Barmoor Castle in Northumberland to host archaeological dig

Barmoor Castle will be hosting the dig on Saturday, the start of National Archaeology Week

Archaeologist John Nolan and Barmoor Park owner Ann Lamb prepare for the dig with the help of holiday makers Brian Hopkins, Elizabeth Lazenby and David Bettany

A castle in Northumberland which has welcomed Kings and soldiers en route to battle will be the scene of an archaeological dig next week.

Barmoor Castle, a holiday park near Berwick, will be hosting the dig on Saturday, the start of National Archaeology Week.

In the past, lodge and caravan owners at the 200-acre site have found mediaeval coins, weapons and items of jewellery at Barmoor with the help of metal detectors.

It is hoped that this dig will shed more light on the life and times of people who lived here through the centuries and on the many soldiers, English and Scottish, who passed through this route on their way to and from battle.

Archaeologist John Nolan, who will be leading the event, said: “Barmoor Castle and estate has a long and fascinating history and we may find a range of domestic and military objects.

“Since at least the 13th century, Barmoor was on a main north-south route for Scottish and English armies, drovers and travellers, and was a prosperous settlement.

“Early records show that in 1291, Edward I stayed at Barmoor on his way to Scotland.

“A tower was built in 1341, parts of which survive in the present Castle, and the Earl of Surrey who led the English army at Flodden in 1513 probably stayed overnight at the tower before the battle.

“Barmoor Castle has gone through various alterations, including a major rebuild in 1801-4 and several changes of ownership including a branch of the Sitwell family (of poet Edith Sitwell fame), who lived at Barmoor for over 200 years.

“It is an important building encapsulating centuries of Northumbrian history, from defence against border violence to grand Georgian country house.

“Barmoor Castle’s current owners Ann and Jamie Lamb, who also own Barmoor Country Park, have ensured that, although unoccupied, it is kept weather-tight.”

Numbers taking part have had to be limited to ensure the dig can be conducted as carefully as possible.

Mrs Lamb said: “The archaeological dig at Barmoor is one of many interesting events we arrange for our owners.

“Later on this summer we will be hosting an artist who will be sculpting a hare from willow in the grounds, and we often hold talks and workshops about the wildlife and history of the area.

“We find that our owners enjoy the peace and space here and find they can truly relax.”

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