Plessey Hall

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House, and also as a Possible Pele Tower

There are masonry footings remains

NamePlessey Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBlyth

PLESSEY HALL was probably built c.1680 out of the remains of a more extensive building. Traces of a "place of considerable importance" are to be seen behind the house in the form of earthworks, and a terrace wall running along the bank of the R.BLYTH and turning up HALL DENE to fortify the west as far as the southern line of earthworks in front of the house. The family of PLESSIS lived for several generations in the "capital messuage of their manor at PLESSETUM". It is mentioned in 1242, and is described as being defended in 1316. In 1349 it belonged to the WIDDRINGTONS (Hodgson). PLESSEY HALL, now a farmhouse, shows little evidence of antiquity and there is no trace of any separate earlier building. The earthworks cited as being behind the house are presumably those in a field to the N.W. of the house. They are the results of surface quarrying, probably for coal. There is no trace of the terrace wall mentioned by Hodgson, or of the southern line of earthworks. The area to the south has been subject to open-cast mining (F1 FDC 24-MAR-54). Richard Plessey and his wife Margaret owned Plessey in 1346 when they had monetary difficulties. They obtained a mortgage from Roger de Widdrington, and when Richard died in 1349, Roger foreclosed the mortgage and built a small house for Margaret. This was the fortified house to which the other authorities refer, which was enlarged and fortified after her death. With a moat and wall it achieved the status of a fortified manor house, and as such it serveed the Widdringtons, and later, the Brandlings. It was demolished by Sir Richard Neville, and replaced by the present farmhouse in 1680. Distinct earthworks between the house and the river are thought to relate to the Mediaeval building (Dodds). (PastScape)

Plessey Hall. C17 core remodelled in C18 and again in C19. Coursed rubble with roughly-shaped quoins and cut dressings; C20 pantile roof

A complex house difficult to interpret; a blocked window at eaves level on the north suggest that the C17 house was of 3 storeys. It may have been used as a farm building in the C18, returning to domestic status in the C19. On an important medieval site. (Listed Building Report)

PLESSEY HALL at present is a largish farm-house, probably built about a century and a half since, and out of the remains of a more extensive edifice. Some old apple trees and a large walnut tree, in the site of the old garden, and in front of the house, seem to have belonged to the time when the Widdringtons, and their successor sir Richard Neile, resided here: but traces of a place of considerable importance are still to be seen behind the house, in old earth works, a foss that has run in front of it, and remains of a terrace wall running along the uppermost verge of the southern bank of the Blyth, and turning up the Hall dene to flank arid fortify the west as far as the southern line of earth works in front of the house. The place is admirably chosen for retirement and security. Charming walks might be formed along the sides of the Hall dene, and on the rocky banks of the Blyth. The monks and gentry of antient times seldom failed in choosing admirable sites for their houses. Beauty, comfort, and security reigned round their residences. Here the old family of Plessis flourished for several generations, in the "capital messuage of their manor of Plessetum," which, in a deed of 1316, is described as being situated, as it had been in the times of the ancestors of its then existing lord, within the close or protection of a wall and a ditch. In 1242, sir John de Plesseto settled upon Roger of Toggesdene and Agnes his wife, his lands of Plessis and Shotton, and his capital messuage "del Plesiz," which at that time he had in his own hand. After the whole estate fell into the hands of the Widdringtons, in 1349, I think it probable that some of them resided here as tenants to the chief of the family, till the fee simple of it was given to the branch whose heiress married to Brandling and Neile, after whose time it sunk into the grade of a farm-house, and its tenants were too much occupied in tilling the clayey soils of the estate to admire the beauties of the situation which procured it its name. In the Plessis pedigree, notice has been taken of the bargain which Margaret, the widow of Richard de Plessis made, in 1349, with Roger de Widdrington, for a house, and maintenance for her life. She had probably been occupying the manor house up to that time. Widdrington, among other things, covenanted to allow her £20 a year; and to build her a house "within the site of the manor of Plescys, to consist of a hall, a chamber, a pantry, a buttery, a brew-house, and a byre for six cows and their calves." Was this the origin of the hamlet situated on the wayside, about a mile south-east of Plessey Hall, and now called Plessey Newhouses? (Hodgson)

Gatehouse Comments

Some authors have assumed the form of the medieval house and it has been called a tower and as moated. Both of these are possible but neither form is certain.

- 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 ReferenceNZ228790
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 222
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 91
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 145-6
  • Hodgson, J., 1832, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 2 p. 302 online copy