Pictures of Alnwick
Set magnificently in the heart of the beautiful northern countryside is the great castle that has dominated the life and times of Alnwick for centuries.
Alnwick Castle is a Border castle and has been the home of the Percy family since the year 1309. To-day, being the second largest inhabited castle in England, Alnwick is often called the Windsor of the North and welcomes visitors from all over England and Europe. There, was though a time in the Middle Ages when the Percy family held an uneasy position. As subjects of the English king, their position was to defend the border against the Scots but this did not always happen, if the occasion suited them they allied themselves with the Scottish Kings. It was during these turbulent times that the castle was ruined during the fighting and fell into a state of decay. Restoration work too place in the 14th-century when the castle was once more returned to it's position as foremost guardian of England's northern territory.
The romantic building that we see today is the result of centuries of extensive restoration and rebuilding as the Percy family strove to make the daunting castle conform to the standards of comfort and style dictated by each particular age. The two main periods of restoration were at the behest of the Ist Duke of Northumberland in the 18th-century when he employed the Architect, Robert Adam and more latterly in the 19th-century by the 4th Duke, who had Slavin as Architect. The interior of Alnwick is richly decorated in the Italian Renaissance style and contains some fabulous paintings by Canaletto, Titian and Van Dyke. Among the very fine furniture to be seen is the ornate ebony inlay cabinet that was made for Louis XIV for his apartment at the Palace of Versailles. After the French Revolution, the cabinet came into the hands of the 3rd Duke, who was Ambassador in Paris in 1825. The castle also houses some exquistite porcelain, silver and many other antiquities.
Interestingly, this magnificent castle was used as a location for scenes shot for Harry Potter and the Philosopheres Stone and one wonders, if this latter day event will at some point feature in the long and illustrious history of this ancient and most noble of Castles.
To the north of the town stand the remains of Alnwick Abbey which has a well preserved 14th-century gatehouse. The magnificent church of St. Michael has a battlemented tower and is said to have some of the finest 15th-century workmanship in the county. There are many fine monuments inside and the church also houses a carved Flemish chest that dates from the 14th-century. In 1816 the local tenant farmers erected what is called the Percy Tenantry Column, this was built in gratitude to the 2nd Duke of Northumberland for his understanding of their plight and reducing their rent at a time of depression.
This attractive town is well worth a visit, there is much to do, see and admire. It is enchantingly set amid fabulous scenery with the sparkling River Alne skirting the northern side of the town as it journey's to the sea-estuary at Alnmouth on the beautiful Northumberland Heritage Coast. This is a place in which you need to take time to explore and enjoy all that the town and surrounding countryside has to offer. It is an area of great charm and beauty which once visited, you will doubtless wish to return to once again.
For further information, please visit www.visitalnwick.org.uk
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