History of Ford Castle

Ford Castle is an interesting castle with an exciting story! The site has played a central role in the wars between England and Scotland for centuries, and has housed Royalty. All our students are taken on a complete tour through the chamber of King James IV, the dungeons and more.

Medieval Roots

The Castle started out as a manor house for the Ford Heron family, and written documents begin to mention Ford after the Norman conquest of 1066.Ford officially became a castle in 1287 to defend the English border from Scottish invasions. By 1367, the castle had a new wall and large towers to defend against marauding clans from the North, and two of the original towers are still visible today!

Royal Connections and Famous Battles

In 1385, Scots were able to attack and devastate the castle, and the fighting continued for decades. In 1513, James IV of Scotland invaded with a large army, and stayed at Ford Castle for days before the famous battle of Flodden. The King died at Flodden,not far from the castle, fighting the army of King Henry VIII, and was the last British king to die in battle. Recently, the battle was re-enacted by history enthusiasts to mark its 500th anniversary.

Reconstruction, Renaissance and Victorian Values

The castle looks a little friendlier these days. In the 1790s, the DeLaval family commissioned a major reconstruction to make the castle their home. The Lady of Waterford, a well-known artist, lived here and made changes to nearby Ford Village in the late 1880s; she redesigned all of the buildings and built a school for the local children. The buildings she designed are part of a beautiful village which our students love to visit.

New and Modern, the Living History

Ford Castle is currently owned by Lord Joicey and his family, and is part of the Ford and Etal Estates. The castle was a family home until 1907, and a hospital for soldiers during the second world war until the 1950s. For the last 60 years, the castle has been used as an outdoor activity centre for schools and young people, inspiring thousands of students to reach their full potential and try something new