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Chillingham Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Chevelyngham; Chelynggam; Chauelingham; Chevelingham

In the civil parish of Chillingham.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NU06152579
Latitude 55.52585° Longitude -1.90424°

Chillingham Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

Castle. C14 with C17, C18 and C19 alterations. John Patterson and Sir Jeffrey Wyatville did work in early C19. Mostly dressed stone. Quadrilateral with 4 corner towers and linking ranges. Central courtyard. Late C19 service wing to left. Entrance front has 3-bay centre which is of basement and 3 storeys, flanked by higher towers with still higher turrets. Steps to projecting early Cl7 centre piece with paired Tuscan columns on all 3 floors, framing, on ground floor, round- headed doorway with moulded imposts, arch; and responds, and on 1st and 2nd floors, 2 renewed cross windows with another Tuscan column between them. Renewed cross windows left and right of centrepiece on 2 upper floors. Slit windows on ground floor. Frieze and cornice above each floor, blank arches on first two friezes, lozenges above 2nd floor. Achievement of arms above top window;and 4 beasts with shields stand in frontof embattled parapet. Sashes under hoodmould in towers. In courtyard, early C17 two-storey addition; possibly rebuilt open arcade on ground floor of segmental arches on square piers with small attached Ionic columns. 6 statues of Worthies on corbels above the piers: Staircase to 1st floor. Balcony on 2nd floor.
Interior: Tunnel-vaulted basements to towers and ranges. Newel stairs in towers. Early C17 ceiling with pendants, two elaborate C17 overmantel and a fine early C18 white marble fireplace with satyr heads. Interior in poor repair. (Listed Building Report)

A manor house had been built at Chillingham before mid 13c and transformed into a castle in 1344-8; existing buildings preserve the general character though with many alterations and additions. The plan is a rectangle, the buildings being grouped around the four sides of an open courtyard, their outer sides forming a curtain wall, with a square tower at each corner of the structure. The castle was besieged and damaged by rebels during the Pilgrimage of Grace (1536-7). Major alterations were made at the beginning of the 17c when a walled forecourt was built on the N side and further alterations occurred c 1753 and 19c. (St Joseph 1950; Hunter Blair 1938)
The manor House was probably built by Robert de Muschamp III who died AD 125, in 1344 licence to strengthen it with a stone wall, to crennellate it and to make it into a castle, was granted. Certain parts of the masonry in the curtain walls and lower parts of the towers are probably of this date (Dodds 1935).
The castle is situated upon a NW-facing slope, with higher ground to the S, a ravine to the E, with higher ground beyond, and gentle slopes to the N and W, covered by extensive ornamental grounds. The castle is composed of a rectangle of buildings with four massive corner towers, as described in T2, mostly 14th-16th century work, but the N front, with the exception of the NE tower and part of the NW tower is of 17th century work. A range of domestic buildings grouped along the E face, are of 19th century work, but they are castellated and of pseudo-Norman design. The S face appears to be in its original state, though casement windows have been inserted in recent years. On each side of the drive before the main N entrance are two walls splayed outwards, castellated and probably of 19th century date. They replace the forecourt of the 17th century (F1 ASP 30-NOV-55)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1344 Jan 27 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated on Friday, November 14, 2014

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