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David Ford, History EditorTours > Coquetdale > Cartington Castle

Cartington Castle
by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

Cartington Castle Cartington Castle began life as a late 14th century pele tower, the fortified home of the Cartington family who took their name from their residence. This survives today in the north-east angle of the complex. It was extended to included a great hall, and probably a tower-defended courtyard, by John Cartington in 1442 when he was granted a licence to crenellate his home.

In November 1515, Queen Margaret of Scots stayed briefly at Cartington with Lady Anne Radcliffe after giving birth to her famous daughter at Harbottle. Nearly ten years later, Lord Dacre stationed his troops here on a march north to join the Earl of Surrey. However, it was during the Civil War that the castle really became embroiled in national politics. It was a major Royalist centre, where Roger Widdrington, Deputy Warden of the Middle Marches, kept a vast arsenal. He kept the central Northern magazine at Newcastle well stocked and used his local knowledge to guide troops through the Northumberland wilds. His son, Sir Edward, raised 2,000 foot Royalist soldiers and 200 horse at his own expense. Cartington withheld a Parliamentary siege for over two hours in 1648, but it was eventually taken and 'slighted' by the enemy.

Despite some demolition, the castle continued to be occupied until finally abandoned in the 1860s. There is much remaining today, but it stands on private land behind the roadside farm. Distant, and limited, views are available from the surrounding fields.

The Site is on private land, but can be viewed from the surrounding fields.

Next Stop: Rothbury

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