Keys to the Past

Blenkinsopp Castle (Greenhead)

Blenkinsopp Castle, Greenhead. Photo by Peter Ryder.
Blenkinsopp Castle, Greenhead. Photo by Peter Ryder.

Blenkinsopp Castle was originally a massive medieval tower, with vaulted basements and a surrounding wall. It may date back to the 14th century as old documents record a castle here in 1340 belonging to Thomas de Blenkensop. The castle began to fall into decay in the 16th century and the Blenkinsopps moved to Bellister Castle. By 1801, the castle was in ruins and a poor house had been built here. At the same time collieries were being developed nearby and the mine agent had a new house built onto the ruins, perhaps by John Dobson, in the 1830s. The castle was rebuilt between 1877 and 1880 as a Victorian mansion, but was sold soon after it was finished. It later became a hotel but unfortunately burned down in 1954. Some of the ruins were demolished in the 1960s because they were dangerous, and more was demolished after 1986. Today, part of the building is still in use but the rest is a ruin. Some medieval walls survive from the tower and the outer wall; in east wall of the main building there is a wall 1.4m thick, and in the service court buildings there is a wall 2m thick. There are probably more medieval remains buried beneath the ground surface. This is a Scheduled Monument and Grade II Listed Building protected by law.

Reference number:N6118
Historical period: Post Medieval (1540 to 1901)
Medieval (1066 to 1540)
Legal status:Listed Building
Scheduled Ancient Monument
Event(s):BUILDING SURVEY, Blenkinsop Castle 1986; P Ryder
PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland 1995; P RYDER
DESK BASED ASSESSMENT, Blenkinsopp Castle, Greenhead 2005; AOC Archaeology Group
TRIAL TRENCH, Blenkinsopp Castle, Greenhead: Archaeological evaluation 2005; AOC Archaeology Group
WATCHING BRIEF, Blenkinsopp Castle 2014; Alan Williams Archaeology

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See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Greenhead

Disclaimer -

Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.