Castle sits on the banks of the North Tyne and is a popular
film set location. The castle bears over Barrasford and
is an impressive building that is still occupied. Parts
of the castle have been modernised. The castle is not
open to the public but can be found by taking the A6079
north from Hexham. At the crossroads (4 miles) turn left
and at the roundabout take the last exit for Humshaugh.
Castle dates back to at least the 14th century, when it
was fortified. It was first called a castle in 1373 when
the original tower house was heightened and turrets were
added together with parapet walks. At this time the castle
was owned by Gerald Widdrington and, although it was still
owned by the Widdringtons in the early 14th century, the
Swinburns were living in it.
the 16th century the castle seems to have been falling
into disrepair and ruin and an attack by Border reivers
in 1541 saw nine horses and goods worth £40 stolen from
it. No major improvements were carried out until the early
19th century when it was turned into a fashionable country
house and parkland was laid out. The early development
of the castle shows it was an upper floor hall house with
turrets and a parapet added in the 14th century.
Castle is probably one of the earliest 13th century upper
floor hall houses in Northumberland and must be one of
the best preserved hall houses in the north of England.
This is a Grade I Listed Building protected by law.
Ghost Of Archie Armstrong
ghost of Haughton Castle, Archie Armstrong, dates from
a time when the Border Reivers would attack English land,
quite legally and then return to their tribes in Scotland.
John de Widderington, at that time was the Lord of Haughton
Castle and known for being a good and gallant person.
Sir John's rule at Haughton Castle, the King appointed
the weak-willed Lord Dacre of Gilsland as Lord Warden
of the Marches. The warden was to ensure peace across
the Border region. Dacre began to accept bribes, ignoring
the troubles and causing the law to collapse. He also
courted a female of the notorious Armstrong clan, the
very sister of the leader of this murdering family troop
a result, local landowners formed an alliance to protect
their rights and report Dacre's deeds to the King. While
Cardinal Wolsley visited York, Sir John de Widderington
of Haughton Castle decided to meet with Wolsley.
the night before the meeting, Sir John's men fought and
captured a reiver rustling cattle in the local meadows
close to Barrasford. The man was incarcerated within the
dungeon at Haughton Castle, so he could deal with him
when he returned.
reach York by horse in Sir John's days took two days of
hard riding on horseback. After arriving at York, Sir
John remembered he had the key of the Haughton Castle
dungeon in his pockets and that worse still he had left
no instructions about care for his prisoner.
Sir John turned his horse around and headed back to Haughton
Castle, by the time he reached Durham, his horse dropped
dead with exhaustion. When he reached Tynedale 2 days
later he feared the worse. "How fared the prisoner?" Sir
John asked his servants.
The servants replied that the man cried and moaned, then
he began to scream but the noise died down, and nothing
had been heard since.
John unlocked the cell in the Haughton Castle dungeon
and found the prisoner dead.
spirit of Archie Armstong returned to haunt Haughton Castle
months later, night after night the sounds of the prisoner
cries and moans would echo around the surrounding countryside
as far as the village of Barrasford. The
screams would keep awake Sir John and his staff and the
local residents through the night.
The village of Barrasford demanded that he take action.
The Rector of Simonburn was called in to exorcise the
ghost; this he did immediately and nothing was heard no
comfort Sir John, the Rector left with him the Black-lettered
Bible from which he read during the exorcism.
when the Bible was sent to London for rebinding the reiver's
moaning and screams returned to haunt Haughton Castle.
Orders were given to return the Bible quickly from London
and lay the spirit of the ghost once again.
legend states that the screams from Haughton Castle can
still be heard every evening that a descendant of Sir
John de Widderington sets foot inside Haughton Castle
in the county of Northumberland.