- Anniversary Ghosts / Apparitions / Hauntings
by Ian · Published November 19, 2010 · Updated December 9, 2018
The Grade I listed Featherstone Castle is a large country house not far from Hadrian’s Wall. A murdered bridal party is said to haunt the castle on the anniversary of the wedding date, though this is more of a traditional story rather than a reported and witness supported experience. Featherstone Castle is the ancestral home of the Featherstonehaugh family and it comprises of a Jacobean manor built around a peel tower. The family is thought to have been there since the Norman Conquest, though the Featherstonehaugh’s were I believe Saxons and remained at Featherstone for at least twelve generations through Helias de Ffederstanhaugh during the reign of King John to Abigail Fetherstonhaugh in the 17th century. The peel tower was added to Featherstone Castle by Thomas de Featherstonehaugh around 1330, prior to this it was probably best described as a strong Norman farm.
Featherstone Castle was sold to Sir Matthew Fetherstonehaugh of Newcastle on Tyne (born 1662- died 1762) in 1711. In 1789 it was sold again and purchased by James Wallace MP (born 1729 – died 1783) and passed to his son Thomas Wallace, 1st Baron Wallace (born 1768 – died 23 February 1844). Again during the time the Wallace owned Featherstone it was remodelled. In 1814 Baron Wallace was married to Jane, daughter of John Hope, 2nd Earl of Hopetoun and Fetherstone Castle eventually passed to Wallace’s nephew, Colonel James Hope who then changed his surname to Hope-Wallace.
Following the start of World War I, Featherstone Castle was leased to an Alnmouth preporatory school and during World War II it was used by a school from Rugby. From 1942 a Prisoner of War camp was based there.
In 1961 Featherstone Castle was bought by Mr John Clark and his father, the great great grandson of the castles land agent circa 1847. Featherstone Castle is now used as a self catering residential centre for young people and students.
Ghost Tradition The story of the haunting of Featherstone Castle is old and has been written about many times with elements omitted and added over time. The basic story is that a medieval Baron of Featherstone Castle arranged a marriage between his daughter and a man she did not love, he being another noble of equal standing or sometimes referred to as a distant relative. The daughter tried to avoid the wedding as best she could but eventually went through with the ceremony. Whilst awaiting the wedding banquet to be prepared, the Baron sends the married couple, guests and relevant staff out hunting. When the hunting party reached the dense wooded area known as Pinkyn Cleugh they were ambushed by the new bride’s lover and his men-at-arms who attacked in hope of stealing her away from her unwanted husband. The wedding guests and staff fought back and it was a terrible fight where everybody on both sides died. During the fight the bride flung herself in front of her lover as her husband lunged with his weapon and she died of the mortal wound she received. The lover, being the last man standing was so devastated with the loss of the young woman that he stabbed his own heart and died holding her.
Meanwhile, back at Featherstone Castle (which would have been little more than a peel tower then), the Baron awaited their return. After many hours he sent out servants looking for the hunting/wedding party but to no avail. Late in the evening as the Baron was sat asleep in his great hall, the wedding party returned, riding through the main gates and making their way to their allotted banquet places. As the Baron awoke sometime after midnight he was greeted by the ghosts of his guests, clearly showing the wounds that had been inflicted upon them and the distress on their faces, before they faded away. Tradition has it that on the anniversary of the wedding, the ghostly wedding party are said to be seen riding from Pinkyn Cleugh to Featherstone Castle or according to some accounts they appear in the banquet hall re-enacting their ghostly wedding feast.
Another gruesome part of the story is the Raven Stone which is said to still remain near the castle. This cup stone is said to have held some of the blood of the lover after he killed himself and ravens are said to have come down and drank the blood, probably whilst feeding on the corpses lying around.
The key characters in the story are often named when you read about this haunting. The bride is named as being Abigail Featherstonehaugh, whom we know was the last of the Featherstonehaugh family at Featherstone Castle. However, she married twice and reached the age of 50 at least.
