Early records identify the castle as ‘Bebbanburgh’, the seat of the kings of Bernicia, besieged twice by the Mercian King Penda. Even 1500 years ago the castle remained impregnable against attack, and had it not been for the capture of the Earl of Northumberland outside of the castle, William the Conqueror may never have taken Bamburgh in 1095. It remained Crown property until 1610, although it had been abandoned long before that time. A battle in 1464 had reduced it to a ruinous state, and natural decay followed with the resulting neglect.
Most guide books and some history books will tell you that the story of Bamburgh began in the year AD 547-more of that presently. Try to imagine the sixth century. This is not easy, as this was a dark, dangerous and violent time. Remember that the Romans left this country a couple of hundred years previously, leaving the native Britons to defend themselves. Already, at this time, enemies from abroad were struggling to gain power in the South Eastern part of the country. These barbarians came from north Germany and Denmark. They were called Saxons and Angles, and, if you are English, whether you like it or not, they were most likely your ancestors. However, if you are of Celtic descent, the chances are that you are not of the blood of the Saxons. Celts occupied most of the West Country and all of Wales, which was a thorn in the side of the Anglo-Saxon.