

Harbottle Castle is a ruined medieval castle situated at the west end of the village of Harbottle, Northumberland, England 9 miles (14 km) west-north-west of Rothbury overlooking the River Coquet. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building

It is thought that the mound on which the keep stands was a site used by the ancient Britons and that in Anglian times there was a stronghold on the site held by Mildred, son of Ackman. The present castle was built about 1160 by the Umfraville family at the request of King Henry II on land awarded to them following the Norman Conquest, presumably as a defence against the Scots.

Not long after its erection, in 1174, it was taken by the Scots and was then rebuilt more strongly. In 1296 it was besieged by Robert de Ros and some 40,000 men , but the siege was withstood. In the 1310s Robert the Bruce captured the castle. It was restored in 1336, but in ruins again by 1351. It was repaired at the end of the 14th century and in about 1436 the castle passed into the hands of the Tailleboys. It was for a long time the residence of the Warden of the Middle Marches and used as a prison.

Child's poem about the castle set in stone
A child's poem about the castle set in stone

In 1515 Margaret Tudor, the widowed queen of James IV of Scotland and sister of Henry VIII, having been banished by the regent, the Duke of Albany, came to the castle with her second husband, the Earl of Angus. While there a daughter was born, who was also called Margaret. Margaret was to become the mother of Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and grandmother of James VI of Scotland and I of England. Further building work took place between 1541 and 1551 and more repairs were made in 1563.

In 1605 Northumberland National Park Authority and entry to it is free.

Confusingly following the abandonment of the castle as a residence the name Harbottle Castle was reused:-

Harbottle Castle (grid reference NT93234796) is a 19th-century mansion house situate at the east end of Harbottle village.

Stone from the derelict medieval castle was used in the building of a 17th-century manor house. The manor was acquired by Percival Clennell in 1796 and in 1829 the house was replaced on the site with a two-storied five-bayed mansion designed by architect John Dobson for Fenwick Clennell. The house is protected with Grade II listed building status. The stable block was converted into a separate house in 1890.

Photos of castle ruins


  • The Gatehouse Gazetteer, Harbottle Castle
  • Images of Harbottle Castle
  • Structures of the North East
  • Listed Buildings in Harbottle
  • Harbottle Castle 1
  • Harbottle Castle 2
  • Fry, Plantagenet Somerset, The David & Charles Book of Castles, David & Charles, 1980. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3

External links

  • Photographs and Information from Strolling Guides
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