Dunstanburgh Castle

he construction of Dunstanburgh Castle was started in around 1313 by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. The castle is situated on rocky outcrops near the sea on the Northumbrian coast. The curtain wall of the castle still exist on the east and south sides of the castle. The north side is on the cliffs. The main gate-house is situated in the south-west corner of the enclosure. The gate-house consisted of two half-round towers and was converted into a keep. On the southern curtain wall, to the east of the gate-house are several towers. On the western curtain wall is the remains of a tall tower known as the Lilburn Tower.

The castle was held for the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses but in 1463/4 was captured by the Yorkists. The castle fell into disrepair and the stones were taken away to be used in local buildings.


Dunstanburgh Castle Key Facts
CountyNorthumberland (15 castles)
DirectionsAbout eight miles to the north-east of Alnwick. It is not possible to park near the castle. Take paths from either Embleton to the north of the castle or Craster to the south
CategoriesStone / Cliff-top
OwnershipBaronial castle
RemainsSmall amount survives
Access to siteOnly open at certain times


YearMonthEvent
1313   Construction of Dunstanburgh Castle
 Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, started the construction of a castle at Dunstanburgh on the Northumbrian coast. 
1462 Oct 25  Queen Margaret invades
 Queen Margaret landed near Bamburgh Castle on the Northumbrian coast with a small army. The main castles in the area, Alnwick, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh surrendered to the Queen.[1]

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
 Dec  Yorkists take back control of Northumbrian castles
 The Earl of Warwick was put in charge of capturing the castles from the Lancastrian garrisons. Edward had to stay at Durham to recover from a bout of the measles. The castles were not attacked but cut off from supplies to starve the soldiers out. Just before the new year the Lancastrian soldiers surrendered and the Yorkists took control of Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh Castles. Warwick used the castle at Warkworth as his base while he monitored the seiges at the other castles. The seige of Alnwick Castle continued into January.[2]

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
1463 Mar  Northumbrian castles fall to Lancastrians
 Sir Ralph Percy, the constable in charge of Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh castles, defected and allowed the Lancastrians to take control. Alnwick Castle fell to the Lancastrians shortly afterwards.

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
1464 Jun 23  Alnwick Castle Surrenders to Warwick
 After the Lancastrians were defeated at the Battle of Hexham their power in Northumberland was at an end. The Earl of Warwick accepted the surrender of Alnwick Castle on June 23rd. Dunstanburgh Castle surrendered shortly afterwards. The seige at Bamburgh Castle was brought to an end with the use of cannons, tthe first castle to fall in such a way.[2]

Episode: Wars of the Roses  

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