Coquet Island Tower

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower, and also as a Certain Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are masonry footings remains

NameCoquet Island Tower
Alternative NamesCoket Island Tower; Coketeland
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHauxley

An Early Medieval monastery was extant in 684 AD, and possibly destroyed circa 800 AD. A Benedictine cell was founded here in 1125 AD and dissolved in 1539. In the 15th century, the tower here was recorded as being a fortalice of Tynemouth Priory. A windmill was built on the site in the late 12th century but was destroyed in 1214. The cell consisted of an east-west 2-storey domestic range with an attached chapel to the east, with a north-west sacristy turret. A tower, perhaps originally detached, is to the south of the west end of domestic range. In 1841 a new dwelling block was built incorporating the undercroft of the domestic range, with a lobby linking it to the tower, the upper part of the tower was rebuilt to carry the lighthouse lantern. Possible remains of the priory are visible as eathworks on air photographs. (PastScape)

The monastic site on Coquet Island survives well within the 19th century buildings and is one of the few where the archaeology of the period can be readily appreciated by visitors. The incorporation of a tower into a small monastic site is unusual. It will aid research into the early Christian period in Northumbria.

The monument includes the site of a pre-Conquest monastic cell founded c.AD 684, and a pre-AD 1125 Benedictine foundation located on Coquet Island. The cell comprised a domestic range with a vaulted undercroft and a chapel attached to the east. It survives as an east-west range of medieval stone buildings, probably 15th century in date, which are incorporated into 19th century buildings associated with a lighthouse. To the south west stand the remains of a medieval tower which has been incorporated in the lighthouse tower. It is linked to the east-west range by a building of 1841. The medieval parts of the building can be differentiated externally from the 19th century work as only the latter are now whitewashed. (Scheduling Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceNU292045
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Photo by Matthew Emmott All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image (Panoramic images open in a new window)
Photo by Matthew Emmott All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Photo by Matthew Emmott All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Carle Robinson All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67
  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 154-5
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 210, 470
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 38
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 200 (slight)
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 53
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 330
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 114-5
  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longman) p. 471
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 87
  • Pevsner, N., 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 129
  • Hodgson, John Crawford (ed), 1899, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 5 p. 315-24 (plan) 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)


  • Ryder, Peter, 2012, 'Surveying the Monastic Cell' Archaeology in Northumberland Vol. 21 p. 6-8 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 19 online copy
  • (Longstaffe, W. H. D.), 1865, 'Runic Ring from Coquet Island' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 6 p. 195

Primary Sources


  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 North East (London: English Heritage) p. vi online copy (On removal from register)
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 15 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 29 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 28 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 27 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 36 online copy
  • Gething, P., Young, G., 2007, Coquet Island Lighthouse, Northumberland. Report of archaeological
  • monitoring and building recording (Bamburgh Research Project BRP 06/04) online copy