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St. Andrews Church


in the county of Lancashire

Pictures of Dunstanburgh Castle

a Castle in the town of Craster, in the county of Northumberland

About Dunstanburgh Castle

The romantic remains of this once extensive castle stand high on a cliff above the waters of the North Sea. The castle was begun in 1313 by the Earl of Lancaster, and was later enlarged by John of Gaunt. It was protected by thick defensive high walls, even on the seaward side, and it covered a massive 11 acres.

During his tenure of the castle John of Gaunt made considerable alterations, he added a second gate-house and made the already spacious living accommodation even more splendid. He also strengthened the castle so that it provided a place of safety, not just for himself and his court, but also for local people who feared invasion from the Scots.

The castle passed to Henry Bolinbroke, John of Gaunts son, who inherited in 1399 and when he took the throne and was crowned Henry IV, Dunstanburgh became a Royal castle. It became a Lancastrian stronghold during the Wars of the Roses. When it fell in 1462, Sir Ralph Percy surrendered it and took the oath of allegiance to Edward IV. Months later he broke the oath and Dunstanburgh went back into Lancastrian hands. Percy was defeated at the Battle of Hexham in 1664 and the castle finally belonged to the Yorkists.

Dunstanburgh by this time was in poor repair, and in spite of interest by several successive monarchs, none took it on and the castle gradually became a ruin.

The castle stands in a breathtaking spot with dramatic north sea and coastal views. The fact that it stands in a lonely, isolated hill-top position adds to its enchantment but it does mean access is limited to those on foot. However, it is an evocative place and well worth the trek.

Craster, the nearest fishing village to Dunstanburgh is a true delight. It is famous for Kippers and has a lovely harbour

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Approaching Dunstanburgh Castle from Craster

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