Wednesday 11 August 2021

Beyond the Buttermart - Barnard Castle

 Beyond the Buttermarket in Barnard Castle

The Buttermart or Market Cross in Barnard Castle is an iconic landmark in the town. The Buttermart, as the name  suggests, was once used as a market place for butter and dairy products.  The enclosed building above the veranda was once a jail but the golden weather vane at the very top can lay claim the most interesting story.  The two holes in the vane were made by bullets, fired in response to a challenge in 1804.  Two local marksmen took aim and fired from the door of the Turk's Head -  a range of 100 yards!  Barnard Castle is just over the North Yorkshire / Co Durham border and makes a great day out when staying at Pry House Farm or Hillcrest Cottage. 


But what lies beyond the Buttermart?  Beyond the Buttermart is called The Bank.  The Bank, for many years, has been well known for its many antique shops. Infact you will still find half a dozen excellent antique shops to browse and enjoy.  However it doesn't stop there. 
Beyond the Buttermart is fast becoming the Artisan quarter in Barnard Castle.  Several new shops selling an ecclectic range of goods have now opened their door including The Hand Crafter's Hub who support local art and crafters

The Old Curiosity Shop, home of David Harper Arts, is full of unusual finds.  Colourful and quirky, its one of Beyond the Buttermart's 'must call in shops' 

The Antique Centre at the bottom of The Bank is divided into small spaces for individual dealers to sell their wares.  Robson's Antiques is the oldest established antique shop on The Bank.

Without doubt, the most impressive, intriguing and interesting building in the whole of Barnard Castle is Blaygraves House.  Not only the oldest house in the town but one of the most historic, from rafters to cellars.  This 15th century building has links with Richard 111, the princes in the tower and Oliver Cromwell, who lodged and dined here. Its attics were once a brewery and its cellars or dungeons are reputed to have had a passageway leading to Egglestone Abbey or The Castle itself. Who made their escape via this passageway, I wonder?
Today Blaygraves House is a fine restaurant serving the very best food in historic surroundings.

Sitting comfortably amongst the antique & collectable shops is Claire International Ltd bespoke knitwear, Tinkerdog Computers and Connelly's Toyshop.  Connelly's seems to be have on The Bank forever, an independent toy shop selling traditional & modern toys and baby goods and still as much in demand as when my children were small  If you are having computer problems then Ben at Tinkerdog is your man.  So knowledgeable, so nice - he will have you fixed and away in no time

Of course there is more to Barnard Castle than Beyond the Bank.  The Bowes Museum is internationally renowned and holds exceptional exhibitions, artwork, ceramics and events  The Castle itself is well worth a visit.  Sitting on a high rock on the edge of the town but only a minutes walk from the market place, the castle ruins and grounds make the perfect escape from the busy shops, cafes and eateries 

Whatever you choose to do when you visit Barnard Castle you are guaranteed a great day out.  Town trail maps can be found in the bed & breakfast and Hillcrest Cottage and all the shops in Barney.  Have a good time!