Sunniside Local History Society

Inside & Around The Ancient Town of Corbridge



Corbridge, which is now a quiet village, once ranked as an important Northumbrian town. In Roman times it was one of the largest stations in the north of England, called in the Antonine Itinerary Corstopitum. But before that the Britons probably occupied the site since many of their camps and burial mounds are to be found in the neighbourhood; remains which go back to the early Bronze Age. The Roman station occupies a gentle rising near the Cor burn, 600 yards west of the town and was approached from the south by a bridge whose foundations can be seen when the river is low. This bridge carried across the Tyne one of the great Roman military roads - the famous Watling Street. The bridge at Corbridge was built in 1235. In 1674 it was replaced by the seven-arched bridge we see today. During the great Tyne flood of 1771 it was the only bridge on the river that was not destroyed. In 1881 it was widened by three feet but its appearance was not spoilt.


Although some English towns sprang up on the sites occupied by the Romans the new settlements were usually in the immediate neighbourhood, possibly from superstitious motives. The parson at Corbridge informed Leland in the reign of Henry VIII:

By this broke (the Cor-burn) as emong the ruines of the olde town is a place caullid Colecester, wher hath beene a forteres or castelle. The peple there say that ther dwellid yn it one Yoton, whom they fable to have beene a gygant. This legend of a giant called Yoton lasted for many centuries.

In 1660 we read: Near Corbridge, not far from Northumberland, the late rains having wash'd away the earth in a place where a torrent was made by the winter rains, there was discovered the skeleton of a prodigious monster, the skull capable of holding three gallons; the hollow of the back-bone was so large that a boy of eleven years old thrust his hand up it to the elbow; the thigh bone is two yards long, lacking two inches; his whole height computed to just twelve foot or seven yards. The skeleton being found by boys, they broke it in many pieces, which my Lord Darwentwater, who hath a great part of it whole, would have given some hundreds of pounds if he had it entire. The skull hath twenty- four teeth in it. I myself have seen one of them in Newcastle, which is one inch and six tenths of an inch broad and three inches deep, and is now four ounces, al¬though dryed. There is also another tooth of the same to be seen at Widow Ingram's coffee house in Prescot Street in Goodman's fields.

The first written evidence of Corbridge's existence occurs in 800 A.D. when the Anglican settlement is called Et Corabrige. The name is clearly derived from the Roman bridge, and is therefore one of the few places before the Norman Conquest named after a bridge. However it is not known where the first part of the word - COR - comes from. The Cor burn clearly derives its name from the village. Probably the word COR is that part of the Roman name which survived. We are told that in 786 a bishop was consecrated at the monastery of Corbridge.This monastery is clearly the parish church whose porch was built entirely of Roman stones. The style of the building is similar to the seventh century churches of Jarrow and Monkwearmouth. It is dedicated to St. Andrew like four other Tyne valley churches, Bywell, Hexham, Heddon and Newcastle.

It has been suggested that when the kingdom of Northumbria declined and Bamburgh was no longer used as a capital the royal seat was removed to Corbridge. The town certainly pros¬pered mainly because it was at the junction of two ancient high¬ways, namely Dere Street (Watling Street) and the Stanegate. The Roman Stanegate (later called the Carelgate) or "ald- he-way" was the main road across the isthmus from Tynemouth to Carlisle, until General Wade built his military road.

This trade led to the early establishment of a market which is first men¬tioned in the 13th century but clearly had been in existence long before. There was also an annual fair in existence in 1293, which was probably held at Stagshaw Bank a mile to the north on Dere Street. This fair survived into the 20th century with the development of the lead and silver mines at Alston. Corbridge appears to have had a royal mint. Coins have survived of Henry I with the name of the moneyer on them EREBALD ON COLEB, the last word being Corbridge. At this time the royal tax of tallage paid by Corbridge was' as high as Newcastle showing the relative importance of the two places. In 1201, when King John was in the north, he caused a search to be made at Corbridge imagining that the town had once been large and populous, and must have been ruined by an earthquake, or some sudden and terrible invasion, and that in either case the people would have been unable to remove their wealth. Tradition says the search was in vain.



