Warkworth Castle, History, Part the First

So, I’ve been asked to give a bit of a history of the castles we visited in England, so this is a bit of a start.

The book I’m taking my information from is listed at the end, if you’re interested.  I also recommend if you want a more thorough exploration of the castle, that you look it up both online & at your local library.

Warkworth Castle, History

  •  Castle was probably founded around 1200AD
  • Warkworth was the favoured domicile of the Percy family during the 14th, 15th, 16th, & 17th Centuries

The Lands During Anglo-Saxon & Norman Occupation

  • 737CE – King Ceolwulf of Northumbria resigned his crown to join a monastery, & bestowed his land (including Warkworth, which was at the time called ‘Werceworde’) to the monastery
  • 867CE – the last King of Northumbria (Osbert), who had seized Warkworth from the monastery some time before, was killed leaving the land to the subsequent Earls Northumbria, who kept the land until after the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Foundation of the Castle

  • 12th Century is the first mention of a place actually called “Warkworth Castle”
    • Sometime between 1157 & 1164CE, Henry II granted the castle & manor of Warkworth to Roger fitz Eustace
    • There are a few speculations here:
      • Castle may have been built ~ 20 years prior by Henry, son of David I, of Scotland, who was made the Earl of Northumberland by the Treaty of Durham in 1139CE
      • Castle may have been built in 1150s to consolidate Henry II’s repossession of Northumberland in 1157
      • The charter may have just called the ancient residence which was already on the land at the centre of the manor a ‘castle’

Roger Fitz Eustace

  • made no attempt to defend the castle in 1173CE, when William the Lion (King of Scotland) attacked, ostensibly because the fortifications were so ‘feeble’
  • in 1174, the Earl of Fife, allegedly massacred the population of Warkworth, including everyone who took sanctuary in the church

Robert Fitz Roger & His Descendants

  • Roger Fitz Eustace’s son, Robert Fitz Roger, didn’t do anything with Warkworth until the year 1199, when Roger purchased royal confirmation of his ownership
  • The present castle may have been mostly built by Robert between the years 1199 and 1214
  • Robert’s son John may have then finished the castle, but he died when his own son was quite young
  • 1249CE – John’s son Roger was too young to take control of the castle, so he and the estate were committed to the custody of William de Valence, King Henry II’s half-brother

The Anglo-Scottish Wars

…  I’ll go into this tomorrow.  ;-)   Think of it as a cliffhanger, if you like.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


The book:  “Warkworth Castle and Hermitage” by John Goodall, Copyright 2006, ISBN 978 1 85074 923 3


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