NY6566 : Thirlwall Castle

taken 9 years ago, near to Greenhead, Northumberland, England

This is 1 of 27 images, with title Thirlwall Castle in this square
Thirlwall Castle
Thirlwall Castle
The castle was chosen as a site of a Poetry Picnic in August 2008 organised by the Hadrian Arts Trust LinkExternal link (Archive LinkExternal link )

Written specially for the event was: Thirlwall Castle by Gellie Draper

Flanked by sloping farmland,
silhouette of ages,
its majestic ruin
stands proudly
under a moving sky
that holds a flock of geese
leaving behind a ghostly past.

Down below, a streamlet gurgles
songs of what has been,
of dwarfs and golden tables seen,
of Lords and Ladies in distress
when castle life was less
than romantic fantasy,
a ford against morality.

Built from Hadrian’s legacy
its rooms have crumbled
inside heavy walls
still waiting to protect
the mystery of life.
Thirlwall Castle

A mid-14th century tower keep surviving as a ruined building, largely built of stone robbed from Hadrian's Wall. It was built as a fortified stronghold above the Tipalt Burn by John Thirlwall to protect his family and their possessions from raiding Scots, particularly prevalent in the Border Raids of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Legend has it that during a particularly violent raid, the family’s most prized possession, a jewel-encrusted gold table, was hidden by a servant (dwarf or troll) down a deep well where he and the table remain to this day, protected by a magic spell.

The castle has a rectangular plan with a slightly-projecting north-east tower. 2.5 to 3m thick walls standing to 2 and 3 storeys on north and west; east wall of similar height has partly collapsed at south; south wall has almost entirely collapsed.

Disused by the mid C17, the castle fell into ruin and was subjected to stone robbing, erosion by the elements and the effects of uncontrolled vegetation. Its survival was due to the massive construction and use of the Roman stones, which have long ‘tails’ embedded up to 400mm (1’4”) into the wall core. Nevertheless, by the 1990s it was in a dangerous state and major conservation works were carried out in 2000-2001 to prevent further collapses. The conservation technique known as 'soft capping' was employed to allow natural, non-woody, vegetation to protect the upper parts of the ruined walls.

Thirlwall Castle has been managed by the Northumberland National Park Authority since 1999 and is a Grade I Scheduled Monument (List Entry Number: 1006605).

The Gatehouse Gazetteer, Thirwall Castle: LinkExternal link

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Geographical Context: Historic sites and artefacts Uplands Derelict, Disused Primary Subject: Castle other tags: Poem Click a tag, to view other nearby images.
This photo is linked from: Automatic Clusters: · Ruin Stands [4] · Inside [2] Title Clusters: · Thirlwall Castle [27] ·
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
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Grid Square
NY6566, 101 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Andrew Curtis   (more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 25 September, 2015   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 6 October, 2015
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NY 6594 6615 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:59.3260N 2:32.0292W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NY 65950 66156
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
Clickable map
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Image classification(about): Supplemental image
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