Castles have loomed over the landscape of Britain for centuries. They hold the keys to unlocking some of the greatest stories of our past.
Join History Hit's medieval expert, Matt Lewis, in this new series as he explores some of Britain’s most iconic castles. It is a spectacular journey to some of the best looking fortresses on earth.
In the first film Matt travels to the far north-east of England, to a mighty stronghold that has dominated a rugged outcrop of volcanic rock for hundreds of years; the epic citadel of Bamburgh Castle.
The magnificent castle we see today wasn’t the first stronghold to be located on this strategically important location. Fans of the Last Kingdom might recognise the name Bebbanburg, the Anglo-Saxon burgh that came before Bamburgh Castle. Matt meets archaeologist and Director of the Bamburgh Research Project Dr Graeme Young to uncover the incredible Anglo-Saxon stories that were buried for centuries deep in the dunes in Bamburgh’s shadow - stories revealed in the skeletons of a long-lost ancient cemetery. Matt also explores what the fortifications were like in the Anglo-Saxon age and how this became a local power base for Northumbrian rulers, mixing Bamburgh's military might with nearby Lindisfarne's influence as a site of Christian pilgrimage.
With the coming of the Normans Bamburgh changed radically - rising anew in stone with the key features of a great Norman fortress - a tall thick-set keep, fortified baileys that would have been full of the daily activity of castle life, and strong, carefully designed towers that represented the latest in defensive design and technology.
Over the next couple of months, History Hit will journey with Matt across the country and through time to the fabulous castles of conquerors, kings, queens and aristocrats. We’ll investigate how castles were built, how they were attacked, and the lasting impact they have had on people and history.