Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
Chillingham,20 miles NW of Alnwick
A697 / A1
Chillingham Castle is the most important example of surviving original fortified domestic building in the country.
The castle stands on a spur and originally had a surrounding ditch.
Chillingham castle has to be one of my favourite castles i have visited anywhere in the country. Whilst the outside of the castle and its grounds are hugely impressive, it is inside the castle is where it becomes really facinating, from the dungeons beneath the castle, impressive courtyard through to its varied interesting rooms that span through centuries. Of course, Chillingham is well known for its ghosts and chilling tales. Exploring the castle there is a real atmosphere and intrigue about the place that stays with you after you have left.
Definately a must visit for any Castle Finder.
~ History ~
1066 - Grey, Prince of Kroy, arrives in England with his first cousin King William the Conqueror.
1100 - The Grey family move to the north of England to guard against the Eastern Scottish border.
1246 - The Grey's storm Chillingham
1255 - King Henry III stays in the fortified manor on his return from the Borders.
1296 - The Scots destroy Chillingham.
1298 - King Edward I selects Chillingham as his base, on his way to vanquish William Wallace, who had burned the local women and children to death and wore the skin an English General as a belt.
1344 - Sir Thomas Grey is granted a Royal Licence to fortiy Chillingham with a wall of stone and lime, and to strengthen, crenellate and convert it into a fortress. He later becomes the one of the first Knights of the Garter.
1348 - Work on the castle is completed.
1387 - Sir Heston, William Liburn and Robert Manners take the castle "by guile and shut up Sir Alan de Heston in a tower there". An official sent by King Richard II to order Sir Alan's release is ignored and so a force is sent under the Earl of Northumberland and John Neville of Raby. As a direct result of Sir Alan's mistreatment he dies soon after his release.
1513 - In the build up to the Battle of Flodden, the Grey's lose to the Scots the castles of Heton, Wark, Norham and West Horton. They flee to Chillingham before joining the 20,000 English troops who, at the battle of Flodden Field, defeat the 36,000 Scots.
1409 - Ralph Grey captures the massive castle of Tanquaville which guards the mouth of the River Seine in France.
1420 - Sir Thomas Grey commands Bamburgh and Alnwick Castles. He declares independence for North East England against the Crown.
His castles are besieged by King Henry IV. He is captured and executed.
1536 - The 'Pilgrimage of Grace' rebellion against King Henry VIII sweeps the country. Sir Robert Ellerker, guardian of the yound Grey heir, and others who refuse to join the rebels, gallantly defend the castle against vastly superior numbers. The rebels are led by the Percy family of Alnwick Castle. Cannon takes a heavy toll on the castle walls. The rebellion is later put down by Royalist forces and repairs are made to the castle.
1590 - During Queen Elizabeth's reign during a period of sustained peace with Scotland, major reconstruction work is carried out on the castle in preparation for the visit of King James VI of Scotland.
King James is received at Chillingham as King James I on his way to his English Coronation.
1600's - During the Civil War one of the Grey brothers sides with King Charles I and is killed in his service. His elder brother signs the Kings death warrant. In turn upon King Charles II restoration, he too is beheaded.
Lord Grey plots against King James II and is imprisoned in the Tower of London and condemned to death. However, he somehow survives to become senior government minister to King William III as first Lord of the Treasury
1700 & 1800's - Further building work is undertaken to turn the castle into a domestic fortress