The groom is usually named as being Timothy Featherstonehaugh and referred to as being a distant relative of Abigail. There was actually a famous Timothy Featherstonehaugh who was a staunch Royalist and was beheaded by Cromwell in Chester during 1651. Following this his estates were seized and his widow Dame Bridget Featherstonehaugh had £10,000 plundered from her. A memorial for Timothy is in the church at Kirk-Oswald.
The date of the wedding and the anniversary of the said haunting is usually recorded as being 17th January.
The lover in the story is usually referred to as being Ridley Hardriding and here we may find some aspect of the story’s origin. On 24th October 1530, Nicolas Fetherstonhaugh was murdered by William Ridley of Unthank and Hugh Ridley of Howden, possibly during a hunting party.
This actual murder inspired Sir Walter Scott’s ‘The Death of Featherstonhaugh’. The Ridley and Featherstonhaugh feuded and where Scott mentions Hardriding Dick he refers to Richard Ridley of Hardriding and as you can see could easily be the inspiration for the fictional character in the ghost tradition named Ridley Hardriding.
‘The Death of Featherstonhaugh’ by Walter Scott
Hoot awa’, lads, hoot awa’ Ha’ ye heard how the Ridleys, and Thirlwalls, and a’, Ha’ set upon Albany Featherstonhaugh, And taken his life at the Deadmanshaugh? There was Williamoteswick, And Hardriding Dick, And Hughie of Hawdon, and Will of the Wa’, I canno tell a’, I canno tell a’, And mony a mair that the deil may knaw.
The auld man went down, but Nicol, his son, Ran away afore the fight was begun; And he run, and he run, And afore they were done, There was many a Featherston gat sic a stun, As never was seen since the world was begun.
I canno tell a’, I canno tell a’; Some gat a skelp, and some gat a claw; But they garr’d the Featherstons haud their jaw, Nichol, and Alick, and a’. Some gat a hurt, and some gat nane; Some had harness, and some gat sta’en.
Ane gat a twist o’ the craig; And gat a bunch o’ the wame; Symy Haw gat lamed of a leg, And syne ran wallowing haine.
Hoot! hoot! the auld man’s slain outright! Lay him now wi’ his face down; – he’s a sorrowful sight. Janet, thou donot. I’ll lay my best bonnet, Thou gets a new gude-man afore it be night.
Hoo away, lads, hoo away, We’s a’ be hangid if we stay. Tak’ up the dead man, and lay him anent the bigging. Here’s the Bailey o’ Haltwhistle, Wi’ his great bull’s pizzle, That supp’e up the broo’, and syne —– in the piggin.
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Abigail’s castle: the haunting of featherstone castle available now from bayview entertainment.
Mike Joy 12/16/2023 News
Featherstone Castle in Northumberland is over one thousand years old. In the sixteenth century the majority of the family who lived in the castle were slaughtered by a rival family in an infamous “Romeo and Juliet” murder incident. Since then, the castle has been deeply haunted by members of the deceased family with many eyewitnesses experiencing dozens of unexplainable events.
Vudu: Abigail’s Castle: The Haunting of Featherstone Castle https://www.vudu.com/content/browse/details/Abigail-s-Castle-The-Haunting-of-Featherstone/2679040
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Ramblings and thoughts, featherston family origins – featherstone castle.
(The article below I originally wrote for Featherstone Findings many years ago while doing family genealogy research).
In a small secluded vale, near the confluence of the Hartley Burn and South Tyne rivers. against the backdrop of the heath moor lands of Northern England, sits the eventual destination of all who find themselves tracing the family surname of Featherston (1) .Even today, more than 7 centuries after the central tower was first constructed, it stands watch over the haugh (a local term for valley) it protected for so many years. The tower. said by many, to be the loveliest in the county. was even the subject of a picture by the English artist. T.M. Richardson. The place of which I am speaking is. of course, Featherstone Castle.
Featherstone Castle is located in the county of Northumberland, near the Scottish border. It can be found 3 miles southwest of the tiny village of Haltwhistle. along the road to AIston. This attractive castellated mansion. with its luxuriant covering of English ivy. is an amalgam of architectural styles from over the centuries. The main building and an old square pele tower (which serves as the nucleus of the castle), both part of the original structure, were built no later than the year 1200 (2) .Over the centuries other buildings. towers, and battlements were added (3) .Each addition and renovation was skilfully blended with the existing structure so as to complement the whole. One renovation, the dining hall, which boasts ~ beauty- fully timbered roof with heraldry, included some 15th century woodwork taken from the choir of Carlisle Cathedral. While no longer belonging to a member of the Featherstone family (4), the halls still echo with the legacy and tales of they who lived and died within this great castle.