The town was at the height of its prosperity by the end of the thirteenth century. (Pictured above Aydon Castle built in the thirteenth century). In 1296 we have the first detailed account of taxation in Corbridge. This was a royal tax on moveables called the Subsidy Roll and a total of seventy-seven people were taxed which made this the largest town in the county after Newcastle, where 297 people paid subsidy. Alnwick had forty nine names and Morpeth thirty-five. It has been estimated that one person in twenty paid tax, so the population of Corbridge would be 1,500, Newcastle 6,000, Alnwick 1,000, and Morpeth 700.

The names of weaver, miller, dyer, tailor, goldsmith, forester, butcher and slater attached to various inhabitants illustrate the trades carried on at that period. In 1295 Corbridge sent two representatives to the model parliament of Edward I. Their members were Adam son of Alan and Hugh son of Hugh. Bamburgh and Newcastle also sent members, but on later occasions only Newcastle was represented.

In 1296, 1312 and 1346 the town was burnt by the Scots but 1349 was even more disastrous; it was then that the Black Death over ran England. Tradition says that the only inhabitants to survive were a few who camped in an open field called the Leazes, which was north of the town in a higher and healthier situation. Writing in 1830 Hodgson thus describes the town:- The town (for such its antiquity demands that it be styled) is dirty, and in all the streets except that through which the Newcastle and Carlisle road passes, is filthy with middens and pigsties, with railing before them of split board, etc. The population seem half-fed; the women sallow, thin armed, and the men flabby, pot-bellied, and tender-footed; but still the place bears the appearance of being ancient. To such an extent had the town declined from its ancient estate. Seventy years later Tomlinson describes Corbridge "as one of the most picturesque and interesting of Northumbrian villages, as it is one of the most considerable.

From its high and dry situation on a gravelly hill, which is sheltered on the north and south by the steep sides of the river gorge, combined with the loveliness of the surrounding country, Corbridge has become one of the most popular health resorts in the country. Few villages, indeed, have so many natural advantages, and these are supplemented by historic associations of exceptional interest".



There are many peles in Northumberland which have been (and still are) used as vicarages but this is the only one actually standing within the churchyard.

Although there is no record of its erection the architectural features suggest a time about 1300. It is first mentioned in the list of fortalices drawn up in 1415, wherein it is described as belonging to the vicar. A survey of 1663 describes it as 'a tower situated on ye churchyard wall, to ye south-east of ye church, said to have been antiently ye lord's goale, but now is ye place where ye lord's court is usually kept, but ye roofe, is in much decay".

The tower, is of one date and well built of Roman-worked stones brought from Corstopitum. It is a good example of the smaller pele and show domestic arrangements rarely seen in such perfection. It is three storeys high and has an embattled parapet carried round the corners on projecting corbels forming machicolations.

The entrance is at ground level by a heavy door of old oak planks covered with an iron grate similar to that at Bywell Castle, leading to a vaulted basement where the vicar stabled his horse and stored his provisions. A stair mounts in the thickness of the wall to the first floor which was used as a living room. On the first floor landing is a stone table with a wash basin.

The first floor is entered by a pointed doorway and is lighted by three windows. It has two wall cupboards, a large fireplace and window seats. The floor above, of the study bedroom, is gone. Near a small window in the north wall is a recess clearly intended as a book rest. While reading the window commanded a view of the church and its approaches. It is easy to picture life in this medieval tower.



In the middle of the market place used to stand a market cross, pictured above left. It was emplanted on a large Roman altar. The cross stood until 1807 and was replaced in 1814 by a cast-iron structure, pictured above right.

From the cross the proclamation of Stagshaw Bank Fair used to be made. The cross now stands in front of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Newcastle.



The Angel Inn, formerly called the "Head Inn", is the oldest inn in the village. It is said that the king's commisioners stayed there, when on their mission to suppress the monastery at Hexham.

From 1752 until the opening of the railway the" Angel" was the posting inn for Corbridge; once a week the mail coach halted at the inn and the landlord read to the local people who had assembled at the Coen's foot the news from the Newcastle papers.

