Welcome to the Friends of Historic Dilston Website

Polite noticeOur organisation Friends of Historic Dilston was formed on 24 February 2007 to promote interest in the Historic Dilston site and generally protect and preserve the character and amenities of Dilston Castle and Chapel as buildings of historic and architectural significance. At the time of the Friends’ launch, Historic Dilston was under the management of the North Pennines Heritage Trust and the Friends assisted the Trust in the running of events and in the maintenance of the site.

In September 2011, North Pennines Heritage Trust went into administration and the two leases on Historic Dilston reverted to the owners, MENCAP and Allendale Estates.  Despite the change in circumstances, the objectives of the Friends remain the same, namely to assist with the maintenance of Historic Dilston and promote interest in the history of the site.  A particular role of the Friends is to host visits from local history societies and special interest groups, leading guided tours and giving talks on these occasions.  In recent years, the Friends have assisted with a range of events at Historic Dilston, including a flower festival, two open-air dramas, several historic re-enactments, occasional painting and drawing days for art clubs, storytelling and poetry readings.

Past work at Dilston

Dilston Castle and Chapel opened to the public in June 2003, having been restored by the North Pennines Heritage Trust with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage. A second grant award from HLF, together with funding from other sources, enabled a further programme of work to take place, 2008-9, resulting in the whole of the ancient site being taken into care and long-lost archaeological features brought into the public domain. The Friends played a major role in the Historic Dilston Heritage Project, assisting in archaeological work, writing and designing promotional leaflets, interpretation panels and a Historic Dilston Guide Book.

Dilston Castle, front door, photograph by Tony Liddell