Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
It was built on a basalt outcrop and the first written reference to it is in 547 as the seat of an Anglo-Saxon ruler called Ida. His grandson, Ethelfrith, passed it on to his wife, Bebba, from which the early name Bebbanburgh was derived. The original fortification was destroyed by the Vikings in 993.
A new castle was built on the site by the Normans and forms the core of the present castle. The keep was probably built by Henry II and was beseiged unsuccessfully by William II in 1095 during a revolt supported by its owner, Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland. After he had been captured his wife continued the defence until coerced to surrender by the king's threat to blind her husband.
It became the property of the reigning monarch and an important English outpost -- and the target to occasional raids from Scotland. In 1464 during the Wars of the Roses, it became the first castle in England to be defeated by artillery, at the end of a nine-month long siege by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. The castle lay in ruins until it was restored by various owners during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was finally bought by the Victorian industrialist William Armstrong who completed the restoration.
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