The central portion of the inn is the oldest. The semi-arched doorway and the mullioned Tudor window on the right of it belong to the original structure. The wings on either side have been considerably altered and rebuilt. In the west gable are two small and original circular openings. Above the door is a fine old sun-dial bearing the inscription E. W. A. 1726, for Edward Winship and his wife Anne. There is also a stone carved with the arms of Newcastle accompanied by a couple of masonic symbols. This is the emblem of the Incorporated Company of Masons of Newcastle. Why it has been put there is a mystery. In the nineteenth century stood a stone dog on the gable. This has been removed for safe keeping and now stands on the lounge mantelpiece. It is thought to be of Roman workmanship.

In the interior are several ancient features, the timbered ceiling the balustrade of the staircase, and remains of a large fireplace with a "spit". The stonework at the rear is of early date and the old stables still have their original dividing stalls. The "Angel", like other inns of the same name probably derived its sign from a religious picture of the Annunciation. As parts of the picture faded only the angel remained visible to passers-by.

The Boots and Shoes Inn, another old posting inn, used to stand in Water Road. It has now disappeared. At one time shoemaking was the principal trade of Corbridge. Large quantities of shoes were made for lead and coal miners and Shields fishermen. The inn clearly derived its name from this local industry. At the east end of Main Street is a house called Monks Holme. It was formerly the "New Inn".

Although its thatched roof has gone the Wheatsheaf, another old hostelry, still remains. In the stable yard can be seen two curious stones, probably of Roman workmanship. The chief of these is a stone figure thought to represent the goddess Ceres. In one building there is a corner stone showing two heads facing in opposite directions.

The Golden Lion Inn, in Hill Street, was built with stones taken from Dilston Hall when it was demolished in 1768. The part of Dilston Hall taken down had been erected in 1618 by Sir Francis Radcliffe.



Apart from the Vicar's Pele the oldest remaining house in Corbridge is the Low Hall at the east end of Main Street where the Newcastle road passes into the village.

The nucleus of the building is a medieval pele tower three storeys high. It retains many of its original features including the vaulted roof of the basement. In entering the tower from the adjoining house by the original entrance there is first a small lobby from which a straight stair goes up in the thickness of the wall giving access to the upper floors, and a door head admits to a vaulted basement. It is lit by a small loophole in the north wall, and the window looking on to the road probably the position of another loophole.

The tower itself was built by the Baxters, probably in the late fifteenth century and for long was known as Baxter's Tower. The Baxters were a prominent Corbridge family at that time. One of them, called Alexander Baxter, was setter and searcher of the watch at Corbridge in 1552. The Baxter property came into the hands of Richard Gibson of Hexham in 1675. He was probably the builder of the Low Hall attached to the Baxter's tower. Over the entrance is a sun-dial dated 1700. The hall was lighted by mullioned windows and at the same time windows of a like character were inserted in the tower, and a gabled projection was built onto the rear. Later all the mullioned windows were replaced with smaller ones. The window tax of the period was probably responsible for this reduction in window size.

George Gibson, grandson of Richard Gibson took part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 and was attainted of high treason and died in the Fleet prison the following year. Most of his property, including the Low Hall, was forfeited to the Crown. It was bought for £360 by John Aynsley, a Hexham attorney.



Even the oldest 'born and bred' Corbridgean can recollect but a small part of the village's history. Apart from the several church guides, more detailed notes can be found in 'The History of Northumberland’ or if you are after more social and economic details you should acquire a copy of Corbridge Border Village by Walter R. Iley, who was for several years one of the guides in St. Andrew's. Walter had the wonderful knack of bringing history to life. It is quite certain that although the Romans had a store camp at Corstopitum during the time of their occupation, most of village life seems to have evolved around St. Andrew's Church. St. Wilfred, responsible for the building of Hexham Abbey, sent his monks to Corbridge among other places to build a Saxon Church or a monastery. There are still remains of that church built about 774. The monks, we would say, went out and about to minister to the spiritual needs of the community.