The Featherston family is considered to be Saxon in origin, and the sur- name to be a topographic (5) .The land was part of the county allotted to a Saxon officer for his bravery and gallant conduct against the Britons. The first house the family was said to reside in was built upon the high ground. On this high ground were two stones. referred to as Fetherstones or Feuder- stones. It was around these stones that the feudal tenants of the manor would be assembled. In time, the residence began to fall into decay (or perhaps was destroyed in the many battles with the Scots) .A new tower, the central piece of what is now Featherstone Castle. was built in the haugh (valley) below the high ground, thus the name Featherstonehaugh.
The earliest recorded occupant of Featherstone Castle was one Helios de Featherstonehalgh in the year 1212. The Featherston name continues to appear in the early history of this area. A century later. there is a record of a Thomas de Featherstonehaugh in the year 1330. He was said to hold great power in the area. being the guardian of Hexham, Wark, and the barony of Tindale. 200 years later another resident of the Castle. Sir Albany Fetherstonehaugh, was immortalized in a famous poem by R.S. Surtees. Sir Albany was High Sheriff of Northumberland in the year 1530. ~He was killed by Nicholas Ridley of Unthank. Hugh Ridley of Harden, and others during a border feud at Greenshilhaugh. near the farmhouse of one Wydon Eals. on the 24th of October, 1530. The ballad could still be heard in the 1800’s and was said to be “sung at merrymakings till the roof rang again”.
34 thoughts on “ Featherston Family Origins – Featherstone Castle ”
This is really fascinating. I am a new geneaologist (emphasis on NEW), and I’ve hit a major wall trying to find my family before they emigrated from Ireland. I may never be able to track the family back this far, but it is really interesting to see where I “came” from, even if I don’t know what happened for much of the middle.
Glad you enjoyed it. Tracking from Ireland is a challenge. I started doing genealogy almost 15 years ago, and still struggle there. I found the castle trying to come from the other direction. I did find when a branch from the castle moved to Ireland (picked the wrong side in the Cromwell wars, one branch fled to Ireland. They supplied horses to the King’s army. This fit will old family stories about being accused of being horse thieves. Winners write history – lol). Still haven’t made the final connection.
Thank you for this. I have traced my family back many, many generations, and included among my ancestors is Cuthbert Fetherstonehaugh. I love reading anything and everything I can find about my family from so long ago.
My pleasure. LIke you, I love reading and learning about my ancestors. Would love to go visit the castle someday and see it. Have numerous pictures a distant relative in England took for me, but would love to see it first hand.
My wife and I will be visiting there this September. it appears that even though I’m a Featherstone, it is not possible to visit the interior of the castle? We will be staying in Haltwhistle and look forward to walking the grounds. This will be near the end of a 3 week tour of Scotland
This is really interesting. I’ve been researching for a while and have confirmed Cuthbert Featherstone as my 10th Great Grandfather. I actually traced back to the eleventh century, but information becomes space at that point. Thanks for this.
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my ancestry Dna shows that Edward Parkinson of inch Down Ireland 1693 is the furthest back ancestor on the Dna results, There was only 2 Parkinsons on Featherstone castles ownership list;Edward 1693 and also Edward Parkinson B 1783 Northern Ireland, I wish I could find sketchings of them and also who their wives and children were. I have traced my back as far as William Parkison/Parkinson of Carlisle Pa 1802. I cant make the leap to across the pond here, so far as documentation, All I know is that those Parkinsons of Featherstone show up through other members results as my familys ancestors, is there anyone that has knowledge of the descendants. I am on fb and also my email is [email protected] Thank You Gerri Parkison Reddin
I did not read where it should have mentioned William the Lion giving the castellation to Elias upon the marriage to one of his William’s daughters.
