Norham Castle – Border Fortress with a Turbulent History

Enough of Norham Castle remains today to make you wonder why this huge fortress was built in this quiet and almost hidden spot near the River Tweed.

Located midway between Berwick and Coldstream, Norham guarded an important ford across the river. However the peace you will find their belies its violent past. Building started in the early 12th century and throughout medieval times concerns about invasion of England from Scotland were justified. The castle was beseiged at least 13 times over the centuries and eventually by King James IV of Scotland in 1513 just before his defeat at the battle of Flodden.

Much of the castle lies in ruins today but its bombardment – from the Scottish side – by huge cannon hurling gunstones did much damage. The 22 inch calibre Mons Meg – now to be seen in Edinburgh Castle did some of this work. (Called Mons – because that is where it was made).

A significant event in Scottish history took place at Norham in 1291 when English King Edward I (Longshanks) arbitrated between 13 competitors for the Scottish throne (won by John Balliol).

The castle fell into decay sfter the union of Scotland and England in 1605.

The site is managed by English Heritage and you can park your car there and entrance is free.

Norham Castle postcode: TD15 2JY 

Within easy reach of Apple Pie Cottage (holiday rental) Chatton, Northumberland. 

Sheila Bull

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