Hirst Castle, Ashington

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are no visible remains

NameHirst Castle, Ashington
Alternative NamesHirst in Woodhorn; Low Hirst; North Hurst
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAshington

The 'Castle' of Hirst still stood in Hodgson's time (circa 1916) and was incorporated in a farmhouse. There were two buildings of which very little is known, one may have been a tower or a pele and the other a castle. Tomlinson states that the tower was probably built by Ralph, 3rd Lord Ogle, who died in 1513 and the adjoining farm house may have been built by Thomas Errington, who died in 1629. The E wall of the farm house was surmounted by a narrow oblong turret and this was believed to be the only part with battlements. The S front was mainly Jacobean (Long 1967; Tomlinson 1899).

No remains; site covered by modern development (F1 JHO 01-FEB-54).

According to Dodds, a tower was built for George Ogle, documented in a contract of 1536, and in 1549 he was charged to light a beacon on it when reivers were about. The tower was demolished in 1910. He also refers to the second tower which Warburton attributed to one Johnson. Nothing is known of any Johnson owning or leasing property in this area. (Cathcart King 1983; Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

Tower stood at Hirst in medieval times. Old documents suggest that it was built by Ralph, the third Lord Ogle in the late C15 or early C16. A manor house next to it is thought to have been built by Thomas Errington in C17. However, the tower was demolished in 1916 and the site has been built over. (Keys to the Past)

Gatehouse Comments

The 1715 Survey records " North Hurst ... 'in which is 2 ancient piles, ye one belonging to ye Dutches of Newcastle and ye other to one Johnson, both formerly possest by ye Withringtons' " Although possibly built by Lord Ogle this does not seem to have been intended as a baronial residence and seems mainly to have been inhabited by gentry status tenats. In form it was a chamber tower adjacent to a undefended hall and, therefore with the criteria used by Gatehouse a pele tower.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ281878
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 223
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 70
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 78
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 77
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 349
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 205
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 122
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1897, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 290
  • Hodgson, J., 1832, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 2 p. 192 online copy


  • Wilson, D.M. and Hurst, D.G., 1969, 'Medieval Britain in 1968' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 13 p. 273 online copy
  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 148-50
  • 1930, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser4) Vol. 4 p. 307-10
  • Hodgson, J.C., 1916, 'List of Ruined Towers, Chapels, etc., in Northumberland; compiled about 1715 by John Warburton, Somerset Herald, aided by John Horsley' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser3) Vol. 13 p. 16 abridged transcription
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1899, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 9 p. 105-9 online copy