Newark is a town located in Nottinghamshire, on the banks of the river Trent.
Especially for a tourist, Newark looks like any other beautiful and quiet English town to enjoy a nice walk.
But if you are a tourist interested in history, you must pay attention to the ruins of an old and impressive castle. It was the first stone castle in Newark and was built by a powerful Bishop of Lincoln, Alexander “The Magnificent”, circa 1130. It occupies the site of an earlier Norman castle which was made of earth and timber. Archaeologists have also uncovered evidence of pre-historic, Norman and Saxon settlements.
Newark castle had been a significant part of English history twice. The first one was in 1216. King John, who was suffering an open revolt from his nobles, headed to Nottingham when he felt suddenly ill and took refuge in Newark castle, owned by the Bishop of Lincoln. He never resumed the trip and died on October 19th. Local legend states that he was poisoned by the monks and died in the Bishop’s private room (its remains can be seen in the next pictures).
The castle remained under the ownership of the bishops until 1547, when King Henry VIII took it for the Crown and was leased to several magnates until the Civil War that confronted King Charles I and the Parliament in the 17th century.
Newark supported the King during the conflict and the castle became an important royalist garrison, holding out against three long and bitter sieges in 1643, 1644 and 1646. Finally, on 5th May 1646 Charles I was captured in Southwell and ordered Newark to surrender to Members of Parliament. The order was given for the castle to be destroyed and the buildings were blown up or removed. The rest of the walls became a target for stone robbers and that explains its present day state.
There is another building in Newark-on-Trent that is worth a visit, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. The church that we can see today is the third on this site, and it occupies the site of a Saxon church.
All pictures are taken by the author.