The remains of an Elizabethan fort that was heavily adapted in the early twentieth century to convert it into a fashionable residence. Nevertheless the core elements of the Tudor fort are visible and it offers superb views of Holy Island and surrounding area.
Castle and House. The fort is a strange combination of Elizabethan fort and stately home due to the modifications of Edward Hudson in the early twentieth century.
1. Whilst Berwick-upon-Tweed was the most northerly port available to Henry VIII, the town had only permanently come into English hands in 1482. Previously it had changed hands between English and Scottish control thirteen times and by securing Lindisfarne it ensured Henry had a secure harbour from which he could mount operations against Scotland if required.
Notes: Located on Holy Island there is a central car park for visitors. Checking tide timings (link on National Trust site) is essential as causeway to island floods at high tide.
Car Park (Holy Island)
Literally built from the ruins of the suppressed Priory, Lindisfarne Castle was constructed to protect the militarisation of the small harbour beneath its guns. Not completed until the 1570s, it became largely redundant with the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and saw no action other than being briefly taken by a couple of Jacobite rebels.
HISTORY OF LINDISFARNE CASTLE
Holy Island sits off the coast of Northumberland and is only accessible at low tide via a three mile causeway. Since AD 635 - when Irish Monks settled there at the request of Oswald, King of Northumbria - the island has been home to Lindisfarne Priory. Although Viking raids forced the partial abandonment of the site between the eighth and early twelfth centuries, it was nevertheless central to the adoption of Christianity in England.
Following the re-establishment of the Priory on Lindisfarne in the twelfth century, it evaded significant political engagement until the Wars of Scottish Independence erupted in 1296. The monks of Lindisfarne were obliged to fortify their site but, mindful of the cost of keeping a garrison coupled with the risk of making Lindisfarne a direct target of English or Scottish attacks, in 1385 they successfully petitioned Richard II for permission to dismantle the defences and become a demilitarised area. It remained so until the sixteenth century.
In 1536 Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic church and in doing so he prompted France (along with Scotland due to their 'auld alliance') and Spain to consider invasion. The following year he suppressed the Priory which instantly gave him access and control over the small but strategically important Lindisfarne harbour; the most northerly natural harbour on the East coast. The remains of the Priory were utilised as a Supply Base for the Tudor Navy whilst building materials were robbed from the structure to construct a fortified platform.
In 1549 an artillery position was installed on Beblowe Crag; this was the fore-runner of the present castle and was periodically upgraded with the final building phase being in the 1570s which created the substantive fort. Garrisoned by soldiers from Berwick-upon-Tweed it was consistently under-funded and was never fully completed especially after the Union of the Crowns in 1603 made it largely redundant. It did however see one brief period of action during the 1715 Jacobite Rising; it was briefly captured and occupied by a couple of rebels who held it for a day before fleeing from a military force dispatched from Berwick to evict them.
In 1901 the castle was purchased by Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life magazine who re-modelled the castle into a fashionable residence.