Bellister Castle - Northumberland

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Bellister Castle

Location OS Landranger sheet 87 NY 701 631

How to get there From A69 Haltwhistle bypass

A Motte was thought to be known here in c12

Still to visit for this site

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History

NY 701631/ Habitable/NT South of Haltwhistle and close to the South Tyne, there is a large oval motte (61m x 46m at base, 46m x 31m at summit) surrounded by a ditch (1m-2m deep, 6m wide) on which stands an C15 L-shaped tower house attached to an early C19 castellated house. The Motte is thought to date from C12.

Bellister was acquired by Gerrard Salveyn in 1312 but confiscated from him in c1354. The tower was said to have been built by John de Blenkinsopp, he having gained possession in the 1480s. A survey of 1541 informs “At Bellester is a bastell house* in thoccupanc'n of one Blenkinsoppe & is in measurable good rep'ac'ons.” The structure was possibly built as hall house in C13, with a tower added to the west in C14. It was altered circa 1600 and there is a date-plate on the house "1669".

The C17 house was altered, this said to be by John Dobson in 1826, and 1890 and partly rebuilt 1901-5 following a fire. It had by then been in the ownership of John Kirksop of Wrexham and it was he who built the present house which was inhabited by the Jackson family from c1890 until 1975 when it was presented to the National Trust.

They like their Legends in these parts, Bellister Castle's Ghost is called the "Grey Man"

*(The term 'bastell house'was a term used for high quality buildings). Bellester.

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