Barnard Castle Life - picture of the castle taken from the silver bridge

Text taken from the 1951 'A guide to the town and neighbourhood' published by the Barnard Castle Publicity Society and Chamber of Trade.

The curtain wall of the inner bailey is of great height but decayed in parts, and it has two flat buttresses of late Norman type. Near the great round tower is a small multangular tower projecting outwards from the wall with a shouldered doorway of about A.D. 1300 leading on to the scarp of the ditch. Beyond this is a larger tower of the same type but with 15th-century buttresses and it is not bonded with the main wall. To the right of this another curtain wall branches from the inner wall, descends the deep ditch where there is a culvert, and, where it emerges on the counter-scarp, there has been a gateway with drawbridge leading into a small area called the middle ward.

The main wall of the outer bailey, or town ward, is best seen outside from the Scar Top where some seats have been placed near the foot of Galgate. The solid masonry of the wall is well exposed, as well as the splayed base of the round tower where it projects beyond the curtain. Under a pile of earth is the top of a culvert which drained the inner ditch. The gateway to the outer bailey is partly earthed up. It has a rounded arch of three orders. The walls of the barbican have been destroyed but the pit for the counterpoise stones of the drawbridge over the ditch are still there, though under the ground. Slits guarding the approach can be seen.

The upper part of the gate and the small round tower to the west is about the same age as the great round tower. In the garden within the wails is Brackenbury's Tower. The roof has gone but its solid structure and vaulting suggest a Norman date.

From the corner at the Scar Top to the King's Head the outer wall is hidden by the shops of the Horsemarket and Market Place, the back buildings of which are built on the ditch which must have been about 90 or 100 feet wide. Along the wall are the splayed arrow-loops to guard the wall.

Seen from the aqueduct over the river on the west the view of the castle is impressive alike by its strong position and its romantic appearance. From the bridge below it towers above the rocks to 150 feet above the river. The ground slopes gradually to the south-east and the wall surrounding the Outer Ward increases in height as the natural protection decreases, until, behind the shops on the Bank, the wall is at present about 25 feet high. A garde- robe or turret is corbelled out from the top where the wall begins to bend round at the back of The Bank.

Like so many fortresses the last incident in the history of Bernard's Castle was its mast notable. On the Rising of the North in 1569, Sir George Bowes of Streatlam Castle garrisoned Barnard Castle for the Queen in order to keep it out of the hands of the powerful Nevilles and Percy The castle was besieged for eleven days by the rebels and shortage of supplies as well as desertions compelled Sir George to surrender. But the time thus gained saved the country and enabled the royal forces to gather and break up the revolt.

In 1952 the site passed into the care of the Ministry of Works and after some work to preserve and prepare the site the castle has been passed onto English Heritage. The castle is open to tourists for most of the year although the Outer Ward is now privately owned and not open to the public anymore, although all that needs to be seen can be seen from the Town Ward or the Inner Ward.

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