Castle In Ford And Etal, Northumberland
A ruined medieval castle built around 1341 by Robert Manners.
Based up in Etal is this ruined medieval fortification. Built around 1341 by Robert Manners, it comprised a residential tower, a gatehouse and a corner tower, protected by a curtain wall.
As always we like to provide some history and here are the deets from our unlicensed historian, Sandra!
Etal Castle was built around 1341 by Robert Manners and later fortified in order to defend the location against the Scots in the Anglo-Scottish border wars. In a survey of 1355, the castle was described as a 'fortalice', or a weakly defended location, but by 1368 it became a fully fledged castle.
Around 1402, the castle passed down to John Manners who was involved in a long standing dispute with the Heron family (who owned neighbouring Ford Castle). In 1428, a fight between the two sides broke out near the castle, and William Heron was killed. William's wife blamed John's eldest son for William's death, and John eventually agreed to pay for 500 masses for William's soul, and paid 250 'marks' to his widow.
In August 1513, King James IV invaded England with a large army. He quickly reduced the key border stronghold castles at Norham and Wark, and Etal was a much weaker structure and soon surrendered. However, a month later in September 1513, the Scots were crushingly defeated in the Battle of Flodden and Etal was reclaimed by the English. It was used to securely store the captured Scottish artillery.
In 1549 during increased border tensions associated with the 'Rough Wooing', the castle was neglected, no longer lived in by the Manners family and starved of funding by the Crown. It passed to various owners, but was abandoned in 1748 and left to ruin.
The site is now managed by English Heritage and there is an exhibition in the old chapel within the castle grounds, which has an outstanding amount of history about the castle. A lot of it centres around the Battle of Flodden, which was fought just 2.5 miles away to the South West of the castle. There is a small entrance fee for non members.
While you are here, why not enjoy a leisurely walk alongside the River Till or take a trip on the nearby Heatherslaw Light Railway.
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There is a dedicated car park right next to the castle.
Contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
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