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Alnwick castle

Alnwick castle is a major medieval fortress in Northumberland and a principal residence of the Percy family since the early 14th cent. It stands above the river Aln amongst parkland created by Capability Brown around 1765. In its present form the castle is mostly mid-19th cent., the creation of Algernon, 4th duke of Northumberland, who employed Salvin to restore and improve the exterior and a team of Italian artists under Canina and Montiroli to decorate the interior. Probably founded soon after the Conquest, the castle was constructed in stone in the mid-12th cent., a shell keep clasped by two large baileys. There are extensive 14th-cent. additions; notably the main gatehouse and barbican, one of the most complete in the country. Alnwick is strategically placed straddling the eastern route into England and was frequently involved in Anglo-Scottish affairs. A cross in the park commemorates the death of Malcolm, king of Scots, at the siege of Alnwick in 1093.

Lynda Rollason

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