Tweedmouth Castle

Has been described as a Possible Masonry Castle, and also as a Possible Palace (Bishop)

There are no visible remains

NameTweedmouth Castle
Alternative NamesTweedmouth Tower; Tiefort
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBerwick upon Tweed

A small castle or fort built before 1202, probably in connection with the bridge, was last mentioned in 1753 when it as referred to as the Old Tower of Tweedmouth. No vestige of the tower now remains. It stood on a rock close to the river, and its site is now covered by dwelling houses and a stable. (Long) A group of buildings at NT 99685211 answers the description above, but they are entirely modern. It seems unlikely that the tower had any connection with the bridge, as the distance between them is approx 600.0m. (F1 DS 02-JUN-67). The castle was built by Philip of Poitou, Bishop of Durham (d.1208) and demolished by the terms of King John's treaty with the King of Scotland in 1209. John himself had spent considerable sums on the castle (Brown). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Approximate site of castle started in 1203 by Philip of Poitiers, Bishop of Durham and continued by King John. Twice attacked during it's building by the Scots and razed to the ground. In 1209 King William of Scotland and King John of England met and signed a peace treaty in which William paid £4000 for the demolition of the works and John agreed 'to desist for ever from attempting to erect any fortress at Tweedmouth' but in 1215 the Scottish attacked England and the English replied by burning down Berwick and rebuilding the castle. However, the Scottish finally destroyed it for the last time. Another suggested location is Knowe Head at NT976517.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNT996521
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 51
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 175
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 99
  • Graham, Frank, 1993, Northumberian Castles Aln, Tweed and Till (Butler Publishing) p. 43
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 118
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 355
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 329
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 335-6
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 164
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 849
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 6 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson Hinde, J., 1858, A History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 1 p. 237 online copy
  • Raine, J., 1852, History and Antiquities of North Durham (London) p. 244-5
  • Ridpath, G., 1848, Border History of England and Scotland p. 79-80 online copy


  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1955, 'Royal Castle-building in England 1154-1216' English Historical Review Vol. 70 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)) p. 19-64
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 6 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Stenton, D.M. (ed.), 1953, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the thirteenth year of the reign of King John, Michaelmas 1211 (Pipe Roll 57) (Pipe Roll Society Publications 66) p. 38-9
  • Stevenson, J. (ed), 1839, Chronicon de Lanercost 1201-1346 (Edinburgh: The Maitland Club) p. 4-7 online copy
  • Hay, J. and Pringle, A. (eds), 1835, Chronica de Mailros (Edinburgh) p. 108 online copy


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)
  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online