A castle dating back to William the Conqueror comes to the market

A thousand years of history comes together at Otterburn Castle, an impressive Northumberland castle that has come on the market.

The launch of Otterburn Castle – a magnificent Grade II listed historic landmark located on 32 acres in Northumberland National Park in the heart of the Redesdale Valley – will set the real estate market in turmoil. This beautiful property, which is on the market for £3 million, is not just a country house with a castle: Otterburn has been a castle since the time of William the Conqueror, and although it has undergone many changes since then, it retains all sorts of original character.

However, the days of arrows shooting out of battlements and boiling oil being poured into walls are long gone – at least we hope they are, as Otterburn is currently operating as a country hotel and this is not the way to welcome your guests.

Otterburn Castle, which was last used as a home before World War II, was converted into a hotel in the 1940s but has retained many of its historic features. Oak wall panelling, intricate stucco and stone-columned windows. The house has 18 bedrooms (all en-suite) as well as several large reception rooms and a catering standard kitchen. Otterburn is a place for entertainers: the garden room can comfortably accommodate 120 guests.

In fact, the castle was put up for sale back in 2017 for £1.4 million, but no sales took place during that time. Today, when the real estate market has grown significantly, its value has again increased by more than twice its price, but, as Oliver Custances Baker, head of the regional department of Strutt & Parker, says, this is a unique opportunity.

“Houses with a rich history like Otterburn open the market to international interest, and castles even more so,” says Oliver.

“The stories that are part of these homes are integral to what makes them so special, along with their location and architecture. A piece of Northumberland and British history is up for sale here.”

The first mention of Otterburn is in 1076, when Robert d’Amfraville, William’s cousin, received the land in appreciation for his services. Exactly what was built on this land and when remains a mystery, but research from 1308 confirms the existence of the Pele Tower, which at the time was believed to be about 60 years old.

This building is even mentioned in the chronicles: Froissart refers to it in his description of the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, when the English army suffered a bloody defeat at the hands of the Scots, led by the Earl of Douglas, who was trying to take the tower.

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Life in Otterburn went on. Used as a hunting lodge in the 15th century, it passed to the Hall family during the reign of Henry VIII – for reasons that remain unclear. John Hall is known as Cromwell’s sequester (meaning he confiscated enemy property) and became a commissioner of enclosures in 1552. His most infamous successor was “Mad Jack Ha” who is featured in William Harrison Ainsworth’s novel The Battle of Preston for his role in 1715. Jacobite uprising. A cat that did not have nine lives, “Mad Jack” was finally convicted of his “crimes” after five reprieve and hanged at Tyburn in July 1716.

The current building was built on the foundations of the original Pele Tower using some of the original stones in 1830 and extended in 1904 by F. W. Rich. During both of these periods historic fittings and other details have been preserved where possible and in many cases remain in fantastic condition. These include stone windows, a spectacular carved staircase and intricate stucco work.

Today’s Grade II listed crenellated tower with Tudor arch entrance was built in the 1830s by Thomas James on the foundations of the original design, using some of the original stones. It was then extended in 1904 by F. W. Rich for the owner, one Howard Peace, a wealthy businessman from the Middlesbrough area; his widow sold the property in 1931 and it was converted into a hotel shortly thereafter.

Today in a castle-turned country hotel a honeymoon suite that boasts an open-air fireplace with five painted panels depicting scenes from the Battle of Otterburn – and can either continue to be used as a business or used as a home… one with endless bedrooms, the other a bar, a ballroom and a grand foyer with wide staircase and paneled walls.

The castle is as magnificent on the outside as it is on the inside: it sits on 32 acres of land that includes gardens, woods and a river with a waterwheel that was once used to supply water to the castle. There are even fishing rights, trout and salmon swim in these waters.

Otterburn Castle is up for sale through Strutt & Parker for over £3 million – see more details and photos.

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