Elsdon Castle & Tower, Northumberland
~ History ~
1076 ~ Robert de Umfraville, Lord of Tours and Vian, known locally as "Robert with the beard", is granted the Lordship of Redesdale by William the Conqueror. The Lordship occupies a strategically important route between Newcastle and Edinburgh, critical to the defence against Scottish raids since Roman times.
He sets about erecting a substantial earthwork and timber castle.
1140's ~ Civil War between King Stephen and Empress Matilda reaches every part of England, including Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. King David I of Scotland seeing England in such turmoil takes advantage of the infighting to overun much of Northern England including large swathes of Northumberland.
1157 ~ Following King Henry II succeeding to the throne of England he launches full scale attacks against the Scots in Northumberland, driving them back to the Scottish Borderlands.
He grants Ordinel de Umfraville new territory upon which he builds Harbottle Castle. In doing so he moves his main seat from Elsdon Castle to Harbottle. As a result Elsdon gradually falls into decline and is eventually abandoned.
1415 ~ The Umfraville's build themselves a pele tower on the summit of a spur overlooking the castle for the use of the local clergy. It is known as Turris de Ellysden.
1500's ~ The pele tower is converted into a Tower House.
The enhanced tower consists of a four storey tower with an attic, including vaulted chamber for stores and kitchen, with a hall on the first floor and upper level accommodation.
Elsdon, Newcastle upon Tyne
Elsden Castle is an impressive motte and bailey castle located on a spur above the east side of the Elsdon Burn. On top of a bank across the road lies an early 15th century Tower in wonderful condition.
There is plenty of parking near the castle with a footpath up to the earthworks and motte. From here you can look across at the tower which is a private residence. A lovely motte- and-bailey castle but sadly with little recorded history.