Clennell Hall

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameClennell Hall
Alternative NamesClennill
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBiddlestone

Clennell Hall lies in a strategic position at the entrance to the valley of the River Alwin. The building comprises a medieval tower house, with a 17th century house attached to its south side, and 18th and 19th century additions. The tower house was built in late medieval times and belonged to Percival Clennell. It stands three storeys high with walls over 1.5m thick at basement level. The basement of the tower is vaulted and many original features survive. The south range has long been recorded as having been built in 1568, but it is now thought unlikely that an undefended house would be built at this time in the unsettled Border region and a later 17th century date may be more likely. Further additions and alterations were made in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a Tudor style mansion was added in 1895 for Anthony Wilkinson. (Keys to the Past)

House. Originally a tower house with attached house of 1567. Large additions of 1895 for Anthony Wilkinson.

Random rubble with Welsh slate roofs.

Irregular plan. Additions are in Tudor style. 3 storeys.

Garden front has C16 double-depth plan house to left and tower recessed to right. Single-storey corridor in front of tower and single-storey pavilion to right are of 1895.

C16 doorway, almost central in section of 1567, has multi-moulded surround. Scattered fenestration includeds 2-light mullioned windows and probably entirely Victorian mullioned-and-transomed crosses.

Irregular gabled roofs with tall corniced stacks.

Interior: thick walls to tower, segmental-vaulted basement. C16 or C17 plaster panel of hunting scene over window in C16 section. In tower ground floor a 2-light mullioned window. Another on 1st floor and also a stone C17 fireplace with bold bolection-moulded surround. On 2nd floor a large C16 fireplace with Tudor-arched lintel and moulder surround

(Listed Building Report)

(NT 92900715) Clennel, Described in the Survey of 1541 as a little tower, belonging to Percival Clennell, newly repaired and

brattisched, barmkin being constructed around the tower.

(Not listed in the Survey of 1415 pp 12-20) (Bates 1891..)

The 1895 modernised - Tudor style mansion is attached to an ancient pele tower and an Elizabethan wing.

The tower measures 30 feet by 22 feet, with walls 6 feet thick, and seems to be rather late in date. The ground floor is covered by a segmental barrel vault and has a loophole at one end and entrance door at the other end, in this case the south. The door opened into a lobby with an inner door to the vault. A stair ascends in the wall westwards. In 1568 as is shown by the date on the door-lintel, a new wing was built running westwards, and set with half its depth projecting southwards from the tower. It was two stories high with a south door, having a two-light window on each side and with three windows on the floor above. At the same time or earlier, a storey was added to the old tower, and the Tudor fire place remains. Then or later, an addition afterwards demolished was made to the east side of the tower, and a doorway cut at first floor level to give access to it. The old entrance door was converted into a window, and the mural stair replaced by a passage driven through into the new wing.

About the end of the 17c., a third storey was added to the W wing with a low pitched roof, and the tower roof was altered. During 1895, several large windows were inserted into the Elizabethan wing, and a passage was built crossing the south front of the tower to reach a new east wing. More recently, the upper door in the east wall of the tower has been converted to a window and the old loophole enlarged into a door (Dodds 1940).

The tower must have been built between 1509 and 1541, since it is not mentioned in the list of border fortresses of 1509. Description correct. The owner, Mr Vining, is abroad, the house is closed up, and the interior details of the Peel were not checked.

Clennell is situated in a strategic position, commanding the entrance to the valley of the River Alwin which runs to the north. It also overlooks the confluence of the Alwin with the River Coquet to the south-west, and further hill slopes to the east and south-east. It commands also a minor valley rising into the hills to the north-east.

There are no traces of the barmkin, added c1541 (Dixon 1903). (PastScape)

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 ReferenceNT929071
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Calculate Print


  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 64
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 184
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 37
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 200 (slight)
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 31, 36
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 330
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 110-111
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 85
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1940, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 15 p. 434
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 72-3
  • Dixon, D.D., 1903, Upper Coquetdale, Northumberland: its history, traditions, folk-lore, and scenery (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 240 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 43-4 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)


  • Hodgson, J.C., 1916, 'List of Ruined Towers, Chapels, etc., in Northumberland; compiled about 1715 by John Warburton, Somerset Herald, aided by John Horsley' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser3) Vol. 13 p. 3-4 abridged transcription
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 43-4 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 1 Alnwick District p. 3-5