Elsdon : An Early Centre Of The Lordship
Virtually nothing is known of the history of this castle. It must have gone out of use by the mid-13th century at the latest, for it is not mentioned as a capital messuage in the Inquisition Post Mortem for Gilbert de Umfraville in 1245 (Cal IPM i, 12 no. 49; CalDocScot i, no.1667), nor is there any record of land held in demesne by the Umfraville lord at Elsdon in the feudal return of 1242/43 (Liber Feodorum ii, 1121).
At that stage held by three landowners are recording ploughland in the vill, each possessing a carucate (roughly 120 acres), one of whom, Robert de Umfraville, was a younger brother of the then lord, Gilbert (ibid.). This would be consistent with the theory that the demesne land at Elsdon was alienated by the previous lord, Richard de Umfraville, between 1195-1226, following the final abandonment of the castle, part of this land being settled on his second son, Robert (cf. Hedley 1968, 210).
The complete lack of documentary evidence relating to the castle's foundation or occupation, in itself emphasises that the castle was in use at a very early stage in the life of the liberty and not later (cf. Cathcart King 1983, 332). It is likely, however, that the castle was sited at the pre-Norman estate-centre (caput) of Redesdale.