Fenton Tower

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are no visible remains

NameFenton Tower
Alternative NamesFenton Castle
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishDoddington

A medieval tower stood at Fenton as early as 1415. It was described as a ruin in the early 16th century, but its foundations were still visible in about 1889. The exact site is now unknown but a field called Tower Close may be a clue. (Keys to the Past)

A tower existed at Fenton as early as 1415. In 1541, it was described as "a great tower with a barmkin" in decay (Vickers 1922).

Foundations were still visible c.1889 in the garden of the farm belonging to Mr. Laidlaw (Phillips 1889).

A field at NT 969335 called Tower Close, may be the site of the tower, though no foundations are visible now. Otherwise no further information (F1 DK 01-FEB-67).

Abandoned and dismantled in 1603. In a state of disrepair in 1541, it was repaired, the Warden of the Marches being able to station 100 footmen within it in 1549 (King 1983; Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

A tower existed at Fenton as early as 1415, but this is the only mention of it before the sixteenth century, when it ranked as one of the more important of the secondary fortifications near the border. In 1509 it was said to have accommodation for a garrison of 40 men, and the commissioners for surveying the border in 1541 described it as 'a grett towre with a barmekyn,' but it was 'in great decaye in the rooffe and fioores, and the walls of the barmekyn with other necessary houses within the same.' Its repair was a matter of urgent necessity 'for yt standeth in a very convenient and apte place for lyinge of an hundreth men in garryson in tyme of warre against Scotland.' These repairs must have been executed, as in November, 1542, it was classed with Etal and Ford among 'houses of strengthe, ' which in case of a Scottish invasion could defend themselves till such time as they were relieved by other garrisons.

During the Scottish wars of Edward VI

's reign the tower was used as a base in which 50 men were housed, and in 1549 hundred foot-men under Sir John Forster were stationed at Fenton, though they may not all have been accommodated in the tower. It was also during this period used as a place for the temporary confinement of Scottish prisoners. Despite this we hear only once of fighting within the township, and this a mere foray, which retired towards the border so soon as forces came up. With the close of the sixteenth century we hear no more of Fenton tower, but its foundations could be traced still in the mid nineteenth century in the farm house garden. (Vickers 1922)

Gatehouse Comments

The 50m square feature, visible of the air photo and map, 200m south of the given site is a disused graveyard.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNT969335
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 81
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 55
  • Graham, Frank, 1993, Northumberian Castles Aln, Tweed and Till (Butler Publishing) p. 20, 21
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 21
  • 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. 164-5
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 105
  • Vickers, Kenneth H. (ed), 1922, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 11 p. 339-40 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 19, 23 (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. 16 abridged transcription
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 19, 23 online copy
  • Phillips, M., 1889, 'Disused Graveyards in Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 13 p. 68 online copy

Primary Sources