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Photographer: John C. Trotter

Lindisfarne Castle

Gazetteer No. G0117

Date 1903

Address Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 2SH England


Lindisfarne was little more than a ruin with a few dark and dank rooms when Hudson acquired it. What we see today is almost entirely by Lutyens adding and emphasizing most effectively to the fortified and romantic aspects of the place. He grasped, almost intuitively, the architectural qualities of Lindisfarne and its region. The giant, fat Romanesque columns in the entrance that rise sheer from the floor remind us of Durham and everywhere the use of hewn stone suggests a rock-like border fortress. In the gallery and bedrooms there are suggestions of a more domestic architecture, herringbone pattern brick floors, window seats and slightly eccentric fireplace designs. Lutyens mastered here the massive, abstract qualities of castle architecture on a small scale which he was soon to expand at Castle Drogo. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.157)

Lutyens started to repair and renovate the ruined sixteenth-century fort in 1903, a year after its purchase by Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life. Externally he added a pantiled roof covering three new bedrooms beneath and remodelled elements such as windows and the tower at the west end. His primary achievement is the alternating sequence of internal and external spaces experienced by the visitor as he moves up between ramps, ramparts, staircases and rooms that appear to be hewn from rock.

The C16 castle ruin (listed grade I) was converted and restored by Lutyens to form a ‘vision of passages hewn into the rock, of large vaulted chambers ‘ and of beamed ceilings – nothing vast like Castle Drogo in Devon, but something equally romantic’ (Pevsner and Richmond 1957). The Castle is now (2000) in the care of the National Trust.

GARDEN The 0.5ha walled garden (listed grade II), roughly quadrilateral in plan, lies 450m east of the Castle. Its curved, random rubble wall rises 3.6m high on three sides, the fourth is ramped down to the south to meet a lower wall 1.5m high. A central entrance of this south wall leads through a wooden gate set over decorative cobblestone paving.

The garden has a geometric layout, which Lutyens laid out using false perspective, so as to give it a larger size in appearance when viewed from the Castle ramparts above. Jekyll’s planting design aimed to reinforce this perspective illusion. The National Trust reinstated the scheme in the 1970s.

The garden is laid out with random flagstone paving and formal beds. The central bed is surrounded by rectangular and L-shaped beds, the latter edged with stachys along the major north/south axis. Clumps of Clematis flammula are combined with groups of delphiniums, planned so as to allow for successive colour schemes. Some plants from the original planting scheme had survived, notably rose ‘Zepherine Drouhin’, Shasta daisies, Fuschia magellanica, and kniphofias. (Historic England, list no. 1001050)


Amery, C., Richardson, M. and Stamp, G. (1981) Lutyens, the Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944): Hayward Gallery London, 18 November 1981 – 31 January 1982. London: Arts Council of Great Britain. Historic England. Lindisfarne Castle. [Online] Available from:

Also Cited In

Gradidge, R. (1980) Dream houses: The Edwardian ideal. London: Constable & co. ltd.

Gradidge, R. (1982) Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate. London: Allen & Unwin.

Aslet, C. (1982) The Last Country Houses. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Nairn, I., Pevsner, N. (1971) Surrey (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England). 2nd edn. Yale University Press.


Listing Grade


Listing Reference



Edward Hudson