Narrowgate House, at 31 & 33 Narrowgate, is widely known as General Lambert’s House, and was listed under that name in 1977. But there never was a General Lambert.
In 1811 John Lambert, a solicitor and property developer bought two small properties on Narrowgate. Dating from the 16th or 17th century, number 31 was probably just one room deep, with a room on the ground floor, another on the first floor, and an attic with dormer windows. No. 33 was bigger: again one room deep, but two rooms wide, and again two floors and an attic. The two houses were separated by an alleyway
John Lambert had the front of the building re-faced, and the alleyway filled in. He added a parapet, and extensions at the back to create Narrowgate House. We don’t know exactly when the work was done, but we do know that it was completed by 1827, because the new footprint is shown on the map of Alnwick that John Wood drew that year.
John Lambert was succeeded by his son Anthony in 1849. Following his death in 1856, the property was sold to William Dickson in 1861. He was a founding partner of the Law firm which later became Dickson, Archer & Thorp. They occupied the building until 2003. Another extension was added around 1865 and toilets inserted in the stairwell in the late C19th / early C20th.
But John Lambert was never a general. There were generals called Lambert, but none associated with this building. To call this General Lambert’s house is as much a work of imagination as the fake book cover that we created as an illustration.
We have been sent a correction:
Major General Craster Lambert did exist. He was the son of a John Lambert and Julia need Mounsey. George joined the army and had a stunning career. He retired after 28 years mostly served abroad. In 1869 such was his fame he was presented to Queen Victoria when he was Major General Craster Lambert. He married the young daughter of Major Brown of Duxford Hall in 1876. He had a number of daughters and one son killed in WW1
He never lived at Narrowgate but stayed with his brother Anthony there on rare home leave. He stayed at Belvedere Terrace as well.