Lemmington Hall

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameLemmington Hall
Alternative NamesLemington; Lematon
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishEdlingham

Country house, c.1750 for Nicholas Fenwick, incorporating C15 towerhouse of Beadnell family; late C18 alterations by William Newton; roofless ruin in late C19, restored 1913 for Sir Stephen Aitchison; converted to convent 1947. House tooled ashlar, tower squared stone; graduated Lakeland slate roof. Plan: ranges around small court, open to north-east; L-plan tower incorporated into north-east end of south-east range.

South-east elevation 2 storeys, 9 bays. Centre bay projects and 2 end bays on either side are set back. High plinth to ground floor sill band. 5 semicircular steps to panelled double door with sidelights; stone cornice and radial fanlight above in triple-keyed archivolt within broken pediment. Group of 3 windows above, the outer ones narrower. Ground-floor windows 12-pane sashes, upper windows 6-pane sashes, all in architraves, those on ground floor with swell friezes and cornices, and with pediments except in set-back outer sections. Moulded and modillioned eaves cornice and central pediment. Parapet behind, carried over pediment, and with urn finials at angles. 2 corniced stacks, irregularly placed.

On left return projecting 3-bay pedimented wing of 1913 in similar style. Right return shows large stepped buttress of 1913 with exposed masonry of C15 tower house to right; C20 fenestration (utilising imported medieval material) and embattled parapet. Imposing early C20 round-arched entrance and Venetian window on rear wing set back to right. Right return of tower shows early C20 traceried 1st-floor windows.

Interior: Internal features of house c.1913 re-using stair balustrades, doors and architraves, window seats etc. from London, mainly from Camelford House, Park Lane. Other woodwork, including panelling in chapel, from Chateau at Bar-le-duc, France

Tower retains barrel-vaulted basement and newel stair in south turret; 1st floor chamber, now chapel, has re-set roll-moulded C16 fireplace behind reredos and mural chamber with oubliette.

C20 glazed front porch, single-storey extension to south-west, and later north-west extension linking to outbuildings are not of interest. (Listed Building Report)

The oldest part of Lemmington Hall is a medieval tower. It was probably built in the early 15th century by the Beadnell family, but it is not known whether the tower was a self-contained residence or part of a wider group of manorial buildings. The tower has undergone many modification and additions. For example, in the 18th century the upper part of the tower was removed and the building refaced in stone and then incorporated into a country house built for Nicholas Fenwick. However, by about 1900 the hall was a roofless ruin and was rescued by Sir Stephen Aitchison after 1913. It was converted into a convent by 1947 and then an old people's home. (Keys to the Past)

The tower at Lemington was erected in the latter half of the 14th cent. It is mentioned in a list of towers dated 1460 (Hodgson 1820) (Bates gives the date of this list as 1415). The tower occupies the NE portion of Lemington Hall built before 1752.

The masonry on the north side is untouched but that on the east and part of the south side has been encased in ashlar to harmonize with the 18th cent. work. The remainder, now being interior walls, have been plastered over.

The tower is L-shaped, external dimensions being about 53 feet E-W by 35 feet on the west side and 48 feet on the east side. The projection on the SE corner is occupied by the entrance, staircase, and some small apartments, three storeys in height. The main block is two storeys high, the lower containing a high vaulted chamber, with the upper storey much altered. The tower no doubt possessed a third floor but this was probably removed in the 18th cent. The basement or lower floor of the tower is a vaulted apartment that was lighted by a single loop at the west end.

The upper floor has been much altered but traces of original windows and two fireplaces remain. In the NW corner is a vacant space, probably a garderobe (Hodgson 1820; Bates 1891).

Description correct; battlements were added to the tower in the 18th cent.

Original masonry is visible on the NW and NE sides but all the architectural features are modern except for one small window on the NW side. The small wing in the SE corner is encased in ashlar, and has no external traces of antiquity.

The hall was repaired in 1914-18 and is now a convent (F1 EG 26-JAN-55). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Much altered and now actually only two storeys. Despite the uncertainty mentioned in the Keys to the Past record almost certainly originally a chamber or solar tower attached to a hall and, therefore, in the terms of the Gatehouse website a pele tower although one of the larger of these.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceNU121112
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Calculate Print


  • Pevsner, N., Richmond, I., Grundy, J., McCombie, G., Ryder, P. and Welfare, H., 2001, The Buildings of England: Northumberland (London: Penguin Books) p. 374-375
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 151
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 73
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 114-5
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 189
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 57
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 337
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 226
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 131
  • Pevsner, N., 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 204
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 146-7
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Hodgson, John Crawford (ed), 1904, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 7 p. 176 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 19 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1820, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 1 p. 30 online copy


  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 19 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 1 Alnwick District p. 19-23