Castle Heaton Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCastle Heaton Castle
Alternative NamesHeaton near Coldstream; Heton; Old Heaton
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishCornhill on Tweed

Remains of a quadrangular castle founded in 1328-40 destroyed in 1496 and again in 1513 by King James IV. Out of use by 1559. The surviving remains consist of two buttresses set against the north east wall of the stable and the probable remains of a turret and rampart. The site is now covered by farm buildings. (PastScape)

Vaulted defensible building. Late medieval. Squared stone and random rubble, Welsh slate roof. c.70 ft. by 25 ft. 2 storeys. Long west side has stone steps to 1st-floor doorway; some of the steps are worn, others renewed, but the wall beneath them is old. Under the steps a C16 or C17 doorway with alternating-block surround and rounded arrises. Left of the steps a projection c.8 ft. outside the line of the wall. This has a chamfered plinth and medieval masonry. It appears to be solid. Left of this a further section, still projecting but not so far, also has a chamfered plinth and a window with a steeply-sloping sill. The left section has a later window and an original slit window. On 1st floor C19 windows in old masonry. On east side two buttresses with offsets and 2 blocked slit windows. 1st floor is rebuilt on this side. Interior has a high round tunnel vault rising from c.3 ft. above ground. The walls are c. 3 ft. 6 inches thick normally and much thicker where there are projections. The south gable has been largely rebuilt. (Listed Building Report)

The Eton family (later Hetons) were tenants of the Bishop of Durham in this part of Norhamshire. They had a strong house on this site before the site was sold to Thomas Grey in 1328. Shortly afterwards, Grey knocked the house down and built a very strong, square complex including a keep and a great hold called the Lion's Tower, all contained within a wall with turrets at its four corners and a southern entrance. In 1398, a later Thomas Grey exchanged Heton with the Neville's Castle at Wark

Heton was sacked by King James IV in 1496 and again in 1513, leaving it a virtual ruin. When the Greys obtained legal ownership again in 1559, they had little incentive to repair the buildings, they being ruinous. (PastScape ref. Dodds 1999)

'It was perhaps the work of Sir Thomas Gray... who succeeded his father in 1344.' (King 2007 p. 389)

Gatehouse Comments

The C14 castle went out of gentry use by 1559 but the remnants seems to continued as a pele-house type building.

- 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 ReferenceNT901419
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 46-7
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 64
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 65, 67n (King, 2007, states attribution to Thomas de Heton is incorrect)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 200 (slight)
  • Graham, Frank, 1993, Northumberian Castles Aln, Tweed and Till (Butler Publishing) p. 29
  • Pevsner, N., 1992 (revised by Grundy, John et al), Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 587
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 42
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 10, 11, 18, 19
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 335
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 195
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 119
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles p. 119
  • 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. 394-5 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 14, 23, 29, 53, 329-30 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Raine, J., 1852, History and Antiquities of North Durham (London) p. 387
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1785-94, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 3 p. 502-3 online copy
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1776, A View of Northumberland (Newcastle) Vol. 2 p. 22-3 online copy


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England (Sutton Publishing) p. 344
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 66 online copy


  • King, Andy, 2007, 'Fortress and fashion statements: gentry castles in fourteenth-century Northumberland' Journal of Medieval History Vol. 33 p. 389
  • 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. 12 abridged transcription
  • Aiken, 1912-15, History of the Berwickshire Naturalist Club Vol. 22 p. 177-8 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 14, 23, 29, 53, 329-30 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1584, Report of the Commissioners on the Borders (1584) under Lord Hunsdon; largely the work of Christopher Dacre. Online transcription
  • 1561, The Survey Booke of Norham and Ilandshire, taken and made in the 3rd year of our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth, Queen of England, etc. Survey of Norham and Islandshire
  • Sir Robert Bowes, 1550, A Book of the State of the Frontiers and Marches betwixt England and Scotland taken from Brit. Mus. Cotton. MS. Titus, F.13, a copy of the original (see Bates, 51, n185). Printed in Hodgson, [pt.3, ii, 187, 204 >]
  • 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
  • 1415 Nomina Castrorum et Fortaliciorum infra Comitatum Northumbrie online transcription


  • Kent, C.L., 2016, Beyond the defensible threshold: the house-building culture of Berwick-upon-Tweed and the East March, 1550-1603 (PhD Thesis, Durham University) online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk North East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 13 online copy
  • < >Howard, C. and Pullen, R., 2014, Castle Heaton, Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland: an investigation of the vaulted building and adjacent earthworks (Historic England Research Department Reports. Number 34/2014) online copy < >
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 12 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 13 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 28 online copy
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 2 Berwick District p. 10-12