The Church we see in the centre of Corbridge has been radically altered and modernised to deal with Danish and other marauders through the centuries. Reminders of this can be seen inside and outside - inside four arches cast our minds back, the Saxon window at the west end of the church, the Roman archway at the base of the tower, the Norman doorway and, one of the gems of St. Andrew's, the beautiful early English archway.

Outside there is the fortified pele tower used by earlier vicars as a vicarage. Back inside there is much evidence of other points in the history of St. Andrew's. The grave slab of Aslin, son of Hugo, a reminder that Corbridge at one time sent members to Parliament. St. Andrew's carried out many alterations in the nineteenth century - some of which are arguably good and some bad. Changes in our social life are taking place all the time as in our liturgy. The next year or so will see more changes in St. Andrew's to make it more suited for the 21st century.

Perhaps we should remember that St.Wilfred sent his monks to Corbridge to minister to the needs of the local inhabitants - and we in the 21st century, as regular worshippers, have the same task not only to worship but to go out into our lovely village and minister to our other villagers.

Activities based at St. Andrew's include regular worship, a young people's church, a mothers' union, a women's fellowship, prayer groups and a choir.



One of the most famous north country fairs used to be held annually on 4th July at Stagshaw Bank near Corbridge. Before the days of railways it was a large cattle and sheep fair and at times 100,000 of the latter were on sale. Many of the sheep were brought by Highland drovers from Scotland. The fair was a great festival for the district. Rev. James Raine thus describes the scene.

Upon reaching Stagshaw Bank, a large tract of open ground, not far from Corbridge, inclining swiftly from the Roman Wall to the Tyne, we found ourselves in the midst of a great annual fair held on this declivity, chiefly for cattle, but in truth for goods of all kinds, 'things', as an old inventory at Durham has it, 'moveable or moving themselves'. At this place, which is a solitary field, at a distance from any population, there are great well known periodical gatherings of buyers and sellers from the whole north of Eng {and, on the western or eastern coast; and the southern counties of Scotland send forth in abundance their men and goods to buy, sell, or be sold.

In a large pasture upon the slope of a hill, with a wide prospect, extending down the valley of the Tyne as far as Gateshead Fell, and in every other direction except the north, having an almost unlimited view of a spreading tract of country, there were gathered together, without the slightest attempt at the order which is of necessity observed in markets and fairs held within the walls of a town, horses and cattle, and sheep and swine, and in short everything which is bred or of use in farming operations, with thousands of other things, which it would be no easy task to enumerate; and then there were people of all ages, from all quarters, and in all kinds of costume; the Scotchman in his kilt, and the Yorkshireman in his smock-frock; and every variety of booth or hut for refreshment or dissipation.

That we had stumbled on a fair of Roman origin may not, I think, be doubted. The situation of Stagshaw Bank is an extremely convenient one for gathering together at stated periods of the year the produce of this the eastern side of the island; and as long as the Romans were in possession of Britain, and there was an immense population along the line of the Wall from sea to sea, the natives would find a ready market for the produce of their fields and farmyards.

The Wall, which runs at the distance of a mile northwards, would be a protection to the sellers of cattle and wares in that direction; and from the south they had nothing to fear.

Pictured above a painting by Ralph Hedley, shows the fair being proclaimed in the market place of Corbridge by the bailiff of the Duke of Northumberland.



Aydon Castle, a private residence for almost seven hundred years has now been taken over by the Ministry of Public Building and Works. It is an almost perfect example of a fortified manor house built at the end of the thirteenth 'century. It stands midway between the large Northumbrian castles . like Alnwick and the small towers or peles of which two can be seen in Corbridge. It reached by road from Aydon or by foot from Corbridge.

The original house was probably commenced by Robert de Raymes in 1296, and license to embattle and fortify was granted in 1305. Later owners were the Carnabys, the Carrs, the Collinsons, and the Blacketts of Matfen.

The first buildings comprised the house and the inner bailey. Later (probably in the fourteenth century) the courtyard and outer bailey were added. The entire defences are still astonishingly complete. The original main building is cruciform in plan, well built, and two storeys in height. The hall and chief rooms were on the second floor and were entered by an external staircase in the courtyard. The main hall is lighted at the east end by two windows each of two pointed lights separated by a decorated shaft and enclosed within a pointed arch. There is no fireplace.

