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The castle dominates the town from the hilltop. In the past traffic entering from the North passed through a medieval bridge and gatehouse arch giving a far more dramatic view of the castle. The 14thC bridge is now only used by pedestrians. The town is tightly packed on the peninsular of the River Coquet, with the castle commanding the neck. Near the old bridge stands St. Lawrence's Church which is the only nearly complete Norman church in the county. It has five Norman windows in the nave, a highly decorated chancel arch and vaulted chancel ceiling, and a rare 14thC stone spire. The church has a well preserved effigy of a cross-legged knight of about 1330.

Warkworth, near the mouth of the Coquet, has a sandy beach only one mile away and fishing and boating on the river. You can travel by boat or walk along a shady path to the Hermitage, an unusual refuge dug into the bluff by some hermit in the 14thC. The Hermitage consists of a chapel and two living chambers on two levels, connected by steps. Hermits lived there until the 16th C.

The castle is the most splendid ruin of its type in Northumberland. It has not been extensively restored as were the castles of Bamburgh and Alnwick. The first fortification on the site was probably in 1139, with a curtain wall added in the early 13thC. The castle came into the hands of the Percys in the 14thC and remained theirs for some 600 years.

A Visitors Book is available if you would like to make any comments or requests.

The following pages were designed by MIRROR IMAGE. All photographs taken by Ray Urwin©.
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