Border Castles and Towers

 Haughton Castle 


From Hexham take the A69 west, then the A6079 north. At the crossroads (4 miles) turn left and at the roundabout take the last exit for Humshaugh.

This is the best scenic approach to the castle.

Map ref:  87 919 729

Pronounced Howton, to rhyme with mountain.

A mighty stronghold, it is associated with dreadful tales of bloodshed and torture.

The castle is in a fine setting and very photogenic.

It is associated with the Swinburnes and Widdringtons families. 

The Story of Archie Armstrong

Archie Armstrong, the chief of his clan, had been captured and was

flung into the dungeon of Haughton Castle.

Sir Thomas Swinburne, the castle owner, had been summoned to York

by the Chancellor, Lord Cardinal Wolsey.

Well on his way he became aware of a large key hanging from his belt.

Suddenly, he remembered the prisoner.

Three days had passed since his imprisonment and is was likely that

he had been without food and water all that time.

Without seeing the Cardinal, Swinburne turned his horse and, alarmed,

rode at speed back north.

His horse dropped dead at Durham with fatigue but he got another and

eventually reached Haughton at midnight, exhausted.

But when the entrance to the dungeon was opened his worst fears

were confirmed,

Archie Armstrong was dead.

His features were contorted with a fearful look of horror and the flesh

of his forearm had been gnawed away.

The ghost of the reiver haunted the castle thereafter with dreadful

shrieks coming from the dungeon.

A priest was brought from nearby Simonburn to exorcise the ghost

which he did with the help of a large black bible.

Years later, the bible was taken away for repair and immediately the

shrieking was heard again.

The ghost had returned.

Hastily, the bible was returned and the shrieking ceased.

Archie was at rest again.