Prudhoe, Northumberland, England
Prudhoe Castle is set on a high ridge over looking the River Tyne in the town of Prudhoe, 13 miles west of Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England.
The ruins of the castle are reached by a pathway over a tree covered hill and are enclosed by a moat and a curtain wall. The site is also flanked by a watermill and mill pond.
Entry to the site is firstly via a barbican and then a gatehouse which opens out into an outer bailey. The outer bailey houses the remains of buildings such as the Great Hall and the Manor House. Enclosed within the castle’s inner bailey are the remains of the square keep with walls of 10 feet thick.
The castle is open to visitors from Thursday to Monday between 10am and 5pm from April until September.
The Prudhoe Castle experience includes a family friendly exhibition including items found within the site and detailed descriptions of the castle’s remains. The Manor House is also where visitors can visit the castle gift shop.
The first castle on the site was from the 11th century and was built as a Norman motte and bailey castle. The Baron of Prudhoe, Robert d’Umfraville, took over the castle following the Norman Conquest and in time replaced the wooden structures with more substantial stone ones and added a curtain wall and gatehouse.
In 1173 there was an unsuccessful attempt to take the castle by the Scots. Following the attempt the current Baron, Odinel Umfraville, not only increased the castle’s garrison, but also improved the defenses by adding a strong keep causing the Scots to fail twice more in their attempts at a siege.
Through marriage the castle passed into the Percy family, Dukes of Northumberland, and in 1398 they added a new ‘great hall’. The family lost and then gained the castle again during the Wars of the Roses, and finally restored and rented it out until the 1660’s when it was left abandoned.
It was not until 1808 that the Percy’s started to carry out repairs and improvements to the castle; demolishing old buildings and building a Georgian mansion house adjoining the keep.
In 1966 English Heritage took over the running of the site although the castle still remains the property of the Duke of Northumberland.
Other Castles in the Area
Aydon Castle, Northumberland
Belsay Castle, Northumberland
Lumley Castle, Co. Durham
Newcastle Castle Keep, Tyne and Wear