Corbridge Vicars Pele

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameCorbridge Vicars Pele
Alternative NamesCorbridge Vicarage
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishCorbridge

Towerhouse vicarage, c.1400 except for gabled roof of 1910. Large squared stones, mostly re-used Roman material; stone slate roof. Pointed-arched doorway on east has old door of oak boards bolted into iron grille. Scattered fenestration, small chamfered loops except for larger trefoil-arched lights to north and south at 1st floor level. Hollow chamfered cornice below crenellated parapet (largely fallen except on south); remains of corbelled-out square angle bartizans. Several C18 headstones affixed to north and west walls, including stone to John Robson d. 1753; semicircular pedimented top enclosing cherub above line of key ornament.

Interior: drawbar tunnel in inner jambs of entrance; similar arch from entrance lobby into barrel-vaulted basement. Mural stair to lobby with shelf and sink. 1st floor has window seats on north and south, fireplace with moulded surround on north and 2 wall cupboards on west. Further mural stair to 2nd floor (floor timbers missing) which has mural bookrest recess adjacent to window of north- west corner.

The tower now houses a collection of medieval and earlier carved stones; in addition a number of medieval cross slabs have been re-used in the fabric, mostly as lintels over windows and the mural stairs.

The best preserved vicar's pele in the county; in use as the vicarage until the early C17. (Listed Building Report)

The tower is mentioned as the Vicar's property in the list of fortalices drawn up for Henry V in 1415. There is no record of its erection, but it is of c. 1300 style, all of one date and well-constructed of sandstone, being rectangular in plan, measuring 27' 4" E-W and 21' 0" N-S. The height to the parapet walk is 30'0". The building comprises a vaulted basement and two upper storeys; the entrance doorway is in the east side at ground level (Knowles 1898).

Many of the stones in the tower have cramp holes and have been obtained from the Ro. station at Corstopitum (Craster 1914)


This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceNY988644
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  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 24
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 439-40
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  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 180-1
  • Graham, F. 1992, Hexham and Corbridge: A Short History (Corbridge), 445
  • Pevsner, N., 1992 (revised by Grundy, John et al), Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 237
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 86-7
  • Cramp, R. 1984, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture in England (Oxford), 239-40
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 331
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  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 87
  • Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 191-2
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 79-81
  • Craster, H.H.E. (ed), 1914, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 10 p. 209-15 (plans and elevations) online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 376 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 18 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)


  • Prestwich, M.C., 1982, 'English Castles in the Reign of Edward II' Journal of Medieval History Vol. 8 p. 159-178 (reprinted in Liddiard, Robert (ed), 2016, Late Medieval Castles (Boydell Press) p. 303-322)
  • Milner, L. 1976, 'Corbridge, the Vicar's Tower' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 133 p. 197
  • Knowles, W.H. 1898, 'The Vicar's Pele, Corbridge' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 19 p. 171-8 (plans) online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 18 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Northumberland County Council, 2008, 'Corbridge' Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey doi:10.5284/1000177 [download copy >]
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 1 p. 58-9