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What Is Lumley Castle?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Lumley Castle is one of the best preserved castles in Northern England. Like many British castles, it is open to the public, and available for people interested in visiting castles or, better yet, in staying in castles to partake in the historical ambiance. In addition to its historical worth, Lumley Castle, in a manner befitting these types of castles, comes with a resident ghost; it is apparently haunted by the former mistress Lady Lily Lumley, who, according to news reports, is said to have, on different occasions, unnerved players from the Australian and West Indies cricket teams.

Located near Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne, Lumley Castle was built between 1388 and 1392 by Sir Ralph Lumley. It was originally a manor house, but Sir Ralph Lumley, a decorated soldier, obtained permission from the Bishop of Durham to convert it into a castle. A few years after its completion, Sir Ralph Lumley was arrested for conspiring against the monarch King Henry IV and trying to help put Richard II on the English throne. Sir Ralph Lumley and his son Thomas were executed for treason in 1400 at Cirencester. The lady of the castle, the aforementioned Lady Lily Lumley, was murdered and thrown into a well by Catholic priests for refusing to convert to that religion sometime in 1441.

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After the execution of Sir Ralph Lumley and his son, Lumley Castle and its adjoining lands were confiscated by the Crown and given to the Earl of Somerset. He died without a heir in 1421, and the castle and the lands were then returned to Sir Ralph Lumley's grandson Thomas Lumley. The latter regained royal favor and was made a peer and the constable of Scarborough Castle. The Lumley descendants have retained ownership ever since, and the castle is currently owned by the Earl of Scarborough, a peerage created for a Lumley in 1690.

In the 1970s, Lumley Castle was rented to the No Ordinary Hotels group and converted into a high-class hotel. People interested in the historical experience of staying in a castle can contact the hotel at its website for accommodation details. The castle offers 73 lavish bedrooms, and the elegant Black Knight restaurant is open throughout the week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with afternoon tea served at the Library Bar. The castle can also be booked as a conference venue and for weddings and wedding receptions. The castle also hosts murder mystery dinners, Elizabethan banquets, and a variety of Christmas and New Year events.

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