When Mike Newman told his friends what he wanted to build in his small Texas hometown, they thought he was crazy. Today, Newman's Castle is a must-see attraction.
In the rural town of Bellville, Texas, sits a medieval-style castle on a 20-acre lot. This castle, complete with a moat, trebuchet, and 62-foot tower, is home to a local baker.
Newman’s Castle started as a passion project for Mike Newman, a baker looking to design a very particular kind of home for himself. After nearly 10 years of construction, he had his medieval-style castle fit for a king.
Today, Newman opens his home for the enjoyment of tourists far and wide. He hopes his unique castle will inspire others to make their dreams a reality, no matter how crazy they may sound.
Step inside Newman’s Castle and learn the incredible story behind it.
Mike Newman And His Life-Long Dream To Be The King Of His Own Castle
When Mike Newman told his friends that he wanted to build a castle in rural Texas, they thought he was crazy.
The baker now calls his massive castle — equipped with a moat, drawbridge, and trebuchet — home. The building process took more than eight years, but Newman says it was well worth the wait.
“I wanted to do more than make donuts,” Newman said to USA Today, talking about his job at the local bakery. “I’ve built me quite a house out here. After all, a man’s home is his castle.”
The building began after Newman purchased a 20-acre plot in Bellville, Texas.
“I came out here one afternoon with a lawn chair… and a bottle of champagne also,” Newman said. “I sat in the lawn chair and started looking around, trying to envision things.”
Newman wanted the castle to fit his preferences to a tee, so he decided to forgo the contractors and build the castle with only the help of a single assistant.
In total, the building process took many years to complete, but by the end, Newman had built himself a medieval-style fortress in the woods of Texas.
The castle features a full moat (“watch out for gators!” the website advises), a working drawbridge, a 64-foot tall bell tower, a chapel, and even a dungeon.
For Newman, who currently lives in the castle, the structure is a testament to his abilities as a builder.
“I have actually looked up at some of these things and say, ‘Did I actually build that?'” Newman said to USA Today. “It’s very self-rewarding.”
But with a whole castle to himself, Newman resolved to share his creation with the world and opened up his home to curious visitors.
Making Newman’s Castle A Home — And Then A Tourist Destination
Newman decided to combine both of his worlds — one as the life of a baker and the other as a king of a castle — to create an engaging, and delicious, tour of his home.
“We host tours from one or two people to 100,” Newman told the Houston Chronicle.
The tour begins at Newman’s Bakery, continues with a bus ride through the country, and culminates in a nearly two-hour-long journey back in time to the medieval period.
In particular, children and their parents most often flock to the castle for a mini history lesson.
“We see a lot of school children and Boy-and-Girl-Scout [troops]. I think the castle acts as an inspiration to kids. They see that they can make their dreams come true if they work at it,” Newman said.
On some tours, Newman passes out wooden swords to the children and performs a knighting ceremony. Then, he usually moves on to demonstrate how his on-site trebuchet works.
Next, Newman encourages the children to “storm” the castle, stopping at the 3,000-pound drawbridge wheel to lower and close it.
Inside the castle, Newman leads his guests on a tour through the great hall, dungeon, chapel, and even his personal living quarters.
From there, the tour stops in the dining hall to enjoy a lunch provided by Newman’s bakery in true medieval banquet fashion.
Newman’s Castle’s Impact On Its Rural Texas Surroundings
Despite leading hundreds of tours, Newman still finds every single one rewarding.
“I’m still having a good time. Especially, if you see other people happy, it’s easy for me to appreciate that… The [positivity] that comes from it from my point of view has been, wow, thank you Lord. You know, it’s just like a gift from above,” he said to The Texas Bucket List.
Today, Newman’s Castle is open for several events, including weddings, wine tastings, birthdays, and even murder mystery parties.
The castle continues to be Newman’s primary residence, and he is currently working on expanding the building to include a guest wing.
“For me, I think it is something like an artistic expression. I am a craftsman and mechanically inclined, and working on the castle lets me use those skills. I am building some guest rooms in it now so I can host retreats.”
“It also keeps me from getting bored,” Newman laughed to the Houston Chronicle.
Furthermore, the castle has benefited not just Newman but the whole town of Bellville.
“Mike’s castle put Bellville on the map,” 23-year resident, Don Lawrence, said. “Our town’s tourism has doubled because of it. The craftsmanship of the whole thing is unbelievable. In fact, everything Mike does is amazing.”
With the overwhelming interest and support for his passion project, Newman feels he is giving back to his hometown and improving his own life.
“I’m very happy to be from here and I’m very pleased and honored to have so many people come out here to my castle to see it. But then there’s a great overflow of that because they get to spend a little time here in a small community, here in Texas,” he said.
After learning about Newman’s Castle, go inside Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. Then, check out photos of another American palace, Bishop Castle, the largest self-built palace in the United States.