Barnard Castle Life - picture of the castle taken path

Bernard's Castle, which gave birth to the town of Barnard Castle and provided its name, stands in ruins amid its numerous progeny.

Gone is the pomp and the clatter of arms of long ago, the noise of modern traffic fills the streets outside the walls but deep silence reigns within.

The ruined towers still stand high on the crags above the swiftly flowing Tees and remind us of the pageant of time when, behind the encircling walls nobles nursed ambitions of royal sovereignty, or garrisons awaited anxiously their relief by slow-moving men-at-arms.

Much that gives colour to the history of Britain had its germ within the castle's now crumbling walls. How often have the banners of the proud Baliols, founders of the fortress, left its gates leading the men of the town and district to bloody battle.

But not for battle alone are the Baliols remembered: they were large-hearted too. Baliol College, Oxford, takes its name from John Baliol who first provided endowments in the 13th century and stimulated that thirst for knowledge which is still unquenched. Devorguila, his wife, arranged for its secure establishment after his death and also provided one of those touching episodes which give warmth to history.

In devotion to her husbands memory she built Sweetheart Abbey, near Dumfries, and, when she died, was buried there with her husband's heart which she had kept in an ivory casket beside her throughout her widowhood.

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