Warkworth Castle Castle Terrace, Warkworth, United Kingdom The magnificent cross-shaped keep of Warkworth, crowning a hilltop rising steeply above the River Coquet, dominates one of the largest, strongest and most impressive fortresses in Northumberland.The castle's most famous owners were the Percy family, whose lion badge can be seen carved on many parts of their stronghold. Wielding almost kingly power in the north, their influence reached its apogee under the first Earl of Northumberland and his son 'Harry Hotspur', hero of many Border ballads as the bane of Scots raiders and a dominant character in Shakespeare's 'Henry IV'.Having helped to depose Richard II, these turbulent 'kingmakers' both fell victim to Henry IV: the next three Percy Earls likewise died violent deaths. Still roofed and almost complete, the uniquely-planned keep dates mainly from the end of the 14th century.It presides over the extensive remains of a great hall, chapel, fine gatehouse and a virtually intact circuit of towered walls.Half a mile from the castle, tucked away by the Coquet and accessibly only by boat, stands a much more peaceful building: the late medieval cave Hermitage and chapel of a solitary holy man.The ruins of Warkworth Castle dominate the hilltop as the owners, the powerful Percy family, land barons of Northumberland, once did. Warkworth Castle, situated by the town of Warkworth on the River Coquet in view of Northumberland’s eastern coastline, started its life in 1150 as an earth mound enclosure.The stone castle took shape over the centuries, and in 1332 it ended up in the hands of the influential Percys, becoming one of their chief baronial castles.Stepping through the 13th century gatehouse is a journey through a time portal. The ravaged ruins speak of the now invisible and silent inhabitants and their way of life—guardrooms with no fireplaces, an outer bailey surrounded by towers, the domestic quarters standing at the heart of the castle. Imagine the chapel with its silver candlesticks, the solar with its fire burning, the stables full of horses, the hall hung with tapestries, the bakery and the brewery with their distinctive and pungent scents. www.britainexpress.com Some aerial footage of Warkworth Castle, Northumberland. closed for the winter but not from the air.
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