The ruins of this historic fortress stand on a craggy promontory between Craster and Embleton making it a poignant sight on the Northumberland coast. It was built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster on the site of a long lost Iron Age fort around 1313. However the Earl was on the wrong side when a faction of Barons revolted against King Edward II and he lost his head and lands to the Crown.
John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster expanded the fortress in 1380 as a strategic war machine in the light of the Anglo Scottish wars and the peasant uprisings. In 1399 when Henry of Bolingbroke became King Henry IV, the first Lancastrian King of England, Dunstanburgh became a royal residence.
The castle passed between Lancastrian and Yorkist hands several times during the Wars of the Roses. It was threatened by Queen Margaret of Anjou with her French and Scottish forces and held under siege by the Earl of Warwick, famously known as the ‘King maker’.
The castle never fully recovered and was left to the ravages of nature. However it is now managed by the National Trust and English Heritage to ensure the legacy of the past is never forgotten.
The awesome appearance of the castle in its heyday inspired stories of chivalry and knighthood. The most famous being the ghost of Sir Guy who rides up to the main gates demanding entry which never happens.