Warkworth Castle stands boldly above a wooded bend of the River Coquet. The first fortress here dates from around 1150 when Henry, son of the Scottish King David, built a simple 'motte and bailey" structure. By the 13th century, Warkworth had grown to be a noble castle. King Edward I spent a night there in 1292.
In 1327 it withstood two sieges by the Scots and in 1332 Edward III granted it to Henry de Percy. Subsequently, the Percies wintered at Warkworth and spent their summers at Alnwick.
A magnificent keep was built by Henry, 1st Earl of Northumberland at the end of the 14th century. He and is equally ambitious son, Harry Hotspur, helped to depose King Richard II in 1399 but turned against his successor, Henry IV, having at first supported him.
Shakespeare uses Warkworth Castle for the setting of the opening scene of Henry IV (Part II), referring to 'this worm-eaten hold of rugged stone, where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland, lies crafty, sick'.
Later Earls and Dukes of Northumberland neglected Warkworth in favour of Alnwick and the castle fell into disrepair and decay. In 1617 a visitor recorded finding 'nothing but goats and sheep in every chamber ... where they lie every night'. Today, however, it is lovingly preserved and much visited for its beauty.
Original size: 1071x768 |
Current: 800x574 |