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History

Norman castle

In 1066 the Normans invaded and conquered England. It took them a long time to establish their rule over all of England. In 1080AD, Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror was sent north to deal with raids by the Scots, whose Kings still ruled Cumbria and claimed Northumberland. He built a wooden castle on the site of the old Roman Fort. This was called in Latin ‘Novum Castrum Super Tynam’ – the New Castle upon the Tyne.

The construction was probably a type of early Norman castle called a ‘Motte and Bailey’ castle, consisting of an artificial hill topped with a wooden tower which overlooked a wooden walled enclosure called the bailey, which housed the hall, barracks and other buildings.

The building of the ‘New Castle’ helped to secure Norman rule over the north of England and controlled the Roman bridge which was still the main crossing over the Tyne. It also formed a good defended location for people to live and trade, which soon led to the growth of the town which took its name from the Castle.

In 1095 the Castle was besieged by King William II as it had been seized by the rebel Earl of Northumberland. In the 1130s and 1140s Newcastle came into the hands of King David I of Scotland, who used it as one of his capitals.