Barnard Castle Life - picture of the castle taken from the Startforth side of the river

To these two was born, probably within the castle, John Baliol II, who was destined to become for a short time Scotland's king. Edward, their grandson, also became King of Scotland as a vassal of Edward 111. But Scotland's crown was dearly attained and uneasy to wear. It brought disaster to the house of Baliol and the loss of most of its possessions, including Barnard Castle, though Bernard Baliol's name will, we hope, long survive to remind us of one of the most powerful families that held sway in this land after the Norman Conquest.

In the 15th century yet another possessor of the Castle attained a crown: the crown of England. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, spent much of his time in Middleham and in Barnard Castle. He did much to enrich the town before his wicked deeds sullied the good name he held before ambition for power led him to assume the title of Richard III.

Before this, the castle had come into the possession of Richard Neville, " Warwick, the King-maker " through his wife, Anne, heiress of the Earl of Warwick whose family held Barnard Castle. Their daughter, Anne ultimately married Richard, Duke of Gloucester and through this marriage Richard acquired the former Baliol estate and castle.

After Richard's death on Bosworth Field in 1485 Barnard Castle was reverted to Anne, widow of the " King-maker " and she conveyed it to Henry VII From that time until the reign of Charles 1 the castle remained a royal if neglected possession.

But Barnard Castle's association with the British throne did not cease with Charles I for, as a young girl, our Queen Elizabeth, then Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, frequently stayed at her ancestral home of Streatlam Castle nearby and made her purchases in the shops of this small country town.