Belford Chapel of St Mary

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Questionable Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are masonry footings remains

NameBelford Chapel of St Mary
Alternative NamesChapel Crag
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBelford

An account of 1725 refers to the ruins of a chapel called St. Mary's. It was probably domestic to the Muschamp family, Robert de Muschamp's chaplain being mentioned in 1220. The foundations about 60ft by 21ft are visible at the edge of Chapel Crag, placed on a natural elevation of rock about 60 yds square, and 8ft high (Bateson 1893).

The rectangular plan is still visible in the form of turf-covered foundations 0.4m high (F1 RDL 23-JAN-64). (PastScape)

These are the earthwork remains of a medieval chapel called St Mary's. It was probably built by the Muschamp family. The foundations are about 20m by 7m and can be seen on the edge of Chapel Crag on a natural elevation of rock. It appears to be surrounded by an earth bank. (Keys to the Past)

Gatehouse Comments

According to Tomlinson this chapel had been fortified, or enclosed, 'by some high mounds', although it has apparently been built within existing prehistoric earthworks. Certainly the position is defensible and it commands an excellent view of the coast, although its history is obscure. In the survey of 1415, there is named a 'Castrum de Belfurth' belonging to one Dom de Dacre, which by 1509 was recommended for a garrison by 40 horsemen; this may have been this site or, more probably, Westhall Tower.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNU104344
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  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 71-2
  • Pevsner, N. et al, 1992, The Buildings of England: Northumberland p. 162
  • Bateson, Edward (ed), 1893, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 1 p. 366, 372-4 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 12, 23 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1888, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 445
  • Hodgson, J., 1820, A History of Northumberland Part 3 Vol. 1 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne; John Hodgson) p. 27


  • Hodgson, J.C., 1916, 'List of Ruined Towers, Chapels, etc., in Northumberland; compiled about 1715 by John Warburton, Somerset Herald, aided by John Horsley' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser3) Vol. 13
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 12, 23 online copy


  • Northumberland County Council, 2009, 'Belford' Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey doi:10.5284/1000177 [download copy >]