Cracking Walls Threaten Dunstanburgh Castle

By David Prudames | 23 August 2002
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Shows a photograph of Dunstanburgh Castle. A long thin line of stone ruins, which leads to a large tower, the castle is perched on a raised grassy plateau, above a rocky shoreline.

Left: the magnificent fourteenth century Dunstanburgh Castle. Courtesy North News and Pictures.

Emergency repair work is being carried out on the walls of one the UK's remotest castles.

Dunstanburgh Castle has stared defiantly out to sea from the windswept coast of Northumberland since the fourteenth century and attracts over 35,000 visitors each year.

However, a serious crack has appeared in the 60-foot high Lilburn Tower and a team from English Heritage is battling with the elements to repair it.

filling in the gaps on the Lilburn Tower

Right: filling in the gaps on the Lilburn Tower. Courtesy North News and Pictures.

"Dunstanburgh has stood the test of some turbulent times, but all buildings must be looked after if they're to survive," explained Peter de Lange, English Heritage Assistant Director for the North East.

"An important part of English Heritage's work is ensuring that buildings like Dunstanburgh are maintained in good condition for future generations to enjoy and learn from."

This is not the first time Dunstanburgh has had such repair work; in the 1920s, a fissure running the length of the tower and measuring six to 12 inches across had to have similar treatment.

maintaining buildings for future generations is an essential part of English Heritage's work.

Left: maintaining buildings for future generations is an essential part of English Heritage's work. Courtesy North News and Pictures.

Now, 73 years later, the same crack needs treatment but according to English Heritage modern techniques and materials should have a longer lasting effect.

"We're using a stone bonding material called Heritage Grout, which combines traditional lime with high-tech modern chemicals to give added flexibility and weather resistance," explained Ray Stockdale, English Heritage Superintendent of works for the North East.

The Castle was originally built by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster in the fourteenth century, before it passed into the hands of John of Gaunt.

Nowadays its position, perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop, makes it a hugely popular destination for walkers trekking the mile of coastline from the village of Craster.

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