Great Ryle Tower

Has been described as a Possible Pele Tower, and also as a Possible Bastle

There are no visible remains

NameGreat Ryle Tower
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAlnham

Thomas Collingewood is described in the Survey of 1541 as having just built a tower at Great Ryle, and that he is minded to build a barmkin about the same. (Not listed in the Survey of 1415 pp12-20) (Bates 1891)

The site of the tower, mentioned in 1541, is unknown (Dodds 1935)

Great Ryle forms part of the estate of Lord Ravensworth who could give no information regarding the tower.

The present buildings of Great Ryle show no trace of antiquity, and no significant field names appear to have survived (F1 DAD 04-APR-1957). (Northumberland HER)

The large Collingwood family took over in or about 1532. Thomas Collingwood lived in Great Ryle. Thomas plumped for a tower which he lost for a short time in 1549 when it was taken over for mercenaries. In 1587 it was attacked during a daytime raid by Armstrong of Liddesdale. There is no trace of it now and its site is unknown. (Dodds 1999)

A document written in 1541 records that Thomas Collingewood, a local man, had just built a tower at Great Ryle, and that he was thinking of building a barmkin, or enclosure, to surround it. However, the precise site of the tower is unknown. There are no buildings of the right age in the modern village. (Keys to the Past)

Gatehouse Comments

The form of Collingwood's 'newly buylded' 'toure' recorded in 1541 is not known but he would have been unlikely to have the funding for a large tower house but the term tower would suggest a building of at least three storeys, possibly a stone vaulted grander bastle house (c.f. Doddington Bastle) although the lack of remains might suggest something somewhat less strong. The location is also lost but the rig and furrow and earthworks of the DMV appear particularly well preserved so, by exclusion, likely to be under a modern building (? the building at NU01851273).

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNU020126
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 160
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 114 (slight)
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 33
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 353
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 176
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 110
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1935, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 14 p. 544
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 43 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)


  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 43 online copy

Primary Sources