Pockerley Pele, Beamish

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NamePockerley Pele, Beamish
Alternative NamesPokeley
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishUrpeth

Pele tower on east return of Pockerley Farmhouse. Pele tower. Probably C15 with later alterations and additions. Coursed rubble with large stones inlower courses; Welsh slate roof. Rectangular plan: 10.3 metres long and 7.3 metres wide. 2 storeys. Raised east gable end has large, roughly-squared quoins, wide segmental relieving arch below gable and 2 later battered buttresses with C20 casement between. South wall has fragment of plinth, similar masonry and a late C19 first-floor sash. North wall, hidden by added narrow outshut, had a blocked 2-light window, with arched heads and hoodmould, on first floor (window may still be behind outshut). West gable end hidden by adjoining farmhouse (q.v.). Steeply-pitched roof with coped east gable. Interior entered via doorway in barn on south. Walls 1.6-metres thick on ground floor and 1.2-metres thick above. Passage with 2 openings on north: roughly- arched opening to mural stairway inside east gable; chamfered round-arched doorway into stone barrel-vaulted chamber with blocked splayed loop at west. Mural stairway to first-floor square-headed doorway. Subdivided upper chamber has 3 cambered ceiling beams of heavy scantling. Main room has wide chamfered fireplace and 2 blocked windows behind cupboards on north wall. Small chamber beyond lath and plaster partition has blocked window with rough shouldered rear arch. Partly reconstructed roof retains many original timbers of heavy scantling with wood pegged joints. 3 similar principal trusses: jowled king posts on tie beams have arched braces to ridge piece; principal rafters halved into re-used cambered collars which are halved into the king posts. 2 intermediate trusses with principals bedded into wall. A rare though altered example of a pele-tower in County Durham which appears to retain a largely original roof structure

(Listed Building Report)

Pockerley Farmhouse, now known as Pockerley Manor, stands on an isolated hilltop on the west side of the valley of the Beamish Burn, 1 km to the north of Beamish Village. Since 1990 the farm has been part of the North of England Open Air Museum. The early-19th century section of the farmhouse has been considerably altered with the re-use of various architectural features inside and out, whilst the attached medieval building has been restored. The roof has been dated to c.1441 by dendrochronology. The medieval building is a rectangular block of two storeys and attics, 10.7 by 7.7m externally, constructed of roughly-squared and roughly-coursed sandstone blocks, with some very large pieces in the lower courses. The only reference to the medieval building in archaeological literature is an 1889 latter by a Mr J. F. Robinson published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle Vol.4 which contains quite a concise description of the structure; the first floor rooms were then occupied by an elderly woman and a young girl. The building had been damaged by mining subsidence, and there was some question as to whether it might be demolished. Pockerley, as a securely-dated and apparently intact medieval building, is a rare and valuable survival. The weight of evidence is certainly in favour of it having been a self-contained defensible house. (Keys to the Past)

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 ReferenceNZ222545
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 47
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 139
  • Corfe, Tom (ed), 1992, 'The Visible Middle Ages' in An Historical Atlas of County Durham p. 28-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 136


  • Ryder, P.F., 1992, 'Bastles and bastle-like buildings in Allendale' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 149 p. 370
  • Robinson, 1889-90, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 4 p. 115-6