Delving into the History of Newark Castle

newark castle

The historic and picturesque town of Newark is located just off the A1 in the east of Nottinghamshire. Frequented by tourists and locals alike due to its many heritage attractions and things to do, this friendly and welcoming town has ample hotels and bed and breakfasts for an overnight stay.

Along with attractions such as the National Civil War Centre and Newark Air MuseumNewark Castle is one of the town’s most popular attractions.

Now an atmospheric ruin steeped in history, this ancient castle has had many nicknames over the years, including ‘Guardian of the Trent’, ‘Gateway to the North’ or simply ‘The Old Grey Lady’.

The Castle previously stood as a Saxon fortified manor but was replaced after 1073 when a motte and bailey earthworks Castle was built by Bishop Robert Bloet.

The Castle was famed for its role in the English Civil War, where it stood as a Royalist Stronghold, Loyal to the King.

Unfortunately, Newark Castle’s key position on the banks of the River Trent for nearly 900 years meant that it’s structure has been severely damaged over the years. During the Baronial Wars and the English Civil War, its walls withstood five sieges but suffered considerably from the damage sustained during these periods of unrest.

Although most of the castle walls were destroyed, the Manor of Newark and the castle were protected by Queen Henrietta Maria until her death in 1669.

In 1648 Newark Castle came under a new threat to become a stone quarry, after Colonel Thomas Howard tried to obtain the lease. Initially denied, he reapplied in 1667 but thankfully his request was again refused and the building remained as a stunning landmark.

Sadly now, only one and a half sides of the castle remains, including the oldest part, a large gatehouse.

It is easy to see how magnificent Newark Castle would have looked in its former glory as even as a ruin it still maintains a sense of grandeur.

The castle has been complemented by a recent refurbishment to the gardens between the walls, which have been recreated to look like a glorious Victorian garden and was recently award the prestigious Green Flag award due to its high standards.

For those who want to learn more about Newark’s role in the English Civil War, a visit to the National Civil War Centre is highly recommended.


Guided tours of the Castle are conducted by the Castle Ranger every week. All tours last approximately one hour and tickets cost £5 for adults, £2.50 for children aged 3 and over, or £12.50 for a family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children. The tours normally run on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Please click here for more information on the tours. Please note: Guided Tours are suspended from 29th October 2017 to 2nd March 2018

Posted on 14 October 2013
Featured author: Erin

Australian now calling Nottingham home. Piano playing, cake making, bicycle riding lady who loves travel.

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