Cartington Castle and Great Tosson Tower
Wed 27th June 2012
Fingers crossed the weather was going to hold off; they had forecast rain for early afternoon.
Today’s the tale of two castles (well one tower and one castle to be precise) so after meeting everybody at Rothbury Tourist Information Centre we headed north up onto Addycombe Hill and the lovely wooded section high above Rothbury.
Just as we reached the woods the drizzle started to fall but it certainly did not dampen spirits everybody still enjoyed the great views from this side of the valley.
After leaving the woods we headed over in the direction of Debdon Farm and Primrose Wood before heading North West stopping for lunch and then continuing on to initially South Cartington and then Cartington itself.
Cartinton Castle was looking fairly sad for itself, on a damp June afternoon. It is a Grade 1 listed building. Its first recorded owner was Ralph Fitzmain who held it in 1154. In the late 14th century a pele tower was built. This was extended to include a great hall, and probably a tower-defended courtyard, by John Cartington in 1442 when he was granted a licence to crenellate his home.
In November 1515 Mary, Queen of Scots (with her baby daughter Margaret) stayed here on her way to Harbottle Castle. The castle continued to be occupied until 1860 and in 1887 Lord Arnmstrong restored a section of the castle.
From Cartington we then dropped down to Thropton crossed the river and rose up to firstly Tosson Lime Kiln and the Great Tosson Tower itself.
Tosson Tower was probably built at the end of the 15th Century. From 1553 it was used as part of the Lord Deputy General of the Marches’ system of watchtowers designed to curb lawless reivers of Redesmouth and Tynedale. Two men were stationed to keep watch every night. Coquetdale was a Royalist area during the Civil War when the garrison was increased to a lieutenant and six dragoons. Asleep in their beds they were easily captured when parliamentary troops arrived in July 1648.
From Tosson we again dropped back to the valley floor and crossed the River Coquet before making our way along the river bank back into Rothbury.
By the time we reached the village the sun was coming out and the waterproof coats where well put away.
We had covered the walk at a really good pace and the great company was appreciated,