Rock & Craster & Dunstanburgh Castle

After our morning in Newbiggin Sophie and I went up to visit Craster, and on the way stopped off in Rock at a cafe Sophie found on Trip Advisor.

Rocking Horse Cafe

The owner there was lovely and had a good chat with us.  He had 2 gorgeous sheepdogs, and the cafe is dog-friendly with an area outside for dogs to run around in.  Good food too.

Breakfast Stottie- couldn’t eat it all!

Then we drove on to Craster which is famous for its kippers.

Smokin’ Fish

Craster, with Dunstanburgh Castle in the backkground.

 

That boat’s not going anywhere soon.

We walked up to see the castle, the sea was being quite dramatic.

Sea doing stuff

The sky was lovely

Dunstanburgh Castle

The castle was built between 1313 and 1322 by Thomas the Earl of Lancaster.  Thomas was an immensely powerful English baron, the second richest man in England after the King, his cousin, Edward II, with major land holdings across the kingdom.   Edward was not the greatest King we ever had and was having a bit of a fling with his friend-with-benefits Piers Gaveston.  Thomas and other earls did not like Piers’ influence on the King so led an army against Edward and Piers. The king escaped by sea, but the earls captured Gaveston at Scarborough. During his journey to London under arrest, they summarily executed him in Warwickshire, on Lancaster’s land. The King was pretty peed off about that, but he pardoned everyone involved.  It was then that Thomas decided to build the Castle,  and it is currently believed that Thomas probably intended to create a secure retreat, a safe distance away from Edward’s forces in the south. In the years following Gaveston’s death, civil conflict in England rarely seemed far away, and Thomas probably hoped to erect a prominent status symbol, illustrating his wealth and authority, and challenging that of the King. The resulting castle was huge, protected on one side by the sea cliffs, with a stone curtain wall, a massive gatehouse and six towers around the outside. 

Castle Sheeps

Unfortunately for Thomas, life went tits up.  The only time he even saw his castle was on the way to the siege of Berwick.  Also by 1321, Edward had new favourites the Dispensers, father and son and both named Hugh.  He especially liked the son though. The Dispensers were absolutely ruthless & horrid chaps, so Thomas and the other noblemen yet again went into battle, but this time their campaign failed, and though they tried to make it to Dunstanburgh a royalist army intercepted and defeated them at Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, on 16 March 1322, and captured Thomas. After a humiliating trial, Lancaster was beheaded at his own castle at Pontefract. The king took Dunstanburgh Castle into his own hands, garrisoning it with 40 foot soldiers and 40 hobelars (lightly armed cavalry).

So poor old Thomas! The castle’s history doesn’t end there (obviously as it’s still standing 🙄 ) but I’ll cover the rest when I return for a second visit.

We didn’t go in as the sun was sinking by the time we got there and we wanted to get back before it was dark, but a return trip is planned.

and we were treated to a nice sky on the way back.

Walking back to Craster

The fishermen at the harbour were packing up to go home

Next time we go we shall be lunching with this fine chap

Stay tooned we’re off to see the art galleries in Newcastle next time.

Also pop over say hi to me on my OTHER BLOG where I’m making pretty in Black & White. 🙂

 

31 thoughts on “Rock & Craster & Dunstanburgh Castle

  1. I visited that castle in the early 70s, and must go back one day. I really like that part of England. Your ‘mackerel sky’ shot is great!
    I could probably have finished the breakfast too. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow Fraggy, first your breakfast made me drool!! And I love smoked fish too:) . How kool it must be to step back into time and see these marvelous castles and surrounding areas. Your history is so old. And best if all it doesn’t seem to take you long to get to the places . These are great, I can’t wait to see the next installment 🙂 !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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