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The eerie skeleton of Dunstanburgh Castle seen through a sea fret is one of the spectacular sights of the Northumberland coast. It is the county's largest castle site, its walls have enclosed some 9 acres on the outcrop of the Great Whin Sill. There is little left, but the jagged remains of curtain wall, towers and gatehouse have not undergone modernization or restoration (beyond strengthening) and they furnish plentiful inspiration for a romantic imagination.
Dunstanburgh seems to hold an invincible site on the basalt crag rearing up more than 100 ft from the sea. It is believed to have been a site for Roman and British strongholds but the existing castle was built in the 14th C by Thomas Earl of Lancaster who was executed for treason 9 years after he started the castle. The castle then went to John of Gaunt who added the surviving gateway. During the Wars of the Roses, the castle changed hands five times, suffering great damage from bombardment and by 1538 it was in ruins. The castle seems to have played no significant part in history but four persons connected with it were canonized or revered as saints: Queen Margaret, Simon de Montfort, Thomas of Lancaster and Henry VI.
Dunstanburgh Castle is a National Trust property, under the Guardianship of English Heritage.
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