Hello, My ggrandmother was Frances Louisa Featherstonhaugh, born Dublin 1837. Her parents were Theobald Fetherstonhaugh and Mary Kelly married 1836. Believe he was part of the Carrick House branch, Westmeath, but not sure. Can anyone shed any light please. thank you Ros
Thanks for sharing this information. I have read it before, or most of it, but some new details are always helpful.
If you would like to have a photo of TM Robinson’s portrait, c1790, of Sarah Featherstone in Ireland please let me know. She married (an army major) in Dublin called Thorpe; my grandfather (Robert Thorpe Ozanne, b1862, in Bedford) is/was his grandson; his grandmother was born Rose Ann Thorpe.
Thomas Featherstone-1834-1918 is my great grandfather. He married Eliza Birkinshaw in Kegworth, Leicestershire, England on 18 Apr 1831. I would appreciate any pics or info you might want to send.
Please email me at [email protected] and I will reply, with a photo of the portrait that an archivist/academic in Belfast told me that Robinson probably painted in Co. Longford.I made a mistake in my earlier post today: Rose Ann Thorpe was the mother (not grandmother) of my grandfather Robert Thorpe Ozanne. I would be very pleased to hear about your ancestors – not least because I cannot work out whether Sarah Featherstone was the grandmother – or mother – of Rose Ann Thorpe. (Also have photos of Rose Ann (?Irish) portraits.) Thank you again. James Robert Ozanne.
My wife Julie and I visited Scotland last fall and then went to Featherstone castle for several hours. Mr Clark was home but I didn’t want to bother him. A groundskeeper let us tour the property from outside except garden area since it’s private. It was wonderful to be there.we stayed at a B&B I. Haltwhistle the owners of which were friends of the owner, Mr Clark. In fact their daughter had been recently married at the castle. I had heard that Mr Clark was working on a history of the castle, and our hosts gave me his number as well as the number to a Gary Fleming who I’d John’s Assistant. I plan to call some day to ask about it. Maybe this gives me the push to do so. I am related to Albert and Jimmy Featherstone who developed the Featherstone bicycle in the late 1800’s and had their factory in Chicago and sold to Schwann. They were from upstate New York however. I don’t know much history before that
Don Featherstone Bigfork,Montana and Oro Valley, Arizona
I need to update my email address….thanks
Hello to you all. I am on a constant search to verify my great great grandfather Theobald Featherstonhaugh. We believe he was born at Carrick House Westmeath, however, there is no record of him. He married Mary Kelly in 1836 and died circa 1844 in British Guinea or South Africa. Does anyone have any information please. Kind Regards Roslyn.
What a wonderful find on a quite Sunday afternoon in Santa Fe New Mexico! I am researching my maternal great-great grandfather James Featherstone. Born 1813 Athy Westmeath Kildare Ireland Died 1886 Wilkes-Barre Pa USA Question ” Are all Featherstone in England”? When did they come to Ireland? Any info is greatly appreciated! Bonnie Bohn Joseph
Hello Bonnie, My relatives were the Cuthbert Featherstonhaughs of Northumberland, second son (of the castle). They went over to Ireland and fought with Cromwell in 1654. They were rewarded with vast land holdings in Longford and Westmeath. Cuthbert married and had 6 sons and a few daughters. It appears most of or nearly all of the Featherstonhaughs in Ireland come from that family. They were scattered around the countryside and also very prominent in Dublin, i.e. parliamentarians, barristers, magistrates, keeper of the kings horses etc etc.(that is if they worked most were gentlemen of private means esq.) My great great grandfather was Theobald of the Mosstown House family, 1810.9 (26 children). They were very wealthy and all the children married well or were given land holdings I have done a lot of research as I am writing a novel about them. Hope this helps there is many sites online if you are interested. Kind Regards Ros
Hi Ed, my mother is an American Featherston. I’d like to converse with you about our line’s possible origins. Please email me if you’re willing to try to help. My email is [email protected] . Thank you so much!
