Bellister Castle

  • Description

    "The oldest uninhabited part of the building, a fortified tower house or bastle, is a roofless shell and in poor condition. It adjoins a 19th century 'pseudo' castellated house incorporating a revised 17th century datestone all of which stand on an artificial mound. Bellister Castle is a Grade I Listed Building (List entry Number: 1045292) It is described in detail on Gatehouse: The castle is reputed to be haunted by the 'Grey Man' - the ghost of a minstrel said to have been unjustly accused of being a spy. Legend has it that the musician had called at the castle and afforded food and a night's rest, only for the lord of the castle to become suspicious of him. Picking up on his host's hostile manner, the minstrel left the castle instead of retiring to bed - which clearly confirmed the lord's suspicions, and he set his hunting dogs to go after him. But the dogs tore the musician limb from limb, and to this day he is said to haunt the castle grounds, with some guests reporting hearing the sound of baying hounds and a man screaming. You can read the full gory tale here: The Local Historian's Table Book vol 3, p.22-25 by Moses Aaron Richardson (1846). The grounds are also home to an old sycamore, known as the hanging tree, where royalist Cavaliers during the civil war are said to have executed defeated parliamentary troops, known as Roundheads. The property is part of the Bellister Estate, which was owned by Robert de Ros and his descendants from 1191 to 1295. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1976, and was available in 2015 to be rented unfurnished on a long-term contract for £1,500 per month although good sleep cannot be guaranteed. "Hard by the banks o' bonny Tyne, His grave they diggèd deep; An' willows o' the greenest green Tell where he sleeps his sleep. Sae, should you visit Bellister, I'd hae ye early gan', Ye'll meet, gin ye be late astir, The Bellister grey man." From The Grey Man o' Bellister in English Border Ballads by Peter Burn (1874). "The Gray Man no longer appears at Bellister nor traverses the broken pathway near which the clump of willows still responds in sad murmurs to the wizard blast of evening. But Bellister and its vicinity continue to be a haunted and forbidden place after nightfall. The rustic passes it with a beating heart; the schoolboy's bravery is over and his merriment hushed till it is by; and the rider, trusting neither his eye nor his ear, applies the spur to his steed and hurries past. The dread of an unexpiated crime and of a mystery unrevealed hangs unlifted from the spot and nature, as she spreads the pall of midnight over the lonesome way and the gloomy ruin, and as the sweep of the rushing river combines with the moaning breeze and the owl's funeral scream, seems to sympathise with the peasant's awe and approve his reverence for the life of a fellow-being." From The Denham Tracts vol.2 p.188(1892)." Photo by Andrew Curtis, 2018.
  • Owner

    Andrew Curtis
  • Source

    Geograph (Geograph)
  • License

    What does this mean? Creative Commons License
  • Further information

    Resource type: Image
    Added by: Simon Cotterill
    Last modified: 3 years, 11 months ago
    Viewed: 294 times
    Picture Taken: 2018-07-11
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