Situated near the river Cor. Although referred to as a Castle it is in fact a 13th Century Manor house, that has been fortified.
Originally, the castle had been preceded by a house which was in the hands of Richard de Gosebek whose wife Margaret and her sister had inherited land from their father Walter de Burun. Walter did not have any male heirs so it had been divided between the two girls.
After Margaret passed away her son Hugh sold his share of what was then the Barony of Bolam to a Suffolk landowner called Hugh de Raymes and his son Robert.
The price paid was in fact unknown but records show that Robert had to pay a fine of 60 pounds due to the fact that it had not been done with the King's consent which was the law at the time.
Robert must have thought he got a bargain with this house, but unfortunately it kept getting raided by the Scots and so he had to resort to fortifying it.
Historically, you were only allowed to crenelate your property if given permission by the King. So in 1305 he obtained a Royal licence to crenellate his manor at a place called Shortflatt south of Bolam and at Aydon.
This is a small potted history, but for a more comprehensive history of Aydon castle and its previous occupants throughout the ages contact English Heritage at their website
Aydon, is protected on three sides by a steep drop but access was through one small gateway at the Northern position. This did not prove to be a strong position of defence. Coming in through the gate, and by looking to the right there are some machicolations where the defenders could hurl objects down on the invader below.
The property we shall call the Castle is still remarkable, in that it is well preserved.
Preservation as evidenced by the original timber in roof beams and stonework that surround the buildings. Over the years it has passed down through a few hands, in the latter years to tenant farmers until 1966 then it passed to English Heritage in 1984. There are some unique features to the environs.
One instance appears in the area which was the Kitchen and where one might have stored supplies - had been converted to stalls for housing animals and a channel cut into the floor to carry away waste products.
Going upstairs, which were once situated in a farmhouse. An ornate fireplace appears to be stuck incongruously on one wall and looks like an afterthought, while the opposite wall has been bricked up - yet go outside the building and this "plain" wall has the most ornate chimney running up the wall.
Curiously, this was the original site of the fireplace?
It made you think - well why did they move it?
Missing ceilings allow the gaze to travel up to the immense beams and to the now inaccessible rooms beyond where another fireplace can be seen. There is also a small orchard captured within its four wall, creating an idyllic setting.
A wall-walk where you can look down at a painstakingly cobbled stone floor the pattern pleasing to the eye.
Again, turning your gaze to the outside of the house there is an arched window with the carved head of God at its apex. Apparently, this was put in in anticipation of building a chapel but never got started.
Carved into the lintels of two doorways are the initials of the owners WC and HC. One might have mistaken the first as an indication that it was a toilet!
The owners by this time were William and Henry Collinson in the year 1653.
The recognisable stores have a "shouldered" arch which is very characteristic in the early 14th century. In my mystery photo there is a channel cut in the floor what was it for can you guess? My answer is listed at the end of this article.
Another owner Sir Reynold Carnaby made some changes to the internal stucture of the kitchen and to the roof where the timber used was dated as 1540.
All in all a very interesting building and its environs. Well worth a visit.
-Paul Hughes August 2016
The mystery picture answer is - a waste removal channel for penned animals (pen missing)
Want to See more pictures of Aydon Castle? I have more right here
Interesting Facts about Aydon Castle: Two Different Film works used Aydon Castle for shooting. The 1998 Movie Elizabeth and the 1997 Television Series Ivanhoe
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