England - Northern England - Northumberland - Mitford Castle

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Late C11 earthwork fortress of Bertram family; curtain of inner ward early C12, outer ward and chapel late C12, keep early C13. Squared stone, in places of ashlar quality. Natural hill scarped and ditched to produce motte carrying irregular oval inner ward containing pentagonal keep, with triangular outer ward to south and east and barmkin to north-east. Inner ward: tall curtain,on stepped plinth, remains on west, with large round arch perhaps to a balcony. Section of wall on east with round arch to outer ward, is largely C19 reconstruction. Keep stands to 1st floor but external facing wholly robbed. Basement divided by axial cross wall into 2 barrel- vaulted chambers; impost band at spring of vault, internal stone spouts (bringing in rainwater; the chambers were probably intended as cisterns), segmental-arched doorway to mural stair. 1st floor has chamfered plinth, and is entered via lobby from external stair. To west of keep footings of possibly earlier 'blockhouse' with splayed arrow loops. Historical Notes. Described as the "oppidum" of William Bertram in 1138. Seized by Flemish troops of King John in 1215. In 1315 the scene of kidnappings and the holding of prisoners to ransom by Sir Gilbert de Middleton. In 1327 described as "wholly burned"; it is uncertain if it was ever restored. Excavations in 1938 uncovered the remains of a mid C12 chapel and an earlier burial ground.