In 1751 Sir Edward Blackett, 4th Bt., married Anne Douglas, sole heir of Oley Douglas, whose father had acquired the estates of the once powerful Carnaby family. This brought into Blackett ownership Halton Castle, a pele tower close to Hadrian’s Wall, north of Corbridge, Northumberland, as well as the Matfen estate.
The pele tower was first recorded in 1382, but a manor house was added to it in the 15th century. This latter building was largely demolished in 1696 by John Douglas and replaced by the present house, in part using masonry from a nearby Roman fort.
Sir Edward spent most of his time at Thorpe Lea in the south of England, but today Halton Castle is the principal residence of Sir Hugh and Lady Blackett. It is a Grade I listed building.
On his marriage Sir Edward also acquired Aydon Castle, about a mile from Halton Castle. The Castle is a particularly fine example of a 13th century English manor house, but was rarely used as such by the Blackett family, instead being used as a farmhouse until its transfer to the Ministry of Works in 1966. It has since been restored by English Heritage to reveal what remains of the 13th century fortified manor house and the 14th century additions.