Dear Ashley, My Featherstone’s came to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1870. My grandmother Mamie Featherstone Flanagan wrote a family history and I believe she mentioned Earley’s as relatives! Let know if there is a connection! My best, Bonnie
My family were the James Featherstones of Kildare Ireland! Immigrated dirt to Lancastshire, (1860’s)England then to Pennsylvania in 1870. I would like to know more about the Featherstone’s in Ireland. When, where, why??? Catholic and Protestant branches of the family also interests me. Any help appreciated! My best, bonnie Joseph
Bonnie, So nice to hear from family on this site. I am afraid that I am no help whatever though as I do not even show Ed at all. The best person I know of to contact is LeeDrew in Lehi Utah. He is totally amazing. His site is LineagekeeperGen. Judith
Dear Ros, What a delightful suprise to receive your informative email! I will go back to Cuthbert in my research Questions: 1. The Cuthbert line were Protestant in Ireland. James Featherstone was a devout Catholic.Do you know when the religious split occurred in Ireland or were James and his family outliers? 2. My grandmother does not list James’ parents but she does write that he had relatives whose estates were Grouse Lodge and Temple Oran or Templelorn. 3. James’ was married to Kathryn Finley who was half sister to John Judge, a magistrate. Any information or links would be deeply appreciated! Thank you for sharing your ( and mine??) family history! My best, Bonnie
Hi Bonnie, My Featherstone line is through William and Elizabeth Slater. Wm, b-1709 in Woodhouse, Derbyshire. Don’t know anything else to help out. Judith Joy
I hope I am not intruding re: Judith Wright Joy and Bonnie Joseph’s interesting conversation but it might be useful to know of a good contact (last contacted by me in 2019) in Dublin who is tasked – officially – with opening up all manner of family records in Dublin/Ireland: Louise Kennedy – [email protected] – located in Bishop Street, Dublin D08 DF85. Somewhere I have a copy of family notes collated from the National Archives’ Registry of deeds, Dublin, Vol III, to 1832; edited by Eilish Ellis and Beryl Eustace, published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1984.(Cannot put my hand on it at the moment, alas)
Thanks, Jack! I still can’t find James Featherstone’s parents and family line in Westmeath Ireland. Your contact in Dublin may be able to help me and I will get in touch. One positive aspect of the pandemic is that this is the time for many of us to works on our family histories! My best, Bonnie
Hello Jack, My email to Louise at National archives bounced back. Do you have another address? Thanks! Bonnie
hello Bonnie, the official website currently (2022) suggests contact via email: [email protected] I hope this is successful. The website says, re: its free-of-charge assistance: Assistance will be available during regular office hours: 9.30am-5.00pm [Irish Standard Time], Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), until further notice. Emails received outside of those hours will be dealt with over the next 5-7 working days.
The service is run on behalf of the National Archives by an external panel of professional genealogists, all holding credentials from Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI). Please note that there is only one genealogist working each day and so the speed of response will depend on the level of demand. [I have received good-value assistance from a professional genealogist in Dublin whose surname is Owens – I can provide his contact detail(s) if you are interested.] Regards, Jack, [email protected]
Many thanks for your help. I will contact Louise Kennedy perhaps she can shed some light on this conundrum. The dates I am searching for are: Theobald Featherstonhaugh birth certificate born approx 1810 or death certificate approx 1843. Marriage Theobald Feathersonhaugh to Mary Kelly Westmeath 1836; Birth certificate of Frances Louisa Feathersonhaugh Dublin 1838/39.
If you can assist me I would be most grateful. Kind Regards Ros
Hi, My grandmother was Featherstone and I would like to know if any of you have information on Veda Viola Featherstone? I am new in searching for relatives and I find it very exciting. Hope everyone is well.
Thank you, Linda
Charles Featherston, born 1637, England came to Virginia in 1653 and his descendants first lived near Chester Va. They spread to Georgia, Tennessee, and later to Iowa, Philadelphia and Texas and other places. There was a Richard Featherston that was part of the Capt John Smith’s crew. He was killed in an Indian attack on the Rappahannock River, below what is now Fredericksburg Virginia.
