Fowberry Tower, Chatton

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameFowberry Tower, Chatton
Alternative NamesFulbery; Fowberye; Folebir
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishChatton

The tower at Fowberry is first mentioned in a list of Border holds drawn up between 1513 and 1517. In 1532 the Scots burnt Fowberry, but the tower or stone house is mentioned again in 1541 and 1590.

The origin of the present mansion house is doubtful. A writer in 1757 states that Fowberry is an "ancient pele modernised" and it has been suggested that a bastle house existed here. There are, however, no signs of any work earlier than the late 17th century, and a foundation stone bearing the name of John Stother who was living in 1678 is now in the floor of the kitchen.

In 1776 the house became the property of the Blake family who decided to enlarge it. The 17th century building was not demolished but completely embedded in the new work. The width of the house was more than doubled, the new part being on the north side, and wings were added at each end. A new front wall was set up immediately in front of the 17th century one, which remains behind it (Dodds 1935; Bates 1891; Hodgson 1828).

Fowberry Tower is situated upon a gentle E-facing slope, and overlooks the valley of the River Till to the N. It is an oblong building facing S, with two small wings at either end. The facade on the S side, and the wings, are of 18th century design, of coursed,bonded sandstone, with flat arched casement windows on the ground floor, and square headed, moulded windows on the 1st and 2nd floors. The W wing has a modern extension built in the same style. The N face is built in pseudo-Gothic style, with tall, pointed-arch windows, machicolation decoration and battlements. Inside the building, can be seen the original N face of the 17th century building, now a party wall between living rooms and a corridor, at each floor level

No part appears earlier than 17th century.

The earliest reference to Fowberry appears in a series of certificates known as the "Testa de Nevill, 1212-1241", when William de Folebyr held Folebyr.

When the W wing extension was made for the new kitchen, many tons of rubble were taken out of the ground. The rubble was of compacted stone, and appeared to be some very old foundations. The stone, bearing John Strother's name, was inserted in the S wall of the extension. The lintel to the door in the W wall of the extension, bearing the inscription James I W 1709, came from Yorkshire, and has no connection with the building. It was merely utilised for the purpose (F1 ASP 06-DEC-55). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Presumably the tower of Fulbery in which a widow lived in 1509 when assessed as capable of holding a garrison of 20 men. Mentioned in 1715 as "a handsome house" The garrison of 20 men was the minimum size which suggest this was a small tower.

- 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 ReferenceNU039293
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 97
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 57
  • Graham, Frank, 1993, Northumberian Castles Aln, Tweed and Till (Butler Publishing) p. 28
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 11, 30
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 348
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 175
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 108
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1935, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 14 p. 218-20
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 23, 35 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1828, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 2 p. 187 online copy


  • Ryle-Elliot, W., 1952, 'The work of Robert Adam in Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 30 p. 106-117
  • Milburn, A.W., 1933, 'Fowbury Tower foundation stone' Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (ser4) Vol. 6 p. 67
  • 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. 6 abridged transcription
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 23, 35 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1541, View of the Castles, Towers, Barmekyns and Fortresses of the Frontier of the East and Middle Marches Survey of the East and Middle Marches
  • 1509, Holdis and Towneshyppes too lay in Garnysons of horsmen Survey of Tevedale
  • Maxwell-Lyte (ed), 1923, Liber feodorum. The book of fees commonly called Testa de Nevill Vol. 2 p. 1118 online copy