Divided from the hall by a narrow passage or screens is the kitchen with fireplace, locker, kitchen sink and two fine original windows. The fireplace was added by the Carnaby family in the sixteenth century and on it is rudely carved their coat of arms. At the opposite end of the Great Hall was the solar.

The room below the Great Hall has a fireplace whose jambs are moulded shafts of fine workmanship. But the most striking feature is the chimney which constitutes the most singular feature of the south front of the castle. For about half its height it has the ordinary buttress-like appearance of a projecting chimney. Half way up it becomes semi-circular and terminates at the parapet in a conical cap. Beneath the cap are two slits for the escape of the smoke. In the basement of the west wing are the stables. The roof is of stone and vaulted, and the mangers are also constructed of stone. A battlement parapet runs round the whole of the house, except the west wing. The water is carried from the gutters by a series of projecting stone spouts or gargoyles.

A rock on the edge of the dene, which the castle overlooks, is called "Jock's Leap". One legend says it was the spot from which a frantic lover threw himself into the dene below. Another tells us that a Scottish mosstrooper, captured during a raid, was condemned by Sir Robert Clavering to be thrown to his death from the castle battlements. He escaped by leaping to a rock on the edge of the dene.



The quiet hamlet of Halton has a castle, an old church and a Roman fort. Halton Tower is of fourteenth century date. It is four storeys in height (including the basement). In the fifteenth century a manor house was erected on the north side of the tower, and in the seventeenth century a Jacobean house was built on the east side.

The township lies on the Roman wall, adjacent to Watling street, 5 miles NE of Hexham. Acres, 798. Pop. 45. Houses, 8. Halton Castle, ½ a mile S of the Roman wall, belonged to the Haltons; passed to the Carnabys; belongs now to Sir E. Blackett; consists chiefly of stones taken from Roman buildings; and is a massive square tower, with corner turrets. A Jacobean farm house is attached to it; and has some Roman mouldings and a weathered sculpture, which probably was part of a sepulchral slab. A small old church is near the castle, and appears, like the castle, to have been built chiefly of Roman stones.

Halton-Chesters, on the Roman wall, was the station Hunnum, occupied by the Ala Sabiniana; comprised an area of 4¼ acres; but is now so obliterated that even an antiquary who has not been forewarned, might pass through it without recognising it; yet, so late as 1827, when the last portion of it was subjected to the plough, was found to contain numerous substructions of very careful masonry. The chapelry includes also Halton-Shields township, and is annexed to the vicarage of Corbridge in the diocese of Durham.

Halton Castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and the three buildings stand in a very pleasant situation unlike so many border holds.



This magnificent silver platter measuring twenty inches by fifteen inches was found by nine-year old Isabel Cutter in the bank of the River Tyne at Corbridge, near Hadrian's Wall, in February 1735. It is probable that gradual erosion of the river bank was washing out part of a fourth- century silver hoard, as other vessels were found there on various occasions between 1731 and 1760.

Corbridge (Corstopitum) was a Roman garrison town.The scene shows the god Apollo at the entrance to a shrine, holding a bow, his lyre at his feet. His twin sister Artemis (Diana), the hunter goddess, enters from the left, and the helmeted goddess with her hand raised to indicate conversation is Athena (Minerva). The two female figures in the centre are less obvious. The entire scene is clearly a shrine of Apollo. The Greek island of Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and Athena was also worshipped there. If the Delian shrine is depicted then the older woman sitting spinning may be Leto, the mother of the twins, and the standing woman her sister Ortygia, who was transformed into the island of Delos. In the foreground stands an altar flanked by Artemis's hound and fallen stag and a griffin, a mythical beast associated with Apollo.

The decoration of the platter and its style indicate a fourth-century AD date. Its place of manufacture is unknown but may have been a major city in the Mediterranean, North Africa or Asia Minor. Ephesos has been suggested because of its links with the cults of Artemis, Apollo and Leto. Though no other piece has survived, some were sketched or described when they were originally found. At least one of the lost objects bore Christian symbols. We can compare the treasure with the Mildenhall treasure where high-quality pagan decoration is combined with a few Christian references.

