The Castle - peeling back the years

Nick Lewis, House steward Nick Lewis House steward
Linda Lilburn in the Dining Room at Lindisfarne, c.1930

Lindisfarne Castle is really two buildings; the comfortable Edwardian holiday home with the Lutyens features and the cosy atmosphere is the obvious one as it is what we see today. But hiding behind all this is the old fort, dating from Tudor times, and taking up three quarters of the Castle's history.

Many of the features of the old fort were lost during the Lutyens renovation in 1903-6, but if you delve a little deeper and don't accept what you see in front of you, parts of the old building can reappear before you.

In the Dining Room for example, Lutyens created a new fireplace, laid a distinctive herringbone brick floor, and carved out a huge window bay with tracery window in stone. He left untouched a bread oven and salt hole from the soldier's time (probably dating from the sixteenth century) along with the low vertical walls which are about as old as anything in the Castle. The vaulted ceiling, installed in the eighteenth century to bear the weight of a new gun battery above. The Dining Room stands as the best surviving example in the house of building work from all periods of development.

Throughout the rest of the Castle, other features can be found from the old fort. All that is required is a little imagination and perhaps a chat with one of our helpful volunteers.

The holiday home from the early twentieth century though is what is most apparent here. We tell the story of the building and the people who worked here, visited as guests, and those who called it home. For the best part of 70 years, Lindisfarne was so much more than just a old fort on a crag.