Featured image of Lindisfarne Castle

The History Of Lindisfarne Castle

LocationHoly Island, Northumberland, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byThe National Trust
Official WebsiteLindisfarne Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Weddings, Filming)

Lindisfarne Castle is a Grade I listed building situated on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and off the coast of Northumberland. It is known to the visitors as a castle which is not a castle on an island which is not an island. The visitors love the castle and its gardens for their serene environment and are packed with exciting things to see to make a perfect holiday.


Lindisfarne Castle has a long history dating back to AD 634, when Oswald, King of Northumbria, granted the island to the church. Following this grant, a monastic community was established on the site, which played an important role in adopting Christianity in northern England. However, the castle was abandoned in the late eighth century due to Viking raids. The monastery on Lindisfarne or Lindisfarne Priory was re-founded after the invasion of the Normans. The community prospered until the Wars of Scottish Independence when their estates were destroyed. However, the monastery itself was fortified and successfully avoided any significant attack.

Lindisfarne was brought into the ownership of The Crown during the reign of Henry VIII in 1534. The Lindisfarne Priory was destroyed during the Reformation when Henry VIII’s commissioners swept away all vestiges of monastic power. Shortly after the Priory was dissolved, Henry VIII ordered to build a fort on a high plug of rock north of the monastic buildings. Lindisfarne Castle was built in 1550 to defend the realm against attacks by Scotland. It overlooked the harbour and was built on a rock known as Beblowe. It was used as a base for the Tudor navy, engaged in operations against the Scots. Beblowe Crag, the site where the castle was built, remained unfortified for an extended period of time. However, a map dated 1548 contained a mark that was presumably a navigation mark for the naval ships using the harbour. In 1570, many administrative and garrison buildings were built in the centre of the fort. The stone used to build the structure was taken from the abandoned Priory buildings.

In 1603, the Union of the Crowns reduced the relevance of Lindisfarne Castle, although the fortification remained guarded. After the upsurge of the Civil War, it was held by Royalist forces. However, the castle was seized by Parliamentarians in 1643, who effectively denied the use of the port to the King.

Due to the hostile situation with the Dutch, an additional facility called Osborne’s Fort was constructed on the site. However, the castle saw no action during the wars, and Osborne’s Fort was abandoned by the end of the seventeenth century. The garrison of Lindisfarne Castle had reduced to less than ten men. In 1715, this was reduced to just seven men when two Jacobites, Lancelot, and Mark Errington, captured the castle by a ruse. They held it for a day before they fled from a military force dispatched from Berwick to evict them from the castle.

Lindisfarne Castle remained armed until 1819 and was later utilized as a coastguard station. By the late nineteenth century, the castle had fallen to ruins. However, in 1901, it was purchased by Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life magazine. He commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens, designer, and architect, to remodel the castle into a fashionable residence. Lindisfarne Castle was only used as a residence for some 70 years.


Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Castle, by Rick Crowley, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

What is seen today is only part of the grand plans made by Edward Hudson for the site. He had planned to build a large gatehouse and water garden, but these plans were never implemented. The architect Sir Edwin Lutyens transformed the Elizabethan fort into a mock castle. He adapted the garrison quarters into a house and turned the Tudor cellars into a cosy suite of living rooms. He turned it into a holiday home, an Edwardian house built in the form of a fantasy. It is sometimes called a ‘Gothic’ castle. The architectural changes to the house’s structure are evident from his utilization of distinctive pink sandstone sourced from the quarries at Doddington near Wooler on the mainland. Other sections of older and oldest parts of the castle were taken down and rebuilt to include new and exciting features. A summer flower garden was planted in 1911 and is still being worked on by gardeners today. Bumps provided the garden with a plethora of colours during the summer months. It was designed to be incredibly prolific during August. These have become the backdrops to many Lindisfarne Castle Weddings.

Movie Features

Macbeth (1971)– Lindisfarne Castle is featured in the History- Drama movie ‘Macbeth’ about an ambitious and ruthless Scottish lord. The latter seizes the throne with the help of his devious wife and a trio of witches.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)– The castle is also featured in the action-packed Romance-drama movie set in 1792 Paris.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Lindisfarne Castle?

Lindisfarne Castle passed through several private owners before it became the property of the National Trust in 1944.

How to get to Lindisfarne Castle?

If you are traveling by car, the causeway is not far from the A1, approximately 8 miles South of Berwick-Upon-Tweed. From there, you need to take the crossroads East at Beal, which is just five miles to the Island. You have to follow the road for about a mile to reach the car park.

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!

Rate the Castle

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

He is a versatile E-Learning Support Officer and former Academic Officer at the University of York, United Kingdom. Not just an expert in education and technology, Debayan also has a deep love for castles and mountains. With a passion for travel, having explored 168+ cities worldwide, and a keen eye for photography, He brings a unique blend of experiences to the table. Specializing in E-learning content, IT support, AR development, and software engineering, Debayan has made a significant impact, educating over 200,000 students on Udemy.

Leave a Reply