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David Ford, History EditorTours > Coquetdale > Edlingham Castle

Edlingham Castle
Five miles south-west of Alnwick

Edlingham Castle This castle has a fine setting deep in the valley of the Edlingham Burn. It was originally built as a moated manor-house around 1250, but King Edward I's interference in the Scottish Wars of Succession meant that Northumberland lords needed to consider fortification. Sir William De Felton therefore added a strong palisade and a large gatehouse around 1296.

The gateway and original hall-house are easily identifiable today on either side of a stony courtyard, but it is the vast solar tower which dominates the castle ruins. The date seems a little controversial: 1340 or 1415? At any rate, it clearly shows an increased need for comfort and a desire for wealthy display, as well as strong defensive considerations. There is delicate ribbed vaulting, window seats and a glorious fireplace.

After 1514, the castle was purchased the Swinburnes who mostly let it to tenant farmers. They were accused of hiding Jesuit priests here in 1581, but a thorough search found nothing. Two of the last inhabitants were witnesses at the famous Margaret Stothard witch-trial, but the place appears to have been in ruins by the end of the 17th century.

The site is run by English Heritage. Free access at any reasonable time.

Next Stop: Brinkburn Priory

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