Ravensworth Castle

Ravensworth Castle was the home of the Fitz-Hugh family. Built in the late 14th century out of sandstone, the castle was used as a quarry by the inhabitants of Ravensworth village when it was abandoned in the 16th century. It is now listed in the “Buildings at Risk” register, launched in 1998 by English Heritage: “Much repointing and consolidation needed to all parts of the building. Significant parts of the standing remains, including the gate tower are now at risk.”

The castle originally had curtain walls and three towers. The best-preserved part of the castle is the three-story north-west keep/gate tower and its arch. Here was the main entrance to the castle. The arch was protected by a portcullis, the guiding slots for which can still be seen.

The Latin inscription “Chrs dns Ihs via fons & origo, alpha & omega” (Christus dominus, Ihesus via, fons et origo, alpha et omega: Christ, Lord Jesus, the way, the fountain-head and the source, the beginning and the end) can be found above another preserved entrance.

Of the south-east and south-west towers little is left. The remains of some ancillary buildings can be seen: a belfry tower towards the southwest, and a rectangular building that stood in the center of the castle walls. It is not known if this latter structure was residential or used for stabling. One can also trace the water defenses, later adapted to form water gardens.