The Wraith of Haughton Castle
Author : Martin Jeffrey
Haughton Castle sits on the banks of the North Tyne and is a well-known area
for fine trout fishing. The castle bears over the neighbouring village of
and is an impressive building. The castle, similar in design to the
fourteenth century tower built at Chillingham, is inhabited and parts of the
are have been modernised.
The following ghost story occurs during the previously mentioned time when
the Border Reivers or Mosstroopers would attack English land, quite legally
then return to their tribes in Scotland.
Sir John de Widderington, at that time was the Lord of Haughton Castle and
known for being a good and gallant person who fought for peace during the
During Sir John's rule at Haughton, the King appointed weak-willed Lord
Dacre of Gilsland as Lord Warden of the Marches. The task of the warden was
peace on the Borders and deal with troublemaker tribes such as the
Armstrongs and Kerrs, as well as the Scots from the North. It was only a
matter of time
before Dacre began to accept bribes, ignoring the troubles and causing the
law to collapse.
Dacre, to make matters worse courted a female of the notorious Armstrong
clan, the very sister of the leader of this murdering family troop of
On hearing this news, local landowners formed an alliance to protect their
rights and report Dacre's deeds to the King.
While Cardinal Wolsley visited York, Sir John decided to meet with Wolsley
with two delegates from the landowners association. On the night before the
Sir John's men fought and captured a reiver rustling cattle in the local
meadows. The Lord put the man in his dungeon at Haughton Castle, so he could
with him when he returned.
To reach York by horse in Sir John's days took two days of hard riding. On
arrival to the city, Sir John realised he had the key of the dungeon in his
and that worse still he had neglected to leave instructions with his staff
to feed or water his prisoner.
In a state of desperation and fear, Sir John turned his horse around and
headed back to Haughton Castle, by the time he reached Durham, his steed
dead with exhaustion. When he reached his castle forty-eight hours 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.
Sir John unlocked the cell and found the reiver dead.
The spirit of the prisoner returned to haunt the castle months later, night
after night the sounds of the prisoner cries and moans would echo around the
surrounding countryside. The screams would keep awake Sir John and his staff
through the night. Servants left the service of Sir John and the village of
Berrasford 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 more. To comfort Sir John, the Rector
with him the Black-lettered Bible from which he read during the exorcism.
Curiously, when the Bible was sent to London for re-binding the reiver's
moaning and screams returned to haunt Haughton Castle. Orders were given to
the Bible quickly from London and lay the spirit of the ghost once again.
More recently in 1800's the Berrasford village inn burned to the ground in a
mysterious fire that killed one of villagers. Tourists who visit the village
often report the sighting of a burning man running through the fields around
In the 1970's, Paul Devereux while researching his ground-braking book "The
Ley Hunter's Companion" discovered a ley line that ran through Berrasford
Haughton Castle. Since many ghost sightings appear on ley lines, could it be
that energy from ley lines "power" the ghost to appear?