Warkworth Castle, Northumberland

Occupying a position close to the River Coquet in Northumberland, Warkworth Castle originated as a mid 12th century motte castle. However, in the 13th century a new castle was begun with the construction of a gatehouse. Located at the centre of the south curtain wall, the gatehouse has survived with an archway and semi-octagonal projections on either side, although it does not stand to full height.

The keep, situated at the northern most point of Warkworth Castle, was built as a single unit in one continuous period during the late 14th century, whereas the outer bailey was developed over the centuries as fashions and requirements changed. Quite unusually, the outer bailey at Warkworth Castle was created over the site of the first castle. With the curtain wall being roughly triangular in plan, it gives the appearance of an irregular but compact castle design.

Carrickfergus Tower on the western side of the gatehouse is a semi-octagonal structure, whereas the 15th century Montague Tower to the east, is more square. Within the outer bailey, various foundations and existing wall sections indicate the location of the domestic quarters from the original castle including a chapel, next to the gatehouse, a solar, and a hall along the west curtain wall. The ornately decorated Lion Tower provided an entrance to the hall, and access from the hall to the Collegiate Church. However, the church was never completed but the foundations have survived in situ.

Rising to a height of three storeys, the polygonal keep with its tall central watchtower appears impressive from any angle, and even today tends to dominate the sight. Many of the principal buildings contained within Warkworth Castle have survived remarkably well, but even where others have not withstood the test of time to such a degree, the foundations provide a good impression of the layout.

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