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

Castle Google Map, the boundary and tower locations.

Text taken from the 1935 Barnard Castle official guide `A Modern Town with Great Historical Associations` published by the Barnard Castle and District Publicity Society. Price threepence and the 1951 'A guide to the town and neighbourhood' published by the Barnard Castle Publicity Society and Chamber of Trade. (Put it better than I ever could)

It was Guys son and successor, Bernard Baliol, who between the years 1112 and 1132, erected the mighty structure which bears his name. Of his power the extensive ruins still remain in eloquent attestation.

The Castle remained a fortress until 1569 when during the Great Rebellion in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it suffered siege, being held in the queens name by Sir George Bowes of Streatlam for eleven days against the insurgents before that gallant defender surrendered it "for want of provisions, upon honourable terms, being allowed to depart with arms, ammunition and baggage." However, the siege had the desired effect of delaying the march of the insurgents to such an extent that the suppression of the rebellion was inevitable.

Castle flash map with original layout and more information.

Three hundred years have passed since Barnard Castle was last inhabited, for in the year 1630 the dismantling began, and from time to time the fortress that once was has gradually been reduced to its present day condition, its walls, no doubt, having from time to time served as a free quarry for local builders in search of material for erecting houses in the town. (A lot of the stone found its way into the building of Raby Castle at Staindrop.).

Highly favoured with an environment of exquisite beauty, free from the excitement and turmoil of more popular rendezvous, situate on the "drier side of Britain" 600 feet above sea level, with ample shelter from cold wind yet with all enjoying sunshine in abundance.

Barnard Castle is an ideal health resort particularly for those who seek a rest cure and those who wish to spend a more active holiday amidst sylvan surroundings. The town possesses an excellent water supply and public health statistics stamp it as one of the healthiest towns in the North of England.

Built in a strategic place in the North East of England and holding commanding views of the river overlooking the ford this being one of the few places locally where people could cross the River Tees using a ford established by the Romans gave the castle great strategic importance.

From the river the castle is magnificent in its setting above a rocky cliff about 80 feet in height, and it covers an area of about 6 and a half acres. Approach to the interior used to be through the King's Head yard, formerly Castle Wynd, where a gate lead into the large outer enclosure, the town barmkin, called the Outer Ward. (Entrance is now through the North Gate)

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