Tyne and Wear

There has been a fort of some description here since the Roman era guarding the bridge they called Pons Aelius crossing the River Tyne. Later in Saxon times, the site was known as Monkchester.

In 1080 Prince Robert (Curthose) William the Conqueror’s eldest son was given command of a large army and marched to Scotland to stop any further attacks into England. The Prince met with King Malcolm at Egglesbreth in Sterlingshire and a peace was signed. On the Prince’s return he stopped at Monkchester and built a new castle, most probably of the motte and bailey type. Thereafter the place was called Newcastle. In the winter of 1091 Duke Robert, as he had now become, again marched to Scotland and made peace with the Scottish King and most likely improved the fabric of the new castle on his return, in the company

of Robert de Bellême and other barons.

By 1168, King Henry II had had the castle rebuilt in stone, employing the military architect known as, Maurice the engineer. The work took about ten years at a cost of £1,144 which included the keep, curtain wall enclosing the bailey and a gatehouse, long since disappeared.

The Black Gate was added by King Henry III between 1247 and 1250 at a cost of £500.

Few repairs were carried out in the following years and by 1589 it was described as being in a ruinous state.

During the Civil War the Royalist Mayor Sir John Marley, held the castle but in 1644 after a three month siege, the garrison of 1,500 surrendered.

It is now owned by Newcastle City Council and is open to the public.

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