In the late 12th century, Scotland was arguably a greater power in the north of Britain than was Norman England. William the Lion, King of Scotland, had great ambitions to push his nation’s borders deep into Northumbria. In 1173 and again in 1174 he drove south, ravaged the northeast, and successfully assaulted many of its castles. The unassuming earthworks of Prudhoe’s first castle were the only stronghold in Northumberland which successfully defied the Scots. In 1175, Henry II of England rewarded Prudhoe by ordering the building of a more imposing stone castle here. Prudhoe’s square keep was one of the first great towers to be built in Northumberland. At the same time, or a little later, a gatehouse was added, along with stone curtain walls. Prudhoe was provided with a moat and drawbridge, two barbicans and a stronger gatehouse in the 13th century. A fine vaulted basement was built under the gatehouse, and a chapel was added on the first floor. The chapel had a beautiful oriel (bay) window that is thought to be one of the earliest of its kind in any English castle. In 1381 Prudhoe passed into the hands of the influential Percy family.
Facilities – at a glance
Assist dogs allowed
- Parking onsite
- Parking nearby
- Ground floor accessible via a ramp, steep steps to upper level house and chapel, grounds accessed on compacted gravel and smooth grass
- Facilities: Braille guide, large print guide exhibition room, site folders, parking (call in advance)
- Accessible toilets
- Opening Times: Open Apr-Sep, Wed-Sun 10-6 (last admission 30 minutes before closing). Please check website for current opening times
Also in the Area
About The area
If it’s history you’re after, there’s heaps of it in Northumberland. On Hadrian’s Wall you can imagine scarlet-cloaked Roman legionaries keeping watch for painted Pictish warriors while cursing the English weather and dreaming of home. Desolate battlefield sites and hulking fortresses such as Alnwick, Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh and Warkworth are reminders that this, until not so very long ago, was a contested border region. The ruins of Lindisfarne bear witness to the region’s early Christian history.
Northumberland also has some of Britain’s best beaches. On summer days, and even in winter, you’ll see surfers and other brave souls making the most of the coast. Inland, there are some great walks and bike rides in the dales of the Cheviot Hills and the Simonsides – just hilly enough to be interesting, without being brutally steep. There's dramatic scenery in the High Pennines, where waterfalls plunge into deep valleys, and there are swathes of heather-scented moorland. Northumberland National Park covers over 400 square miles of moorland and valleys with clear streams and pretty, stone-built villages. It’s just the place for wildlife watching too. You’ll find flocks of puffins, guillemots and other seabirds around the Farne Islands, and seals and dolphins offshore.
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