Alnwick probably arrived at its name from the Anglo-Saxon, Aln-Wick which simply means, farm on the Aln.
The first recorded owner was Gilbert de Tesson, one of William the Conqueror's standard bearers who fought at the battle of Hastings and it is probably he who in about 1080 had the original structure built as a motte and bailey fortress to guard against Scottish incursion at this major crossing point into England. About this time King William II (Rufus) stayed here on route to Scotland to meet with King Malcolm.
In his party were the Duke of Normandy and
Eustace fitzJohn became the owner some time around 1100 and organised a polygonal stone shell keep to be built replacing or adding to the earlier construction.
Throughout the centuries the castle defences were upgraded and from 1766 Hugh, 1st Duke of Northumberland continued work on the castle’s fabric.
In 1854, Algernon, 4th Duke of Northumberland, entrusted the talented architect, Anthony Salvin to redesign the keep complex.
The 12th Duke of Northumberland and his family still reside in the castle, but they only occupy part of it.
The castle is open to the public throughout the summer.
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