Dunstanburgh  Northumberland


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Dunstanburgh like this:

DUNSTANBURGH, a ruined ancient castle in Northumberland; on the coast, 2 miles ESE of Embleton, and 7 NE of Alnwick. It probably occupies the site of an ancient British fort; and it was built, in 1315, by the Earl of Lancaster, and much demolished, after the battle of Hexham, by the Yorkists. The coast scenery around it is grandly impressive; and parts of the coast immediately adjacent to it have been much torn and denudated by the action of the sea. ...

A gulley or passage in the rock, directly below it, about 180 feet long and 540 feet deep, is sometimes tremendously swept by sea-billows. The rock at the castle's foundations is sandstone; but a mass of basalt underlies this; and a columnar formation, of finer character than that of the Giant's Causeway, lies round the base of one of the towers. The ruins, viewed in connexion with their site and environments, present a stupendous appearance. Two entrance-towers, jointly forming a keep, have square turrets corbelled on the summit, are singularly large, and have no equal among the ancient round towers of the kingdom except the Eagle tower of Carnarvon. The barmekin, or court for cattle, also is very large. A square tower, with bartisans, is at the south-east corner; and the doorways are of the same form as those of Carnarvon.

A parapet's embattled row
Did seaward round the castle go,
Its varying circle did combine
Bulwark and bartisan and line,
And bastion, tower, and vantage coign:
Above the booming ocean leant
The far-projecting battlement;
The steepy rock and frantic tide
Approach of human step denied.

Additional information about this locality is available for Dunstan

Dunstanburgh through time

Dunstanburgh is now part of Alnwick district. Click here for graphs and data of how Alnwick has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Dunstanburgh itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Dunstanburgh, in Alnwick and Northumberland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 11th July 2020

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