The Latin term lanx (tray) was used for vessels of this shape by eighteenth-century scholars.



The Roman fort near Halton is called Haltonchesters (in Roman times ONNUM or HUNNUM). It covers five acres and is divided in two by the modern road. It was garrisoned by a cavalry regiment called the Ala Sabiniana. From Corstopitum it is distant about two and a half miles. It guards Watling Street which traverses the valley immediately beneath it.

A portion of a monumental slab, now in the Museum of Antiquities in Newcastle upon Tyne, dates the building of the fort to between 122 A.D. and 126 A.D. At a later date an extension was built on to the south west side giving the fort an unusual L plan.



The Roman site at Corbridge lies half a mile west of the village, It was originally a fort and then a supply base which flourished during the Roman occupation of Scotland. Later it became in the third and fourth centuries an arsenal with a large civilian settlement around it. The original fort was probably built during the governorship of Julius Agricola (A.D. 78-84) who conquered the north of England and the southern part of Scotland. Remnants of this Roman fort, with its earth rampart, have been discovered. It was probably garrisoned by a cavalry regiment from Gaul called the Ala Petriana. A tombstone in Hexham Church shows a standard bearer of this unit. It probably came from a cemetery at Corbridge.

When Hadrian built the Roman Wall in A.D. 122 the Corbridge fort seems to have been replaced by the one at Halton.

In A.D. 139 the camp at Corbridge was rebuilt in preparation for the invasion of Scotland, its position on Dene Street making it an important supply base. But its period of greatest importance came when Severus in A.D. 208 started his Scottish campaign and Corstopitum became the supply base for the whole eastern part of the frontier. It fulfilled this function until the Romans finally abandoned the north of England.

The civilian settlement at Corbridge was very important. Here lived many wealthy merchants, as well as craftsmen such as smiths, potters and leather workers whose tools may' be seen in the Museum. Besides catering for the needs of the troops the large civilian community was also engaged in trade with the natives to the north of the wall. Corbridge was also the centre of a rich agricultural area and nearby mines of coal, lead and iron were exploited. The fort was probably occupied until a few years before A.D. 400. What became of the civilian population we do not know for certain but within a century and a half the village of Corbridge was in existence.

Excavations at the Roman site were started in 1906 and a wealth of material illustrating Roman life in north Britain has been found, including a Roman Altar pictured above. The Museum exhibits many of these discoveries while the remains of numerous buildings can be seen on the site which is under the control of the Ministry of Works.



Dilston Castle is a ruined 15th century tower house situated at Dilston, near Corbridge, Northumberland, England. It has Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed building protection. A three storey tower was built by Sir William Claxton on the site of an earlier pele tower in the 15th century. In 1621 the castle was acquired by the Radclyffe family as a result of the marriage of Edward Radclyffe to the Dilston heiress. The Catholic Radclyffes built a private chapel adjacent to the house in 1616 ( the chapel also has Ancient Monument and Listed Building status). In 1622 Sir Francis Radclyffe incorporated the tower house into a new manor house, which was to become known as Dilston Hall. A later Francis Radclyffe was a supporter of the Royalist cause during the Civil War and his estates including Dilston Hall were sequestrated by the Commonwealth. The property was reverted to the family at the Restoration. The 3rd Earlbegan in 1709 an ambitious programme to replace the old house with a substantial mansion. The new mansion was never completed. The 3rd Earl James Radclyffe took part in the Jacobite uprising of 1715, was convicted of treason and executed in 1716. The ghost of his wife is reputed to haunt the castle. His brother Charles Radclyffe, also involved in the rebellion, escaped to France, but was (like his brother) attainted of high treason. He returned to support the later 1745 uprising, was captured and executed in 1746 in accordance with the sentence imposed 30 years before. The attainder of the 3rd Earl would normally have resulted in his property (including Dilston) passing to the Crown. However, he only had a life interest under his 1712 marriage settlement, so that his estates passed to his 2-year-old son John, who died aged 18. On his death in 1731, the estates would have passed to his uncle Charles Ratclyffe, who he was still living abroad, but he had also been attainted in 1716. After him, the estates might have passed to his son James Bartholomew Radclyffe, 4th Earl of Newburgh, but an Act of Parliament had been passed in 1731 amending ("explaining") an Act of Queen Anne concerning naturalisation so as to exclude the children born abroad to attainted persons from being British subjects. This prevented James Lord Kinnard and any siblings from inheriting (since foreigners could not own land in England). Accordingly, the estate would have reverted to the right heirs of the 3rd Earl, but his interest was also forfeit to the Crown.

