Famine hits Bamburgh in 1783
It is just after the Conquest.
The Norman King, William has vanquished the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms. The King, then his son and successor William Rufus rampage North using a scorched earth policy. No one is spared; people, crops, animals are slaughtered. Bamburgh Castle is named after Bebba, wife of former King Æthelfrith, according to Bede the famous Anglo Saxon Chronicler. The castle was probably still mainly built in wood, with only the royal status buildings in stone. Think of the Castle crag surrounded by wooded countryside, with the North Sea pounding the rocks. The castle upon unscalable rocks, with the main entrance, by sea, up steep steps from a tiny harbour.
It was so close, the well fed Norman followers could yell insults at the weakened troops in the Castle.
The line of Northumbrian Kings had weakened to a line of Earls, and one of these Earls-Robert, Earl of Mowbray, held the castle against King Rufus. The king’s forces surrounded the castle, threatening famine through siege. King William Rufus, to intimidate the starving forces holding out, erected another castle a siege platform, called the Malvoisin, or “bad neighbour”. It was so close, the well fed Norman followers could yell insults at the weakened troops in the castle. Where was the Malvoisin? No one knows. The Earl slipped through the cordon to seek help one night, leaving his Countess in charge. But he was captured seeking sanctuary at Tynemouth Priory, and brought back to Bamburgh. He was paraded in front of the castle, and threatened with blinding unless his Countess capitulated.
What would you have done? So did she.
The castle fell….