Mitford Castle, Northumberland
Minor road off B6343 & A1
Mitford Castle lies on a knoll around which Park Burn makes aloop before joining the River Wansbeck.
It is located opposite the church where you can park. From the church, turn right up the road where there is a gate on your left that takes you up to the castle. There is more to explore of this lovely castle than you would expect from the roadside.
~ History ~
1070's ~ Sir John de Mitford's only daughter Sybilla, and his earthwork castle, is given in marriage by William the Conqueror, to one of his Norman knights, Richard Bertram.
1138 ~ William Bertram's settlement at Mitford is attacked by the Scots.
1215 ~ The castle is seized from the rebellious Roger Bertram by King John, who grants it to Hugh de Balliol.
1216 ~ A garrison commanded by Philip de Ulecotes withstands a siege by King Alexander II of Scotland.
1220 ~ Following Philip's death, the castle is returned to Roger Bertram by order of King Henry III.
1264 ~ The castle is seized from Roger and granted to William de Valence, 1st Earl of Pembroke, King Henry's half-brother
1270's ~ Agnes Bertram transfers the castle to Eleanor, widow of King Henry III. She in turn grants it to her kinswoman Eleanor de Geneva.
1275 ~ Through marriage to Eleanor, Alexander de Balliol, brother of John de Balliol, is the new Lord of the castle.
1284 ~ Alexander is summoned to attend King Edward I's English army in payment for the lands he holds in England.
1286 ~ Following the death of King Alexander III of Scotland without an heir, Alexander de Balliol is one of the barons responsible to receive Margaret, The Maid of Norway, as the new Queen of Scotland.
1290 ~ The seven year old Margaret dies on her way from Norway to Scotland.
1292 ~ Alexander's brother John de Balliol, is crowned King of Scotland following King Edward I's decision to reject all other claims to the throne, including Balliol's rivals, the Bruces.
1310's ~ Eleaner de Geneva's second husband Robert de Struteville had earlier given Mitford castle to the all powerful Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke. Following a rebellion in Northumberland the castle is seized from the Valence family by Sir Gilbert de Middleton.
1315 ~ Sir Gilbert Middleton uses Mitford to hold captured prisoners from his rebellious raids across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. Two seperate raids result in the capture of Lewis de Beaumont, Bishop of Durham, and John de Felton, constable of Alnwick Castle. Both are imprisoned in Mitford Castle. Sir Gilbert hopes to use de Felton as his negotiating pawn to obtain Alnwick Castle.
1317 ~ John de Felton's men make a surprise attack on Mitford Castle, capturing both Gilbert and his brother John. They are taken to the Tower of London the following month and executed.
The castle is captured and slighted by King Robert the Bruce of Scotland.
Later the same year King Robert aids the rebel Sir Walter Selby to take possession of the castle.
1321 ~ Sir Walter surrenders the castle after obtaining the promise of a pardon for his crimes. This promise is later broken and Selby is taken and held in the Tower of London, until his release six years later by King Edward III.
1324 ~ Following the death of Aymer de Valence in Picardy, France, and his burial in Westminster Abbey, included in his estates is the ruined castle of Mitford. The castle passes to David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl.
1326 ~ David dies and Mitford Castle is described as "the site of a castle wholly burned".
1370's ~ Mitford Castle passes through marriage to the powerful Percy's of Alnwick Castle.
1430's ~ The castle once again passes to new owners through marriage to Sir Thomas Burgh.
1556 ~ The castle and manor is sold back to the Mitford family.