The ruins of Norham Castle are bleak, but impressive. This was a huge fortress, founded by Ranulph Flambard, Bishop of Durham from 1099 until 1128. The castle guards a vital crossing point high over the River Tweed, one of the most important strongholds in the turbulent border region. It was known as being one of the most dangerous places in England - Norham was besieged at least 13 times, once for nearly a year by Robert Bruce. Like nearby Etal, it too fell to James IV's forces in 1513, just before his defeat at Flodden Field.
Probably the most significant event in Norham’s history, though, was in May 1291, when Bishop Anthony Beck entertained Edward I at the castle while the king arbitrated between 13 competitors for the Scottish throne (a process known as the Great Cause). Edward chose John Baliol in 1292 and three days later Baliol paid homage to Edward in the hall at Norham.