Defensive story of England’s border county

Warkworth Castle
Warkworth Castle

A new book coming out next month investigates the story behind Northumberland’s famous castle, hill-forts and fortifications.

Defensive Northumberland, a 96-page paperbook with 100 illustrations published on Thursday, March 15, sees Colin Alexander tell the defensive story of England’s border county, from prehistory to modern times.

Before the Romans and the Venerable Bede, Northumberland was a landscape of hilltop forts, many of which can be traced today.

Then military order was imposed on the region by Hadrian’s legionaries, who built the 73-mile northern frontier of the Roman Empire across the county.

Through the Dark Ages and into medieval times, the kingdom of Northumbria was governed from massive castles and the constant threat of the Border Reivers is evidenced in the masonry of fortified farmhouses, pele towers and churches. There are 600 recognised pele towers in England – 258 of them are in Northumberland.

At the end of the border warfare, they became either romantic ruins or stately homes.

Priced at £14.99, Defensive Northumberland is available from Amberley – www.amberley-books.com