The gatehouse of Morpeth Castle
(the only intact remnants)
Morpeth Castle shown within Northumberland
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The original motte and bailey dating from the 11th century was built on a hill overlooking the River Wansbeck and destroyed by King John in 1216. A new castle was built in the bailey of the original in the 1340s, but little of that structure survives apart from parts of the curtain wall and the much-altered gatehouse. In 1516 Margaret, sister of Henry VIII and widow of James IV of Scotland, stayed for four months in Morpeth Castle as she fled from her enemies in Scotland and sought refuge with her brother. The one great military event in the castle’s history was in 1644 when a garrison of 500 Lowland Scots held it for Parliament for 20 days against 2,700 Royalists.
The castle was held by and passed by the female line through several illustrious families; de Merlay, Greystoke, Dacre and Howard, none of whom resided there for any long period. In about 1858, the gatehouse was restored and converted to provide a staff residence.
Lordship of the Manor
The Lordship of the Manor of Morpeth Castle was re-created separately at some point. The current Lord of the Manor of Morpeth Castle, Camilo Agasim-Pereira of Fulwood & Dirleton, Baron of Fulwood & Dirleton, became the Lord of the Manor in 1999. It is unlikely that he would have inherited the lordship, but that would not prevent the separation of the ownership of the lordship from the castle proper being the subject of a perfectly legal conveyance.
In 1946, the castle was acquired by the Borough of Morpeth, but stood empty and neglected till 1960. At this time it was rented by builder Billy Bell, who refurbished it: building on a kitchen and swimming pool. He also looked after the gardens and for a period it was used as a family home for his large family. The next occupiers (the trust) returned the property to its former style, losing the kitchen and pool. It lost its family-home style and became just another rented property for weekenders when in 1988, it was sold to the Landmark Trust, which carried out refurbishments to the property in order to offer the gatehouse to let as holiday accommodation.
- "The Landmark Trust website". Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- The David and Charles Book of Castles Plantagenet Somerset Fry 1980 ISBN 0-7153-7976-3
- Images of Morpeth Castle