Grotto, West Yorkshire

Bellman’s Castle, West Nab, near Meltham, West Yorkshire

Courtesy Kirklees Image Archive

In 1920 the Yorkshire Post published a letter about a mysterious cave, or grotto, at West Nab on moorland above Meltham on the western edge of Yorkshire. The correspondent believed the structure had been built around 1500 years earlier as the dwelling of the pagan god Baal – hence it’s being known as ‘Bellman’s Castle’.
The building’s true history is more prosaic. In around 1750 R.H. Beaumont of nearby Whitley Beaumont built a banqueting house for the use of he and his friends when they were shooting on the moor. It featured a huge stone slab of a table around which 20 could dine. Beaumont’s Castle had been misheard or misinterpreted as ‘Bellman Castle’ by the time the 1st edition ordnance survey map was published in 1854.

It was however imbued with romance and fantasy from the very start. In 1751 a visitor was confident it ‘resembles ye Habitations of the Druids in ye Scotch Islands’.

This 1920 photograph shows it was already in poor condition by that date.

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4 thoughts on “Bellman’s Castle, West Nab, near Meltham, West Yorkshire”

  1. Gwyn Headley says:

    It’s not in the greatest condition, but it still looks too massive to have entirely disappeared. Anything left?

  2. Editor says:

    It’s in a fairly remote spot and I’m hoping someone will read this post and volunteer to guide me there. Modern photos online show a pile of stones.

  3. Jane says:

    Reminds me of the wonderful stone dining table we were shown on a Yorkshire Gardens Trust visit a few years ago. Wonder how often they were able to use it.

    1. Editor says:

      I should think that many a shooting party was grateful for the shelter!

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