|Location||Brancepeth Village, County Durham, England (Google Map Location)|
|Open for visitors||Yes (April to November)|
|Owned by||Dobson Family|
|Official Website||Brancepeth Castle|
|Room’s available||Yes (Wedding, events, filming)|
Take a tour through the cellars and corridors of the Castle and meet the resident ghost of Mary Bellaci. From lavish banqueting halls to beautiful chapels, spooky corridors, and a squint, this medieval castle has everything to tempt travelers into a visit.
Brancepeth Castle History
Originally built as a motte-and-bailey-style fortress in the 12th century, with a wooden keep and a surrounding moat, Castle has had numerous owners ever since. The first buildings are said to be constructed by the Anglo-Saxon family known as the Bulmers.
The chief of the Bulmer family had no sons, and his only daughter was married to Gilbert de Neuville, a Norman baron who came to England with William the Conqueror. The castle was then inherited by de Neuville after the marriage.
Later on, the descendants of de Neuville called the Nevilles, became the owners of the Castle until the 16th century.
By this time, the castle had undergone significant changes: a new chapel, the grand entrance hall, and a stunning chamber were added to the fortress.
But, in 1569, The Crown confiscated the castle from the Nevilles following their involvement in a conspiracy known as the Rising of the North to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I.
In the following decades, the castle exchanged many hands after it was granted to the Earl of Somerset by King James I in 1603.
During the World Wars, Brancepeth Castle served as a hospital and the regimental headquarters of The Durham Light Infantry. Finally, in 1978, it was bought by the Dobson family, who own the castle today.
Brancepeth Castle Inside
You’ll notice the intricate features in the woodwork and stonework as you pass through the castle’s magnificent hallways.
The Great Hall, one of the country’s most remarkable specimens of medieval construction, is one of the interior highlights of Brancepeth Castle. It’s a big room with a high, timber-beamed ceiling and a big stone fireplace at one end. Tapestries cover the walls, while suits of armor and weaponry are displayed throughout the area. The dungeon is one of the most peculiar parts of Brancepeth Castle’s interior. The dungeon is a dimly lit, damp space with stone walls and iron bars on the windows. Guided tours of the dungeon are also available to the visitors of the Castle.
Another and one of the quirkiest features of the Castle is the Squint. Located in the wall between the Great Hall and the private chapel, it’s a small opening that allowed the lord to view the chapel service without leaving the comfort of the castle.
Brancepeth Castle Interesting Facts
Here are some interesting facts about the Castle:
- Legend has it that the ghost of Mary Bellasy haunts the castle’s dungeons to date. It is believed that she killed herself after her lover married someone else. In her book “My Life with Legends”, Mary Kipling detailed her paranormal experiences at the Brancepeth Castle.
- Brancepeth Castle has also been used as a filming location for “The Pallisers”, a mini TV drama series.
- The Brancepeth Castle is open to the public from April to November. The Castle also hosts various cultural events, art fairs, and theatrical performances.
Places to stay nearby Brancepeth Castle
There are various nearby hotels and inns that you might want to consider if you are looking for a place to stay near the Castle:
- The Kingslodge Inn – About 4 miles from Brancepeth Castle, this inn has pleasant accommodation, an on-site restaurant and bar, and free parking.
- The Seven Stars Inn – About 6 miles from the Castle, this inn provides comfortable accommodations, an on-site restaurant and bar, and free parking.
- Bannatyne Hotel Durham – Located about 5 miles away, this hotel offers stylish rooms, a spa, an on-site restaurant and bar, and free parking.
Where is Brancepeth Castle located?
Brancepeth Castle is located in the northeastern English village of Brancepeth in County Durham. It is located around 5 miles west of Durham and 14 miles south of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Who owns Brancepeth Castle?
The Brancepeth Castle has been owned by the Dobson family since 1978. The Dobson family has since then extensively restored and renovated the castle, and is now used for weddings, business gatherings, and private occasions.
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