Lindisfarne Castle

Has been described as a Certain Artillery Fort

There are major building remains

NameLindisfarne Castle
Alternative NamesHoly Island; Holy Iland; Beblow Fort; Belbowe Fort; Biblawe Fort; Beblowe
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHoly Island

Small fort built during the reign of Henry VIII, possibly on the site of an earlier look-out tower. Construction began in 1542 and it was completed in 1550 and was built from the stone of the ruined priory. It was restored in 1902 as a house by Sir Edward Lutyens and given to the National Trust in 1944. (PastScape)

By 1545 3 bulwarks had been built on Holy Island, one of them presumably being on the site of the later castle, or a little to the east of it. A survey of 1561 shows that all that had been built at Beblowe then was a platform on the top with an earth wall, much of which had collapsed. The bulwark was regarded as indefensible. By 1567 a 12 foot high earth wall had been built. The present castle was commenced in 1570 and had an upper court or keep and a lower court. The defensive power was arrayed at the highest elevation to the west, the so-called High battery'. This was walled in ashlar with cannon loops through the battlements. (PastScape ref. HKW)

Castle. C16 converted into house 1902 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Edward Hudson. Sandstone and whinstone with pantiled roofs. Irregular polygonal plan on 3 levels of former batteries, in dramatic situation. South side has cobbled ramp up to entrance with Tudor-style surround, portcullis and oak door. Scattered fenestration with chamfered mullioned windows under original relieving arches. To right of door a projecting section on original corbels has Lutyen's cruciform arrow slits. Projecting stone water spouts. North side has similar windows and also 3 large round-headed windows with Decorated tracery. Former garderobe tower with pyramidal roof to left. To right, on upper battery, higher building with semi-octagonal end and mullioned windows. Irregular roofs including prominent hipped roof with hipped dormers to middle battery. Tall clustered octagonal chimneys with stepped tops. Interior has several C16 doorways. Also C16 vaulted passages

2 rooms at lowest level have steeply-pointed tunnel vaults. Other features by Lutyens, including entrance hall with round piers and segmental arches dying into imposts; many fireplaces in Tudor style, panelling and doors with characteristic latches, moulded beams and decorative brick floors. (Listed Building Report)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNU136417
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 55° 40' 7.82" Longitude -1° 47' 5.45"

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Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reservedView full Sized Image

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Guide Books

  • Cambridge, Eric, 1995, Lindisfarne Priory and Holy Island (London: English Heritage)
  • Orde, Peter, 1986 (rev edn), Lindisfarne Castle Guide Book (National Trust)
  • Gardiner, Rena, 1984, Look at Lindisfarne Castle (National Trust) (Children's guide book)
  • Orde, Peter, 1978, Lindisfarne Castle Guide Book (National Trust)
  • Halpin, Joanna, 1976, Lindisfarne Castle
  • Addleshaw, G.W.O., 1957, Holy Island or Lindisfarne (Sunderland: Vaux and Associated Breweries)

Primary Sources

  • Sir Robert Bowes, 1550, A Book of the State of the Frontiers and Marches betwixt England and Scotland taken from Brit. Mus. Cotton. MS. Titus, F.13, a copy of the original (see Bates, 51, n185). Printed in Hodgson, [pt.3, ii, 187, 205-6 >]


  • Northumberland County Council, 2009, 'Holy Island' Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey doi:10.5284/1000177 [download copy >]