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Northumberland takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria (north of the River Humber). For centuries it served as the battleground for the struggle between north and south. After the arrival of the Normans in the 11th century, large numbers of castles and peles (fortified buildings) were built and hundreds of these remain. All this turmoil made life a tad unsettled till the 18th century brought calm. Today the land’s turbulent history has echoes all around the sparsely populated countryside.