Dunstanburgh Castle lies on a impressive headland on the coast of Northumberland in northern England, between the villages of Craster and Embleton. The castle is cited as the largest in Northumberland and the site shows traces of earlier occupation before the erection of the castle in 1313 by the Earl of Lancaster.
Evidence suggests that the site of the castle was occupied in prehistoric times: however, the current ruins date from the 14th century.] In 1313 Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of Edward II of England, began construction of a massive fortress. By the time of his execution in 1322 the castle was more or less complete. John of Gaunt improved the castle in the late 14th century as the then Duke of Lancaster.
In the Wars of the Roses the castle was held for the Lancastrians in 1462 and 1464. The damage done was repaired and the castle fell steadily into decay. In 1538 it was described as as being a a ruin and another source in 1550 described it as in "wonderfull great decaye". It continued to deteriorate and was robbed of it's stone for the building of other edifices in the area. The last private owner, Sir Arthur Sutherland, donated the castle to the Ministry of Works in 1929. The castle is now owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building. It lies within the County of Northumberlands coastal resgion, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The castle is now owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage.
The great English artist Turner painted Dunstanburgh many times, usually rising at dawn to do so just as photographers and artists do today. Turners oil paintings of the subject are in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Victoria.