Alnham Earls Pele
Has been described as a Certain Tower House
There are masonry footings remains
|Name||Alnham Earls Pele
|Alternative Names||Earls Tower; Alnham Castle; Elnam; Turris de Alneham; Aylnane; Alname
The remains of a medieval tower house at Alnham, often referred to as Alnham Castle. It lies on high ground to the south of the medieval village remains. The tower is rectangular in plan and survives as a prominent sub-rectangular mound which measures 22m east-west by 18m north-south and stands up to 2m high. Part of the inner face of the north wall and its junction with a cross wall are visible as exposed masonry and there is a possible doorway at the north east corner. The tower is one of two in Alnham and is first mentioned in 1405 when it was surrendered to royal troops. (PastScape)
A tower at ALNHAM is first mentioned in 1405 when it surrendered to the royal troops after the Earl of Northumberland's insurrection in that year. A tower is held by the Earl in 1415 and c. 1514. ALNHAM tower is again listed in 1584 in a survey of border fortresses. In a survey of the Earls lands in 1566 it is described as "a strong stone Tower of ancient time built and strongly vaulted over. The house now ruinous and in some decay." The tower in course of time disappeared, but its foundations can still be traced on a knoll opposite to the church (Dodds 1935).
The foundations show traces of a square tower and the remains of other buildings, probably the outer offices and the wall of the barmkin. Mr. WILLIAM BROWN of ALNHAM remembers having seen a number of door-heads, window heads and mullions, along with other dressed stones, amongst the ruins (Dixon 1895).
Situated in pastureland on the summit of a small knoll at about 540ft above sea level are banks of earth and stone forming a roughly square enclosure to indicate the site of this tower
A slight lowering of the slopes in the southeast corner may represent an entrance.
The banks are much spread and mutilated, particularly the eastern bank from which project at a slight angle traces of two other banks which, with another outer bank appear to have formed an eastern annex.
South of the site a small level platform is formed by a lynchet bank which projects from the south-east corner of the outer enclosure.
Another lynchet bank and a well defined outer bank north of the site, both of which merge with the bank of a small stream to the north west may have formed part of the tower's defences, but are likely to be associated with the medieval township of ALNHAM (NT 91 SE 16).
Although overlooked by higher ground from the south-east the tower had a good view in other directions and was well sited defensively.
Streams to the north and north-west are the present nearest sources of water (F1 DA Davies/03-MAY-1957/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigator).
The tower is pictorially represented as being extant and surrounded by a probable barmkin (Plan of Alneham and Alneham Moore Mayson's Survey circa 1610-1625. Surveyed by Norton).
The remains form a mutilated rectangular mound measuring 22.0m by 19.0m approximately with a maximum height of 2.0m above immediate ground level.
The only remains of the probable barmkin are on the north side where a pronounced east-west bank still exists (F3 S Ainsworth/23-NOV-1976/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigator).
The remains of Alnham Castle, on the crest of the river cliff to the S of Alnham church at 165m OD, consist of a square grass-covered mound, containing much stone, c. 24m wide and up to 2m high. Irregular hollows in the centre of the mound, 0.8m deep, probably indicate stone robbing such as that recorded by Dixon. A low rectangular platform, not more than 1.0m high, extends to the E for about 12m and a scarp of similar height surrounds both mound and platform on the S. Although Dixon describes the castle as "an extensive fortress" there are no further traces of outworks. The nearby banks and walls (NT 9910/12) do not appear to be of a defensive nature. The castle was in poor repair by 1541 (Bowes and Ellecker quoted by Bates 1891) and was described in 1586 as "a faire stronge stone Tower of Ancient tyme builded and strongly vaulted over, and the Gates and Dores be all of great stronge iron Barres and a good demayne adjoining thereto, the House is now ruinous and in some decay, by reason the Farmer useth to carry his sheep up the Stares and to lay them in the Chambers which rotteth the vaults" (Bates 1891) (Mark Bowden/01-MAY-1989/RCHME: SE Cheviots Project). (PastScape)
The tower house at Alnham is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. Substantial masonry remains of the basement remain intact and will add to our understanding of medieval and post-medieval settlement in the region.
The monument includes the remains of a medieval tower house at Alnham, often referred to as Alnham Castle. It lies on high ground to the south of the medieval village remains which are the subject of a separate scheduling. The tower is rectangular in plan and survives as a prominent sub-rectangular mound which measures 22m east-west by 18m north-south and stands up to 2m high. Part of the inner face of the north wall and its junction with a cross wall are visible as exposed masonry and there is a possible doorway at the north east corner. Some 15m east of the tower is a slightly curving earthwork, orientated north-south, which may indicate the site of an attached hall or house. The tower is one of two in Alnham and is first mentioned in 1405 when it was surrendered to royal troops. It belonged to the Earl of Northumberland and is recorded in documents in 1415, 1514 and 1541, by which time both towers were in a state of poor repair due to Scottish raids. (Scheduling Report)
This site is a scheduled monument protected by law
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
|OS Map Grid Reference||NT991108