Monday, August 13, 2018

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle Keep

The remains of Newcastle Castle are situated in the centre of Newcastle Upon Tyne.  All that remans today are the medieval Castle Keep and the Gatehouse, known as the Black Gate. In Roman times the site housed a fort and settlement, called Pons Aeilus which guarded a bridge over the River Tyne. In 1080 Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror built a wooden style castle on the site of the old roman fort from which the town was named,  a 'New Castle Upon Tyne". The stone keep was built by Henry II between 1172 and 1178 on the site of the wooden castle but it was not until between 1247 and 1250 that Henry III added the Black Gate. Construction of the town walls did not start until 1265.

Unfortunately by the 16th century the castle had become ruinous and from the early 17th century the construction of shops and houses on much of the site had started. The keep was repaired in 1643 and was used as a prison from the 16th to the 18th century. During the 19th century the keep was restored and a roof and battlements were added. It was again restored in the 1960's and 1980's. 

The Black Gate was the castle's gatehouse consisting of two towers and a drawbridge. In the early 17th century it was substantially altered and the upper floors were rebuilt. Eventually houses were built along both sides of the passageway and by the early 19th century the Black Gate had become a slum tenement, housing up to sixty people. Between 1883 and 1885 the gate was extensively restored with a top floor and pitched roof added.

The Black Gate

Railway Viaduct 
In the mid 19th century a railway viaduct was constructed to the north of the keep and crossing the site of the castle. Subsequently the keep and Black Gate are all that remain of this once great fortress.

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