History

From fort to house

The Castle on Beblowe Crag was not the only fortification on the island © National Trust/David Watson

The Castle on Beblowe Crag was not the only fortification on the island

Although Lindisfarne is now open to visitors as a Lutyens-designed Edwardian house, there is so much more to the place than that. In fact, it was a holiday home for only about 70 of its over 450-year history.

Lutyens moulded the old fort into a comfortable home, and some features were lost in the process. Many, however, have survived.

Edward Hudson

Hudson first acquired the Castle in 1902

Hudson first acquired the Castle in 1902

One of the most significant figures in the Castle's history was Edward Hudson. The founder of Country Life magazine, Hudson commissioned Lutyens' renovation of the Castle, probably saving it from total ruination.

Origins on the old frontier

Don't tell anyone, but Lindisfarne isn't really a Castle. By the time it was built in 1570, castles were obsolete as cannons could mow down their walls in no time, just ask Bamburgh.

'Ned' and 'Bumps'

The recent history of the Castle is dominated by the design genius of Edwin 'Ned' Lutyens and Gertrude 'Bumps' Jekyll, along with the man who brought them to Holy Island, Edward Hudson.

The Garrison

Lindisfarne was a only a holiday home for around 70 years in the 20th century. For over 300 years though, it was a garrisoned fort manned by soldiers.

Did you know?

  • The first fort on the Island was probably east of the present Castle
  • The fort was captured by Jacobite rebels in October 1715
  • Much of the Fort was built with stone 'recycled' from the old Priory
  • The Fort protected the 'last harbour' in England south of the border
  • Edward Hudson wanted to build gatehouses and a huge water garden here
  • Country Life ran a special feature on Lutyens' work here in June 1913
  • Sir Edward de Stein gave the Castle to the National Trust in 1944

Current research

We're currently looking in more detail at the Victorian fort building that was transformed by Lutyens. As well as the built evidence, we have census records and documents in the local record office to investigate.

Hudson's housekeepers

The Castle had three private owners before the Trust took it on. The constant through that period was the Lilburn family - one of the oldest island families and first employed by Hudson as caretakers in 1902.

The Castle and Priory

Many tales are told about the Priory and Castle's relationship, the most notable being that the Castle was first built using stone 'recycled' from the demolished Priory.

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