Bellville baker turns dreams into reality
Mike Newman bestows knighthood upon a cadre of youngsters before allowing them to enter his realm – his castle where he reigns as king.
His castle is not just figurative, Mike Newman actually built a castle in the rolling hills between Brenham and Bellville. He’s a baker by trade, as he is the owner of Newman’s Bakery in Bellville, but over the year’s he’s become an architect, mason, engineer and carpenter to make the dream of his own castle come true, even down to a moat and operating drawbridge.
“The land originally was bought as an investment,” Mr. Newman explained. “I wanted a little house and my original thought was a log cabin… I didn’t want to live in a house that was a kit, so I designed my own log cabin.
“Just before I was going to build it a friend came out here and we were talking about building the cabin, he said it was going to be a lot of work, but a man’s home is his castle. The minute he said that I started
thinking about a castle and I couldn’t think of anything else.”
It took eight years to build the original portion of the castle with walls enclosing a 1/4-acre and encasing turrets, a chapel, a dungeon, a four-story keep and his living quarters. Mr. Newman came to believe his castle needed a great hall and a bell tower – so he built them with the bell tower reaching more than six stories into the air, affording a view of the area around the castle.
It’s been a tall task building a castle, but Mr. Newman likens it to decorating a cake.
Construction started in 1998 and most of the work he did himself. The walls of the castle are made from cinderblocks, then covered with stucco. All the design came from his imagination as there are not many blueprints available for castles.
When he built it, it was just for him. He had the bakery in Bellville, but the castle was his abode and place to get away from it all. One day, a persistent tour guide from Harris County stopped at the bakery and heard he was building the castle and she wanted a tour. The answer was always no, until one day she got him to agree when she appealed to his community spirit as she told him that giving tours of the castle would help promote his bakery and Bellville.
“She had me then,” Mr. Newman joked. “I’ve gotten a lot of personal joy and satisfaction from the tours, they have been very rewarding. It’s fun to see children and adults come in and act like a kid for a little while.
“You can see it in their eyes as they dream and imagine again,” Mr. Newman added.
Along with the tours Mr. Newman rents the castle out for weddings and other events. He’s adding some guest rooms to be able to offer more to his guests. He’ll even put on a medieval feast if they desire it.
Tours are offered six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Tours must be arranged at Newman’s Bakery in Bellville where they will provide directions to the castle. To learn more about the tours contact Newman’s Bakery at (979)865-9804.