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Be king of the castle, and it won't cost a king's ransom.

Byline: Adam Luke Reporter

ACASTLE steeped in history, featuring a watchtower and surrounded by medieval ruins, is up for sale in the rolling Northumberland hills.

The Grade II-listed Blenkinsopp Castle, located off the A69 near Haltwhistle, dates back to the 13th Century and boasts four bedrooms, two reception rooms, turreted walls and a private courtyard. The imposing property began life as a fortified pele tower before being transformed into a 19th Century mansion and then a 20th Century hotel which was severely damaged by fire in 1954.

One wing survived and now houses the family home, which sits within a larger residential park - also containing luxury chalets and Blenkinsopp Castle Inn and Tea Room, which reopened in December.

The property is valued at PS325,000, having been put on the market by Mike and Lee Simpson, 59 years after it was bought by their family in 1955 following the blaze.

Other features include spectacular views over the surrounding countryside, historic stone fireplaces, 13th Century stone ceilings and the original Blenkinsopp crest, while the new owners would also look after the ruins.

Andrew Coulson, managing director of Hexham-based estate agent Andrew Coulson, said: "This is a golden opportunity for someone to live a dream. You don't get many chances to buy a castle. Unfortunately the title doesn't come with it!

"The property has fantastic history and gets quite a few visitors so to live in a place of such importance would be quite something.

"It is in a prominent position and has all the charm of a castle - ballustrades, thick walls, narrow windows and fabulous stone fireplaces - but with all the modern fittings.

"There is also a little bit of potential if you want to do a bit more, such as uncover another hidden fireplace.

"Most castles would cost seven figures so this is a very attractive opportunity opportunity indeed."

Rumour has it that the castle even has its own ghost, with stories of the widow of greedy Bryan de Blenkinsopp haunting the ruins after refusing to tell her husband where she had buried her treasure chest.

The chest was never found and The White Lady is said to remain.

The Blenkinsopp family's land was eventually fortified in 1339, with the castle - sited a mile from Hadrian's Wall - serving as a family home for centuries.

The hotel was added by William Lyle Blenkinsopp Coulson in the 1880s.

For more informa-| tion, contact Andrew Coulson estate agents on 01434 600146 or HOME'S HISTORY RANDOLPH de Blenkinsopp was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland as owning land in the Haltwhistle area in 1240, and it is believed his manor house was on the site of the current castle.

The castle was built in 1339, with historical documents showing Thomas de Blecansopp was given a licence to fortify the property in 1340.

One of the family's medieval patriots, Bryan de Blenkinsopp, who held the castle about 600 years ago, was said to be money-hungry, leading to him marrying a French woman who was plain, but possessed a chest of gold so heavy it took 12 men to carry it.

However, she would not tell Sir Bryan where she and her servants had hidden it, eventually causing him to leave. Legend has it, tortured by her actions, she was doomed to haunt the castle as the White Lady.

When the castle began to decay in the 16th century, Blenkinsopp family members left for other properties at nearby Bellister Castle, near Haltwhistle, and Dryburnhaugh, near Greenhead. By 1727, the castle was in ruins, leading to the Coulson family from Jesmond taking ownership of the estate through marriage.

A new house was built on the site in the 1830s and the castle was rebuilt between 1877 and 1880 as a mansion, before it became a hotel. The building burned down in 1954 and, although it was rebuilt, some of the ruins attached to the house had to be demolished as they were unsafe.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2015
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