Bellister Castle
Bellister Castle
Bellister Castle is not one, but several fortifications located on the south bank of the River Tyne, across from the town of Haltwhistle. The first castle was built on the motte and bailey plan in the late 11th century. Of this, little remains beyond the earthworks and the tall mound of the motte.

A second castle, or, more properly, a hall house, was built atop the mound in the 13th or 14th century. Sometime later a tower was added to the stone castle, and still later, 16th and 17th-century additions helped produce the structure we can see today.

Parts of the castle were rebuilt in the Victorian period, and again, in the 20th century.

According to legend, Bellister is home to the ghost of a murdered minstrel, known as the Grey Man of Bellister. The minstrel was reputedly savagely killed by the hunting dogs of the Lord of Bellister, and today he wanders the castle grounds. In the grounds is an old sycamore known as The Hanging Tree, where, during the Civil War, royalist cavaliers are reputed to have hung defeated Parliamentary troops.

The castle is owned by the National Trust, but the Trust, for reasons best known to themselves, have never opened it to the public. It is let to a tenant, but the exterior of the castle can easily be viewed from the surrounding properties.