Documents show that Robert Manners was already holding lands within the barony which was probably the manor of Etal. Due to the proximity of
the violent and bloody times that people lived in, the timber hall was replaced
by stronger and more defensible structure.
Another Robert is recorded as Lord of Etal, having been knighted in 1278
for services to the king. Robert would
have served both Edward II and I in the Scottish wars, however another Robert
(son) is recorded as Lord of Etal in 1336. Scotland
In 1338 The Manners’ neighbours, the Herons of Ford, obtained a licence to fortify their manor house into a castle. In 1341 Robert Manners followed suit and began to fortify Etal. His son, John, who continued with the building of the fortifications, and in 1368, Etal is referred to as a castle, succeeded Robert. John died sometime before 1402 when another Robert became Lord of Etal. It is believed he married a Baxter heiress as substantial lands passed into the hands of the Manners family.
His second son Robert, who was an active leader and accompanied Sir Henry Percy on his border duties, succeeded John. He was awarded a knighthood, but was killed during the War of the Roses when he served with the Percy’s for the Lancastrian cause. Both Robert and the Earl of Northumberland fell at the battle of Towton in 1461.
Eventually the Lord of the manor moved south and the lands were left in the hands of a constable, John Collingwood. In 1513, an army of 30 000 Scots led by James IV invaded
whilst Henry VIII was abroad fighting another war. The England castles
started to fall and Etal was captured and turned into a Scots stronghold. The
Earl of Surrey raised 20 000 northerners to take arms leading to the English
victory at Northumbria Flodden. James and many Scottish notable families were
killed, and the Scots artillery was taken to Etal for safekeeping.
The union of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603 ended Etal’s role as a fortified stronghold against the Scottish. The need for castles at strategic locations ceased and Etal became a manor. The Crown granted the manor to George Hume who became Baron Hume of Berwick. However Etal still continued to pass through the hands of some colourful characters.