UK Genealogy Archives logo
DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission.

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Historical Description

Alnwick Castle, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, situated on an eminence on the south side of the Alne, is a most imposing pile. It retains some vestiges of Norman architecture, part of the original castle; and after having passed almost to ruin by the shocks of war and the wear of time, it was reconstructed and embellished in 1750 to 1766. The Prudhoe tower was built in 1854, and in the ten years from that date the castle underwent extensive renovations, after designs by Mr. Salvin of London and the Commendatore Montiroli of Rome. It consists mainly of freestone or moorstone, covers or encloses about five acres, is disposed in three courts, exhibits sixteen towers and turrets, and is altogether a most noble and magnificent specimen of a great baronial seat. The grand staircase forms the approach to the vestibule, the frieze of which is filled with illustrations of the ballad of Clievy Chase. Satin damask hangings line the walls of the domestic apartments. The drawing-rooms have a ceiling of carved wood, gilt and coloured. The dining-room, 60 feet by 24, stands on the site of the old banqueting-hall. The high-roofed chapel, Early Englisn, has a stone vault and an apsidal west end, and is furnished with marbles and mosaics from Rome. In the state apartments are exquisite carvings; copies, by Nucci, of slaves from Constantine's Arch and the Greek Canephora, and coloured friezes by Mantovani; inlaid wood, pure white marbles, and carved walnut panels contribute to the magnificence of these rooms. A vaulted kitchen has been built on the SE side. The octagonal Donjon tower contains a square dungeon, 11 feet by 9. The grounds connected with the castle lie along both sides of the Aine, are upwards of 5 miles long, exhibit great wealth and variety of both natural and artificial beauty, and contain the remains of Alnwick and Hulne abbeys, a picturesque cross on the spot where King Malcolm of Scotland fell, a monument on the spot where William the Lion was taken prisoner, and the tower of Brislee, 66 feet high, erected in 1762, and commanding a superb and extensive view. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Durham; value, £318 with residence. The church of St Paul's is a vicarage; value, £339, in the patronage of the Duke of Northumberland. The parish comprises 16,749 acres; population of the civil parish, 7428; of the ecclesiastical-St Michael, 3405, and St Paul, 3948.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Northumberland is available to browse.


Online maps of Alnwick Castle are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers related to Northumberland online:

RegionNorth East
Postal districtNE66
Post TownAlnwick