Hello fellow Fetherstons! I am back out my investigations! Still searching for the people of my great great grandfather James Featherstone. He was born in 1813 to James Fetherston and Elizabeth White. He was baptized Catholic. His father could have been James Fetherston who was married to Mary Malone. He died in 1814. The family were located in Westmeath. My question is could the James Fetherston who died in 1814 be a son of Cuthbert Or Theobold Fetherstonhaugh?? Any help would be greatly appreciated! My best, Bonnie Joseph
Hello Bonnie, Great to hear from you. We have just returned from Ireland to Australia and I have been looking for my great great grandfather Theobald Featherstonhaugh of Westmeath, but unfortunately we have no further news (what a trail it was to find any information). We believe he was born around 1810 although no records seem to exist and died around 1844. He is listed on his son Williams birth corticate in county Tipperary as “Sugar Planter” and there are records of a Theobald Featherstonhaugh in the local paper in Georgetown British Guinea around 1840. I believe he was Theobald Featherstonhaugh of Mosstown then Tipperary (son of Theobald Feathersonhaugh) and he was supposed to be ‘married’ to my great great grandmother Mary Kelly in 1836 Westmeath. They had three children my great great grandmother Frances Louisa b.? 1837/38 Dublin, another son name unknown one year later and William Featherstonhaugh b.1840. We are now surmising that Mary was his mistress although she lists him as her husband on many documents, however, one stumbling block is that the children were all baptised with the surname Featherstonhaugh which doesn’t make sense although we have been told when we were in Ireland that at this time this was done by the wealthy gentry. So the plot thickens however bearing in mind that you have relatives in Westmeath around that time perhaps he was just another branch of the family. The family history here says he was born at Carrick House but there is no Theobald attached to that family. Although the children’s names seem to be from that family. Sadly the mists of time seem to cover all the detail required to track these people down. Hope you have more success than us and if you hear of anything that might relate to our branch of the family we would be grateful to hear from you. Kindest Regards Roslyn
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Halloween 2016: North East's creepiest castles and their ghostly tales
The North East is well known for its historic castles - but did you know some of them have resident spooks and spectres?
- 17:10, 28 OCT 2016
- Updated 17:56, 28 OCT 2016
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Who doesn’t love a good ghost story?
There are plenty of spooky tales linked to historical buildings across the North East and some are more famous than others.
From a spooked out cricket star to a heartbroken princess we unveil the curtain and look at the ghostly going ons behind the historic buildings ahead of Halloween .
Chillingham, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 5NJ, 01668 215359
The castle is widely regarded as one of the most haunted places in the UK with hundreds of paranormal events being recorded. Its most famous ghost is The Blue Boy, who used to haunt the Pink Room there. Guests have reported seeing blue flashes and a blue ‘halo’ of light above their beds after a loud wail.
Chester-le-Street, County Durham, DH3 4NX, 0191 389 1111
Haunted by the spirit of a 14th century Lady of the Manor, Lily Luley, murdered by two priests after she refused to follow the Catholic faith. It is believed she was thrown down a well on the castle grounds. Lumley hit the headlines in 2005, when Aussie Cricket star Shane Watson slept on team-mate Brett Lee’s floor after getting spooked during the side’s stay.
The Black Gate, Castle Garth, Newcastle, NE1 1RQ
The Keep’s most famous ghost is called the ‘Poppy Girl’, the ghost of a flower girl who was sent to a prison because she owed some people money where she was beaten and died. She is often seen on the stairs of the keep. When she is nearby the scent of flowers floats by.
Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1NQ, 01665 511 100
A one-time lord of the castle became a vampire and frequented the castle in the 12th century, according to the Chronicler William of Newburgh. The vampire ‘lived’ underneath the castle and would emerge at night to attack the local villagers. An outbreak of the Black Death was attributed to the vampire which resulted in the villagers digging him up and burning him.
Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7DF, 01668 214515
A princess threw herself from the battlements in hr pink dress after he father denied her the hand of her true love. She returns to the castle every seven years in her pink dress, wandering around then making her way down the rocky path to the beach, where she stands and watches, waiting for her lover to return.
A knight in armour is often heard stomping about the castle, sometimes rattling chains.
