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Two miles NW of Kielder, where Bells Burn drops into the River North Tyne, lies the site of an enigmatic former religious site known as Bell’s Chapel, or Bell’s Kirk. It is very near to a curious twist in the Anglo-Scottish border – an area once deemed to be ‘in dispute’ and undoubtedly considered to be part of Scotland for various periods in its history.
For centuries the spot has been labelled ‘Bell’s Chapel (site of)’, for it is now long gone. First mentioned in the 16th century, it was believed to have occupied the spot of an old pagan shrine of some sort. A writer in 1828 described that “every vestige of it has long since been obliterated, except some graves”, and all that remains today is what may (or may not) be the old font – pictured above.
Nearby is an abandoned settlement (believed to have been called Bell, Bells or Bell’s House); and the spot was an important meeting place in the days of the Border Reivers.
Other than that, nothing else seems to be known about the old place…