[Monday - 05/03/99] Alnwick (pronounced "Annick") is the second of two possible sites for Lancelot's castle of Joyous Garde and sets on the River Aln just a little further down the windswept coast of Northumberland from Bamburgh Castle. Still the home of the Dukes of Northumberland, the Castle is meticulously maintained and may be the most impressive interiors I've ever seen in an English Castle. While this may spoil the Arthurian element of the interior for our purposes, it was still dazzling! Outside, the battlements are adorned with life-sized, stone sentinels who still prove daunting.
The present castle dates from the eleventh century but, like its northern neighbor, Bamburgh, it was first settled by the Angles around the middle of the sixth century. It was Norman Gilbert Tyson (de Tesson), William the Conqueror's standard-bearer, who first fortified the current site in the 11th c. In 1093, the king of Scotland, Malcolm Canmore, was killed just a mile away from the castle by Robert Mowbray, the Earl of Northumberland. Two years later, Tyson joined Mowbray's unsuccessful rebellion against the English king, William Rufus, and was forced to give up his possessions at Alnwick in 1096 to Yvo de Vescy, who started the first major building program at the site.
Vescy's son-in-law, Eustace Fitzjohn, was created Baron of Alnwick and sided with the Empress Matilda in her attempt to gain the monarchy from Stephen. In 1138, Fitzjohn made peace with Stephen, regained his property at Alnwick, and completed the Castle's construction, which was much the same design as we see today.
From the mid-17th century until the 18th century, the Earls of Northumberland abandoned their castle at Alnwick, and the castle severely decayed. Sir Hugh Smithson became the 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1766, and was responsible for the castle's restoration, which began in about 1755, and included the birth of the fantastic interiors.
Last modified on Wednesday, November 26. 2008|
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