Belsay Castle

Northumberland, England

City/Town/Village: Harnham
District: Northumberland
County: Northumberland
Latitude/Longitude: 55.1013, -1.8687
Postcode: NE20 0EZ
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)


English Heritage

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Belsay Castle is a 14th century stone three storey tower house, founded by John de Strivelyn. A two storey Tudor mansion was added to the west side and later the mansion was given a Jacobean west wing, now ruinous. The impressive unaltered tower, is crowned by four round corner bartizan's, standing above the machicolated parapet. In the vaulted basement is a kitchen, with a well and above is a hall and a solar, both with fireplaces and tall traceried windows with seats. There is a north wing of four storeys and in the southwest corner, a spiral stair and six small rooms.

Belsay Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:

NZ 0878

26/7 Belsay Castle
27.8.52 (formerly listed as
Nos 1 and 2 Old Castle

GV ll

Towerhouse with attached house. c.1370, attached house added 1614, possibly
around earlier core, by Thomas Middleton and Dorothy, his wife. Ruined fragments
of early C18 west wing attached to left.

Squared stone and ashlar. Tower has lead roof, house is roofless.
Tower of 3 storeys stepped in at first floor. Chamfered plinth. South side:
on ground floor a slit window; on first floor a large 2-light mullioned-and-
transomed window with cinquefoil heads to lights, and left of this a smaller
2-light mullioned window with trefoiled heads; on 2nd floor a 2-light mullioned
window with cinquefoil heads. Battlemented machicolated parapet on close-set
triple-step corbels; higher round corner turrets on multi-moulded corbels;
turret to left is higher still and flanked by square projections. North side:
C19 doorway; 2-light mullioned-and-transomed window on 1st floor and smaller
2-light mullioned window on 2nd floor both with cinquefoil heads to lights.
Garderobe chute. West side: (i.e. now within attached house) has a recessed
centre section, and set within it a doorway with pointed arch and chamfered
surround; on the 1st floor a Tudor-arched blocked doorway, and on the 2nd floor,
largely covered by a C19 external stack, a pointed-arched doorway with chamfered
House of 2 storeys has original 2-storey porch with round-headed multi-mullioned
doorway flanked by paired Tuscan columns; Middleton coat of arms above doorway
in moulded frame and inscription above that; on 1st floor a 5-light mullioned-
and-transomed window. Walling and windows to right of porch seem partly original;
other external features of mid C19 in similar style.

Attached to north side of tower is a 2-storey barn, altered C18 and C19 but
largely of medieval masonry. It has, on east side, a blocked 2-light mullioned
window and several blocked small C16 windows; on the west side, five C18 bays
with doorway in 4th bay; all openings have raised surrounds and are now boarded

Interior: The plan of the tower shows on each floor a large chamber taking up
the whole eastern side, with short projecting wings on either side of the
entrancecontaining staircase, smaller rooms and garderobes.

Large pointed tunnel-vaulted kitchen on ground floor has fireplace with
segmental arch. Hall on 1st floor has traces of C15 mural decoration. The
stair has an umbrella vault above with 8 chamfered ribs.

Belsay: English Heritage : HBMC. 1984.

An account of Belsay Castle in the County of Northumberland by Sir Arthur E.
Middleton Bart: privately printed 1918. Belsay Castle and the Scottish Tower
Houses: Archaeolgia Aeliana 4th Series XVII, 1940.

Listing NGR: NZ0848678550

Information from British Listed Buildings

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