Corbridge Town Defences

Has been described as a Possible Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameCorbridge Town Defences
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishCorbridge

The County History describes a defensive work at Corbridge, extending from Stagshaw Road to Orchard Vale. Taking this feature, together with place name evidence, it has been speculated that it was the defences of a 'burh' in the late 10th or early 11th century. However, the logic of this argument can be challenged by a suggestion elsewhere in the same volume that the name Corbridge is not a corruption from burh, but is a name derived from the Roman bridge (Craster 1914, 14). Whatever the true origin of the feature, it seems to have used natural watercourses and other topographical features except where following a roadway. Its defensive qualities were therefore probably slight and its purpose may have been to delimit the town, rather than defend it (Craster 1914, 30-1). More recent speculation has suggested that the ditch may have followed the line of an earlier vallum monasteri enclosing the seventh or eighth century monastery centred on St Andrew's Church" (Ryder 1992, 3), and the line of Spoutwell Lane at the east end of the town has also been described as “forming part of the limits of the old town which some think were marked by a ditch or pallisade or both” (Iley nd, 177). Archaeological observation at The Chains in 2000 recorded a noticeable 'crest' crossing the site on an east-west alignment which might possibly have been the town boundary (Event 91). (Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey)

No remains of Roman defensive circuit of earthworks reutilized by medieval town. (Bond)

Gatehouse Comments

King writes was ditched. PastScape reports it to be of late C10/earlyC11 date. Creighton and Higham write an oblique reference to defences made in town charter dated after 1212.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY990644
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 211
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 362
  • Iley, W.R., 197?, Corbridge, Border Village_
  • Craster, H.H.E. (ed), 1914, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 10 p. 14, 29-31, 113 online copy


  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86


  • Northumberland County Council, 2008, 'Corbridge' Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey doi:10.5284/1000177 [download copy >]
  • Ryder, P,, 1992, An Archaeological Watching Brief at No. 8 Trinity Terrace, Corbridge