Featured image of Barnard Castle

The History of Barnard Castle

LocationBarnard Castle Town, County Durham, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned ByEnglish Heritage
Rooms AvailableNo

Set above the River Tees, Barnard Castle is much more than a ruined medieval castle; it is a charming location to spend your day wandering through the nearby paved streets, exploring the independent marketplace, and enjoying peaceful riverside walks. It was founded in the 12th century and is now in the custody of English Heritage. It is a scheduled ancient monument designated as a Grade I listed building.

History of Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle is a famous medieval castle located in a town with the same name as County Durham. It was built on an earlier defended site’s position between 1095 and 1125 by Guy de Balliol. Later, between 1125 and 1185, his son Bernard II and his nephew Bernard De Balliol increased the castle’s structure.

In 1216, Alexander II, king of Scotland, besieged Barnard Castle. The Balliol family still held the castle, but the Bishops of Durham disputed its ownership. However, in 1296, John Balliol was deposed as the king of Scotland, and the castle was passed to the Bishop of Durham. Later, around 1300, Edward I granted it to the Earl of Warwick.

In the 15th century, the castle was passed to the Neville family by marriage. In 1477, the Wards of the Roses took place, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, took control of the castle. The castle was one of his favourite residences. During this time, the Neville family spent two centuries changing the appearance and enlarging the castle. Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland, played a leading role in the Rising of the North (1569) and failed in it, and the Neville estates were confiscated. Finally, in 1626, the castle ownership was sold to Sir Henry Vane.

Vane didn’t focus much on Barnard Castle after becoming the owner. Finally, after remaining untouched for years, the English Heritage took its custody and opened it to the public.


Barnard Castle
Barnard Castle’s round tower”, by Robert Scarth, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Barnard Castle is an overall medieval stone castle. Most of the 12th-century structure has been ruined, but visitors can still enjoy the 12th-century cylindrical tower and 14th century Great Hall and Great Chamber. Also, it lies beside the River Tees and allows visitors to enjoy peaceful vibes while having a picnic with their families. There is a big garden outside the castle filled with greenery, where visitors can sit in the open sky.

Movie Features

  1. 1917 (2019): It is a historical movie focusing on the lives of two British soldiers who were sent to convey an urgent message to an isolated regiment and had to cross enemy territory to reach the receiver.
  2. Addicted to Sheep (2015): It is a story of tenant farmers who spent days looking for their flock of prized sheep and getting the perfect sheep breed for the year.
  3. Charles Dickens’s England (2009): This documentary movie shows the places where Charles Dickens lived and worked and how he brought them into his writing work.
  4. She Claims (2016): It is a horror movie where the main lead is on the verge of suicide, and her husband can’t pull her out of depression. So then, she rented a cabin to ease the stresses of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Barnard Castle famous?

Barnard Castle is famous because it is a titular medieval castle filled with hidden local gems. It offers amazing riverside views and forest walks and has a quaint and friendly atmosphere, its own Bowes Museum, and monumental antiques. There is so much beauty to explore nearby Barnard Castle, including England’s highest waterfall.

What river runs through Barnard Castle?

Barnard Castle sits near the River Tees. It is 137km long, and its mouth is in the North Sea. Visitors can take the road towards the bank of River Tees and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere. It is also popular with canoeists and anglers.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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