Belsay

BELSAY, a township, in the parish of Bolam, union of Castle ward, N. E. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northumberland, 13 miles (N. W.) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne; containing 312 inhabitants. The township comprises 2516 acres: the soil is of great variety, and, with the exception of some fine grass-land within the park, mostly arable, and of medium or inferior quality; there are considerable quarries of lime and freestone. Belsay Hall, a splendid edifice of Grecian character, built by Sir Charles Monck, stands on a dry knoll, and partly occupies the site of the late chapel of Belsay; the structure is of the Doric order, and forms a square of upwards of a hundred feet. The ancient castle, supposed, from its style, to have been built in the reign of King John, stands not far from the Hall, at the head of a vale, backed by a woody hill; and is reckoned one of the most perfect specimens, and certainly one of the most imposing, of Norman castellated architecture in the county. The vicarial tithes have been commuted for £10. 12. 6. On the top of the how, or hill, west of the castle, is an old Roman camp, the fosses of which are still very perfect; and below it along the back of the hill, the old village of Belshow, or Belsay, originally stood. The hill was sacred to the British god Bel, whence its name.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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