The 1731 Act directed that the Court of Exchequer should sell the property, but it was not sold. Instead, the Greenwich Hospital Act 1735 directed that Crown income from the estate (after payment of various annuities and the interest on mortgages) should be employed to completing the building of Greenwich Hospital. A further Act was passed in 1738 to deal with difficulties that had arisen under this. Following the execution of Charles Ratcliffe in 1746 (in accordance with his 1716 attainder), his Lord Kinnaird as his eldest son petitioned the king, claiming to be entitled the estate, but the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital refuted his claim, because his right had not been claimed before the Forfeit Estates Commission and because he was an alien. Being unable to finance litigation over this, he asked that the king should make financial provision for him, and his mother Charlotte Maria Radclyffe, 3rd Countess of Newburgh (with his approval) asked for provision for his brother and three sisters. Accordingly, a compromise was reached that the Hospital Commissioners should pay Lord Kinnaird £24000 and that £6000 should be divided among his siblings, else they would have all become destitute upon the death of their mother.

On the Countess' death in 1755, Lord Kinnaird succeeded as 4th Earl of Newburgh, and lived until 1786. The 5th Earl of Newburgh then applied to Parliament for Restitution of the estates, but was granted an annuity of £2500, which he and his widow enjoyed until the deaths in 1814 and 1861 respectively. The Hospital's revenue from the estates had risen by the 1780s to £15000. The estate remained in the hands of Greenwich Hospital until the Commissioners until it was transferred to the Admiralty Board under Greenwich Hospital Act 1865. The Board then sold the estate to Wentworth Blackett Beaumont, 1st Baron Allendale. Dilston Hall (left uncompleted on the execution of the 3rd Earl) was used as the residence for Greenwich Hospital's steward, but the Commissioners ordered its demolition in 1765, leaving standing only the castle tower and the chapel.

A restoration of the buildings began in 2001 and the castle was opened to the public in 2003

In 2004, £220,000 was awarded to begin work renovating the early 17th-century bridge (The Lord's Bridge) near the castle, as well as securing the survival of the Jacobean range of buildings with cobbled floor that share the grounds with the castle. The recent excavations have revealed the remains of the demolished Dilston Hall and its 17th-century service range and have also found evidence of medieval occupation of the site. The restorations of the castle, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, included work on a new roof, repointing, and the construction of a new floor, constructed of timber, and a staircase in the castle to access the upper levels.The castle also shares its grounds with a chapel, which is also protected under the same historic building laws as the castle.

The castle is situated on the same grounds as Dilston College, a residential college for young adults with learning difficulties. The college was originally a maternity ward, until the Lord Rix changed it into the current learning difficulties college, having a daughter with ‘learning difficulties’ himself.



Corbridge is bypassed to the north by the A69 road, linking it to Newcastle and Carlisle. It is also linked to Newcastle and the A1 by the A695 which passes about 1 mile (1.6 km) away on the south side of the River Tyne.

Corbridge railway station The town is served by Corbridge railway station on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, also known as the Tyne Valley Line. The line was opened in 1838, and links the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in Tyne and Wear with Carlisle in Cumbria. The line follows the course of the River Tyne through Northumberland. Passenger services on the Tyne Valley Line are operated by Northern Rail and First Scot Rail. The line is also heavily used for freight.

The railway station is about 1 mile (1.6 km) away on the south side of the River Tyne.