Featherstone Castle

Featherstone Castle, Northumberland
Photo © Margaret Clough, 11 December 2005

Featherstone Castle, a Grade I listed building, is a large Gothic style country mansion situated on the bank of the River South Tyne about 3 miles (5 km) southwest of the town of Haltwhistle in Northumberland, England.

In the 11th century the manor house on this site belonged to the Featherstonehaugh family. It has played an important role in the battles between the English and the Scots. Originally a 13th-century hall house, a square three-storey pele tower was added in 1330 by Thomas de Featherstonehaugh. A survey from the year 1541 reported the property to be a tower in good repair, occupied by Thomas Featherstonehaugh.

The earliest recorded history of this area derives from the Roman occupation period; in 122 AD, the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall, the course of which lies several kilometres to the north of Featherstone Castle.

Post medieval

Featherstone Castle by William Miller

In the 17th century the property was acquired by Sir William Howard (father of the 1st Earl of Carlisle) and was remodelled and substantially enlarged.

The house was repurchased from the Earl of Carlisle in 1711 by Matthew Featherstonehaugh (1662-1762). A survey of 1715 disclosed 'an ancient and well-built structure'. The family remained in occupation until Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh sold the property to James Wallace in about 1789. His son Thomas Wallace carried out further alterations between 1812 and 1830. Lord Wallace bequeathed the estate to his nephew Colonel James Hope (1807-1854), (son of the Earl of Hopetoun), who changed his name to Hope-Wallace.

The various alterations to the structure have resulted in a large castellated and complex country house, rectangular in form with a central courtyard and towers at each angle.

The property was sold in 1950 and became a school. In 1961 it was converted to a residential conference and activity centre for young people and students.


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