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Prudhoe Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Prodhom

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ09166341
Latitude 54.9651° Longitude -1.8579°

Prudhoe Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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

Description

The shape of a figure of eight, the inner and outer baileys, now separated by a Georgian manor house built on the site of earlier residential buildings. Within the inner bailey, the most substantial building is C12 great tower. Originally two storeys high, extended in C14/C15 to provide a further level with turrets. Only the south west turret still exists. Adjacent to the great tower lie a range of C13 buildings. Towards the west of the inner bailey are two rounded towers, also dating from C13. The tower in the north west corner of the bailey is virtually intact, whereas only the base remains of the south west tower. Of several early buildings contained in the outer ward, C12 great hall foundations are visible and a C12 gatehouse with C13 chapel above survive.

Prudhoe Castle is a tower keep castle and comprises two baileys, or courtyards, with the keep and other buildings, a gatehouse, barbican and curtain wall, and outer defensive ditches. Built by the barons of Prudhoe, the Umfravilles, it commanded the middle stretch of the Tyne valley and controlled one of the principal north-south routes across the river, a ford, making it an obstacle to Scottish armies invading England. The castle stands on a natural hill protected by a river cliff and a steep-sided dene and would originally have had a timber palisade. The earliest parts of the gatehouse show that stone had begun to replace the timber defences by AD1100. The castle is a well preserved and typical example of a small, powerful Border castle of the tower keep variety. Its importance lies not only in the excellent preservation of its standing remains, in particular its curtain walls which largely survive to their full height, but also in a number of rare architectural details and wide range of ancillary features which survive both as upstanding and buried features within its two baileys. Equally important are its associations with the de Umfravilles and the Percys, two of the most important families in English medieval history. Archaeological investigations have been limited, but in 1974 excavations in the outer ward found medieval layers surviving just below present ground surface and confirmed the below ground preservation of structural remains of various building including a hall dating to the 13th or early 14th century (Keen 1976, 206-8; Pevsner 1992, 546). More recently, tree-ring analysis of the castle gates has dated them to the mid-15th century (Arnold et al 2002; Dower et al 2004). (Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated on Saturday, March 29, 2014

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