Prior's House, Hexham

Submitted by alkirtley on Fri, 11/22/2019 - 14:51

Prior’s House, Hexham (also known as Hexham Abbey, Abbey House, or Hexham Priory) was purchased by Sir William Blackett (1657-1705) in 1688 from the impoverished Sir John Fenwick as part of the same transaction that included Wallington. (See entry above.) Although the much grander Anderson Place and Wallington were the principal seats of Sir William, and of his son, they did spend time at Hexham Priory, as subsequently did Sir Walter Calverley Blackett after he inherited the estates. Sir Walter had trees planted and walks laid out in the grounds of the Priory, and allowed the local population to use them. He had extensive alterations to the house carried out in 1736. After a serious fire in 1775 the house was rebuilt at great expense, but after further fires in 1817 and 1818 the rebuilding was carried out on a more modest scale by Col. Thomas Richard Beaumont, whose wife, Diana, the illegitimate daughter of Sir Thomas Wentworth Blackett, had inherited much of the Blackett fortune. After the rebuilding, the family ceased to occupy the house and it was finally presented by the Beaumont family to Northumberland County Council.

In the nearby Market Square stands a colonaded piazza now known as The Shambles, which was presented to Hexham by Sir Walter Calverley Blackett.