The Jolly Fisherman


The Jolly Fisherman
Dunstanburgh Castle

The Jolly Fisherman
The Jolly Fisherman has been a pub since 1847 when it was opened by the fisherman, Chas Archbold (1795-1855). For more than 100 years it functioned as it originally was until the adjoining cottage was added in 1954. It was extended further in 1982 when the upstairs extension was built accommodating the sea view. This is how it now stands.

Previous Landlords of the Jolly Fisherman

1847 - ? Chas Archbold
1859 - ? Robert Grey & Harry Grey (son)
George Fortune
1938 - 1940 Peter Ormston
1940 - 1963 Walter Proudlock
1963 George Renwick
1963 - 1974 Harry Wood
1974 - 1976 John Wood (son)
1976 - 1994 Albert George
1994 - Billy Silk


Craster is a small fishing village which lies almost halfway along the Heritage Coast - a twenty mile stretch of the coastline designated as one of the nations "Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty".

The Village owes its name to the Craster Family who have lived at the site of Craster Tower for almost a millennium. The existing fortified tower was built in 1450 with a much later Georgian addition. The name "Craster" is derived from "Craucestr", meaning "an old fortification with crows", which once stood on the site of Craster Tower.
In mediaeval times the village was situated in the grass field just below and to the east of Craster Tower. It was not until late in the 18th century that houses were built where the village stands now. The first houses were built where the gardens are today, just below Dunstanburgh Road. It was the Craster Family who built the present village harbour in 1906 in memory of Captain Craster who was killed during active service in India in 1904. There is a memorial plaque in the harbour wall.

Craster was once a thriving fishing village and years ago when the North Sea Swarmed with herring and other fish, some 20 boats the four herring/kipper yards in the village. Robson's yard is dated 1856 and was the first smokehouse. During the season crews of herring-girls each split and gutted 2000 fish a day. Barrels of salt herring were exported to Germany and Russia, and fresh kippers were sent to Billingsgate Market.

"Smoking" was one way of keeping the fish edible during the winter months, and for sending them off to far away markets. Fishing is still important but now only a few boats, usually "cobles", fish from Craster harbour.

Today only one "Smokehouse" in the village remains, but the fish are still smoked in the traditional way, over fires of oak sawdust so the quality and taste of the "Famous Craster Kippers" remains unchanged.

Craster also prospered from the stone that came from it's quarry, which is now the car park. Whinstone - a hard blue/grey stone which gives the shape to the local landscape was quarried to make building stone "setts", and stones were shipped off to London to become kerbstones. When tarmacadam was invented, the stone was ground into chips and mixed with tar. The stone was taken down to the harbour by an overhead rail system of wires and buckets to be tipped into wooden bins on the south pier and then loaded onto the boats at high tide. These bins were taken down at the beginning of the 2nd World War, as they thought they could be used as landmarks for enemy planes. The quarry closed in 1939, briefly re-opening during World War 2. Part of it is now the "Arnold Nature Reserve" which is under the protection of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

If you follow the coastal footpath North from Craster for about 1 1/2 miles you arrive at the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle (See Below)

Leaving Craster on the coastal footpath heading south you will pass Cullernose Point which is a popular fishing spot, the "Bathing House" built by the 2nd Earl Grey for the family to use when they went to the beach and as this Earl had 16 children it would be put to good use! and the small secluded cove of "Howick Haven" where you can see the "rumbling Kern" an enclosed cavern through which the sea gurgles. A walk inland then takes you to Howick Hall, home of the Grey Family since 1319. The grounds, which are open to the public during summer months host a magnificent flower display of azaleas, rhododendrons and "Silver Wood", created in 1931 to commemorate the 5th Earl Grey's Silver wedding anniversary.

For more excellent pictures of Old Craster - we recommend


Dunstanburgh Castle
Dramatically situated on an exposed coastal headland, Dunstanburgh Castle within its mighty curtain wall visible for miles around is one of the biggest castles in England.

It was Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, the richest man in England after the King, who ordered the massive castle to be built in 1313 when he was leading a great baronial revolt against Edward II (reigned 1307-27). Although the Scots were raiding the north, the sheer scale of the castle suggests the Earl wanted to warn the King of his political and military might.

The castle was protected by high curtain walls with a wall walk, and great turrets and towers. Cliffs and the sea added further protection to the east and the north, and a ditch protected the west. The entrance on the south side was defended by an imposing four towered gatehouse (this became the keep when John of Gaunt made extensive alterations in the 1380s). Many of these wall defenses remain, including the Constable's Tower with its range of rooms for the commanding officer and his staff.

Under John of Gaunt's ownership the castle was overhauled, perhaps to increase accommodation for his large retinues, and to rival the castles of the Percy family (Earls of Northumberland) at nearby Warkworth and Alnwick. He built a new heavily fortified gatehouse and self-contained inner ward where there are remains of lodgings, a large oven which baked bread for the garrison, and a well. The outline of a large outer ward can also be traced. It contained barns for storing grain and fodder from the Duchy's extensive estates, and in times of danger and border raids local people and livestock could also take refuge here.