Capheaton Castle

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are no visible remains

NameCapheaton Castle
Alternative NamesHutton; Kippetheton; Kippitheton
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishCapheaton

A fortalice is mentioned in 1415, and described as a "fair castle" in 1538 (Bates 1891).

It was moated, and had a drawbridge. The present house was built, a little to the east, in 1668 (Hodgson 1827).

There are no visible remains of the 'castle' (probably a tower),and its site is in some doubt. The present owner states that traditionally it stood south of the Hall (position published), whereas Hodgson and later writers record it as being to the west. No clarification is obtained by consultation of available estate records and plans. The Hall itself is not outstanding (F1 BHP 24-AUG-68).

The tower had a moat and drawbridge at that time. A beacon was lit on the roof to warn of sea raiders, and the local gentry often met here to organise retaliatory sorties. This may be the reason why the Charltons led the Croziers here in 1543 to fire both the village and tower. The tower was repairable. Capheaton Hall was commissioned in 1668 to replace the tower (King 1983; Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

Capheaton Castle occurs in the list of fortified places made out some time while the duke of Bedford had possession of the estates of Henry Percy, the second earl of Northumberland, which were restored in 1416. Leland calls it "a faire castle, in the midste of Northumberland, as in the bredthe of it. It is a IIII or V miles north from fenwicke pile and this is the oldist house of the Swinburnes." He also calls the place "Hutton," and says Wallington is two miles east of it

Collins says it was "moated about, and had a drawbridge, and was a place of resort in the moss-trooping times, when the gentlemen of the country met together to oppose those felonious aggressors upon the goods and chattels of the country, having a beacon on its top, to alarm the neighbourhood.'" It was re-built, in 1668, upon a new site, a little to the east of it, from designs by Robert Trollop, the architect of the old exchange of Newcastle, and of the present mansion-house at Netherwitton. (Hodgson 1827)

Gatehouse Comments

Initially called a castrum in the 1415 list but altered in the margin to fortalicium. The actual form of the building is not known but a large tower house seems most likely.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ039804
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 269-70
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 31
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 39
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 51, 59
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 346
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 96-7
  • Hedley, W. Percy, 1968-70, Northumberland Families Vol. 1 p. 97-9,112
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 79
  • 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. 239
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 15, 28, 207 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1827, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 1 p. 213-30 online copy
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1776, A View of Northumberland (Newcastle) Vol. 1 p. 216 (slight) online transcription
  • Collins, A., 1741, The English Baronetage (London) Vol. 3 p. 174 online copy


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England (Sutton Publishing) p. 344
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 65 online copy


  • Riches, A., 1976, 'Capheaton Hall' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 133 p. 169-73 (mainly concerned with later house)
  • 1951-6, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser5) Vol. 1 p. 343
  • 1911, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser3) Vol. 5 p. 79-82 online copy
  • 1901, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 10 p. 59 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 15, 28, 207 online copy

Primary Sources