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Closure of Norham Castle

8th May 2024

English Heritage (EH) has been back in contact with the Friends of Norham Castle and we can now provide further information about the unexpected closure of the Castle.

EH as a matter of routine inspects the properties within its guardianship every 5 years.

This exercise is carried out over several months and involves inspection of all parts of the building.

Norham Castle is no exception, and the initial findings of the first part of the inspection led to the closure of what are known as the Sheep Gate and the Wicker Gate because of concerns around crumbling masonry – hence that part of the Castle has been fenced off for some months now.

EH received the full final inspection report on 26th April.

Its findings also concluded that both the wooden bridges – at the Marmion Gate and across into the Inner Ward – have not lasted as long as was anticipated when last replaced, are now structurally unsafe and are therefore in need of complete replacement rather than just repair.

The recommendation therefore was that the castle was unsafe and should be closed with immediate effect, which is what happened on the afternoon of 26th April.

Replacement of these bridges will be not a simple task, and will be a very expensive one, and it is likely to take EH many months to raise the funding required. Until then, the bridges have been fenced off and must not be accessed or crossed.

EH is conscious that there can now be no safe public access to the Castle by any of the usual routes - plans are therefore under consideration to create a temporary ‘gateway’ to the Outer Ward so that at least some of the Castle can be enjoyed whilst these major works are programmed, funded and then carried out. Once finalised, these plans will have to be submitted to Historic England for their approval (which will add to the delay….).

EH has given us assurances that they are prioritising the necessary works and will furnish us with updates as and when they can.

Friends of Norham Castle

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