Staindrop, Darlington, County Durham, DL2 3AH, 01833 660202
The famous ‘rising’ of the North was dreamt up by the Nevilles at Raby in 1569 with the powerful Percy family of Northumberland, in an attempt to get rid of Elizabeth I. At first, Charles Neville, was unsure about the plan. His wife stormed into the hall and called them cowards, Inflamed by her words, they agreed to go ahead. After the rising failed, Raby Castle was confiscated by the crown. To this day the ghostly spectre of Charles Neville appears in the Barons Hall.
Haltwhistle, Northumberland, NE49 0JG, 01434 320202
Abigail was the beautiful daughter of the Baron of Featherstone, she was to be married to a wealthy nobleman of her father’s choice, and was told to never see the man who she really loved ever again. Abigail’s lover ambushed the bridal party, killing all, even Abigail. It is said that the blood flowed into a hollow stone, now known as the ‘Raven’s Stone’. On the anniversary of the ambush, the sound of hooves and harnesses can be heard as the bridal party ride through the woods near Featherstone.
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Abigail's Castle: The Haunting of Featherstone Castle
Featherstone Castle in Northumberland is over one thousand years old. In the sixteenth century the majority of the family who lived in the castle were slaughtered by a rival family in an inf... Read all Featherstone Castle in Northumberland is over one thousand years old. In the sixteenth century the majority of the family who lived in the castle were slaughtered by a rival family in an infamous "Romeo and Juliet" murder incident. Since then, the castle has been deeply haunted b... Read all Featherstone Castle in Northumberland is over one thousand years old. In the sixteenth century the majority of the family who lived in the castle were slaughtered by a rival family in an infamous "Romeo and Juliet" murder incident. Since then, the castle has been deeply haunted by members of the deceased family with many eyewitnesses experiencing dozens of unexplainab... Read all
- Warren Speed
- Graham Burney
- Kenneth Lown
- Francesca Lynn
- 1 Critic review
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- Runtime 1 hour 17 minutes
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Featherstone Castle, now a private residence, stands just over two miles to the south of Haltwhistle. The oldest part of the castle still standing dates back to the 14th century is a tower built by Thomas de Featherstonehaugh in the 1320’s. The most recent additions date from the 19th century. The Featherstonehaughs retained ownership of the castle until the 18th century. It is the home of one of our more famous ghost stories concerning Abigail Featherstonehaugh, who lived in the late 17th century. Legend says she was to marry a neighbouring Baron’s son, but was in love with a local Ridley. As the bridal party rode the bounds of the estate, the spurned lover made an attack, but the new bridegroom put up a good fight. All were killed in the fray. At midnight the sound of horses’ hooves were heard outside the castle, the door opened into the banqueting hall and the ghostly apparition of Abigail and the rest of the party entered. The Baron fainted at this spectral procession. It is claimed the ghostly wedding party can be seen each 17th January in Pynkin’s Cleugh, a narrow valley just over the river from the Castle.
In the early 1940’s, a training camp for American troops was built beside the river at Featherstone. It was nicknamed ‘Death Valley’ by some of the inmates because of its isolated location, but the Americans soon made way for Italian prisoners of war and then ‘intransigent’ German Officers. Between 1945 and 1948 some 25,000 Germans were housed at Featherstone camp. There were many compounds surrounded by barbed wire and watch towers. The camp was highly regarded and was one of the six most successful rehabilitation camps in the country, knows as the ‘camp of confidence’ and also as ‘the University on the Tyne’. The regime was relaxed in 1945 when Lt. Col Vickers became Commandant; the divisions, watch towers and barbed wire disappeared to be replaced by parole, voluntary labour outside the camp, workshops and political or cultural courses. The roles of Captain Sulzbach, the camp interpreter from 1946, was important in the success of the camp to rehabilitate prisoners. He was a Jewish refugee from Germany who had been decorated by the German Emperor in World War I and went on to be awarded the OBE by King George VI for ‘dedicating himself to making this camp a seed bed of British-German reconciliation’. There were 3 orchestras and 2 theatres in the camp and instruction in all modern and classical Languages. Remains of the camp survive today as foundations and a scattering of brick buildings in the parkland and visitors come regularly from Germany to maintain the spirit of friendship.
THE GHOST OF FEATHERSTONE CASTLE
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