Bellister Castle is on the A69, 16 miles west of Hexham in Northumberland .
(By Anthony Parkes, 20June 2011 - CC BY-SA 2.0)
A Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument the castle is now a private residence owned by the National Trust. Although the castle may not be visited, the public may use the footpaths through its woods.
Bellister's series of fortifications on the south bank of the River Tyne date from the 11th century. The mound on which the property stands may have been the motte of an early motte and bailey castle.
In the 14th century a substantial tower was added to a moated half house which had existed on the site in the 13th century. A rebuild in the 19th century created the impressive castellated east front. Following fire damage early in the 20th century the older parts of the property were allowed to fall into decay and remain in ruins.
1541 survey records show the tower house was then occupied by Lord Blenkinsop.
The legend of the Grey Man of Bellister arises from that time; a wandering minstrel was given food and lodgings for the night in return for some tales and songs. However Lord Blenkinsop decided the minstrel was up to no good and could even be a spy.
When the minstrel slipped outside instead of retiring for the night, this only confirmed the lord's fears. Pursued by the servants and the lord's hounds the minstrel ran for his life. The dogs caught up with him on the banks of the river and tore him to pieces.
The ghost of the minstrel, The Grey Man of Bellister, haunted lord Blenkinsop for the rest of his life.
(By Mike Quinn - 14 September 201 - CC BY-SA 2.0)
Locals insist they hear the baying of hounds at night - and the shrieks of an old man!