Witton Tower, Witton-le-Wear

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWitton Tower, Witton-le-Wear
Alternative NamesWitton Le Wear 2; Witton Hall
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishWillington

House and possible chapel. Medieval with additions and alterations in C17, C18 and C19. Thin courses of sandstone rubble, pink in places, with ashlar dressings and quoins; plinth. Roofs of stone flags and Welsh slate with stone and brick chimneys. Irregular plan. 3-storey, one-bay tower with 2-storey, 2-bay left wing and 3-storey, 3-bay right wing; 2-storey, one-bay link at left to so-called chapel breaking forward. Tudor-arched surround to door at right of tower in c.1900 glazed porch; windows of varying types and sizes, those in tower with stone-mullioned flat-Tudor-headed lights, those at left of tower cross-type on ground floor, 16-pane sash and Y-glazing barred sash above, those in right wing sashes with glazing bars in Tudor-arched surrounds; most have drip or label moulds; right wing has strings on upper floors interrupted by windows. Left link to chapel has 2-light stone-mullioned ground-floor window; upper window obscured by ivy. 'Chapel' has 3-light window under 2-centred-arched drip mould with round stops; small lancet above and belfry in front gable peak. Tower has high coped parapet on string, and central stone chimney stack with tapered yellow pots; brick stacks at right and at outer ends of wings. (Listed Building Report)

Witton Tower is an extensive mansion which includes a Medieval tower house, a chapel and an intermediate dwelling. Before the later 19th century is was better known as Witton Tower. There are a number of modern extensions. The house, for some years a hotel, was extensively remodelled in the later 1990s and again in 2005/6, when it and the attached farm building group were being converted into a series of separate dwelling units. The house is quite large, and made up of a number of components. In the centre is the tower itself, a north-south block, roughly twice as long as it is wide; its southern half is three storeys high and the northern half rises further a half-storey

Projecting eastward from this block, but set back a little northwards, is the three-bay three-storey east wing, with a block behind infilling the space between it and a parallel wing (the north-east wing). On the opposite (west) side of the centre block, similarly set back, is the two-storey two-bay west wing, continued by the lower but still two-storeyed L-plan chapel wing (now outbuildings) which angles (at rather less than a right angle) to the south. The chapel appears to be the earliest part of the structure, and contains in its south gable end a Norman window - a narrow, round-headed aperture of C12 date, situated above a restored Early English window. However, there is the possibility that the chapel is later and is a gothic C18th invention, using possibly the material from a chapel from Witton Castle which was demolished sometime in the 18th century. The remains of C16 hood-moulds and mullions may be seen in the tower and dwelling-house. The roofs are of stone flags and Welsh slate, with stone and brick chimneys. (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 ReferenceNZ143313
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved View full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved View full Sized Image

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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 63
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 139
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 33
  • 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. 138
  • Hugill, Robert, 1979, The Castles and Towers of the County of Durham (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 108
  • Pevsner, N., 1953, Buildings of England: Durham (Harmondsworth) (London) p. 244-5