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Dunstanburgh, Northumberland

Historical Description

Dunstanburgh, a ruined ancient castle in Northumberland, on the coast, 2 miles ESE of Embleton, and 7 NE of Alnwick. It probably occupies the site of an ancient British fort, and it was built in 1315 by the Earl of Lancaster, and much demolished after the battle of Hexham by the Yorkists. The coast scenery around it is grandly impressive, and parts of the coast immediately adjacent to it have been much torn and denudated by the action of the sea. A gulley or passage in the rock directly below it, about 180 feet long and 540 feet deep, is sometimes tremendously swept by the waves. The rock at the castle's foundations is sandstone, but a mass of basalt underlies this, and a columnar formation of finer character than that of the Giant's Causeway lies round the base of one of the towers. The ruins, viewed in connection with their site and environments, present a stupendous appearance. Two entrance towers, jointly forming a keep, have square turrets corbelled on the summit, are singularly large, and have no equal among the ancient round towers of the kingdom except the Eagle Tower of Carnarvon. The barmekin or court for cattle also is very large. A square tower with bartisans is at the south-east corner, and the doorways are of the same form as those of Carnarvon. " A parapet's embattled row Did seaward round the castle go, Its varying circle did combine Bulwark and Partisan and line, And bastion, tower, and vantage coign; Above the booming ocean leant The far-projecting battlement; The steepy rock and frantic tide Approach of human step denied."

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.


Newspapers and Periodicals

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