How we got to this point
At around 450 years old, and having survived maritime threats from Vikings, border enmity between the English and the Scottish, the Civil War, the Jacobite Uprising, neglect, major rebuilding work, Edwardian house parties and… thousands and thousands of National Trust visitors, plus batterings from the sea, wind and rain, it’s no wonder Lindisfarne Castle needs some serious conservation work.
It’s not surprising, given the Castle sits high on a volcanic crag, that there has been a fort here since Henry VIII’s time – an earthen bulwark built around 1550. This was turned into a stone fort twenty years later in Elizabeth I’s reign.
The fort remained manned and armed, though sometimes by just a few men, until 1893, though it saw action only once. It was seized by supporters of James Stuart, the Old Pretender, in 1715 as part of the Jacobite Risings: however, it was quickly retaken.
From 1893, it was abandoned apart from occasional used as a Coastguard lookout, and fell into disrepair.
But at the turn of the 20th century, Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life magazine, decided to transform it into a holiday home. He employed his friend and renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens to rebuild and refurbish it in the Arts and Crafts style from 1903 to 1906.
The Castle was given to the National Trust in 1944 and opened to the public in the late 1960s. Whilst repairs have been carried out in the last fifty years, there hasn’t been a major restoration done. With the build-up of many problems, caused by the age of the building, its exposed site, the fact that it is built in different sections, it was clear that major restoration work was needed.
Following conservation trials during 2015 and 2016 – which visitors to the Castle may have seen – the best methods for long term solutions to the problems were identified. The Castle has been emptied of its collection of furniture, pictures and so on, and is now closed to the public. During the eighteen months of work, scaffolding will be erected, though it’ll happen in sections – there won’t be a time when the whole Castle is enveloped. However, the work will start inside during the winter of 2016/17 and external work will be done as the weather improves. In the winter of 2017/18, the internal finishes will be done and the collection will be moved back in, ahead of the scheduled reopening in April 2018.
Help us to look after this special place
As a charity we need your help to protect much-loved places in our care like Lindisfarne Castle. This is a £3 million project to secure the long-term future of the Castle. To play your part in conserving this North East icon text CASTLE to 70060 to give £3 via your phone*.
* This is a charity donation service. Texts cost £3 plus standard network rate. The National Trust will not process your mobile number or use it to contact you again in future. To find out how your donation supports our work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to discuss this mobile payment call 0203 282 7863. The National Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (no: 205846).