Haltwhistle Old Tower

Has been described as a Certain Bastle, and also as a Certain Pele Tower

There are no visible remains

NameHaltwhistle Old Tower
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHaltwhistle

East of the town centre, to the rear of Castle Hill, another post-medieval defensible house was demolished in 1963; it was formerly a scheduled monument (SAM 281). Although frequently referred to as a "pele tower? it would be more suitably classified as a "strong house?, like the tower at the core of the Centre of Britain Hotel, rather superior to the usual bastles. The three-storeyed block, which retained its original gabled roof, was though to have been built between 1607 and 1611, with a two-storey wing added to the east end; various alterations were carried out c.1680 (Campbell and Dixon 1970, 169-78). (Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey)

NY 71206422 The old pele tower at Haltwhistle, at the rear of Castle Hill, is a plain-looking building with a loop-holed turret built on corbels. It was mentioned in 1416, and described in 1542 (Hodgson 1840).

Formerly at NY 71236423, and demolished in 1965. There are no visible remains (F1 RWE 07-JUL-66).

The fortified house was not built until 1607-11, when Albany Featherstonehaugh and his wife had it constructed. Originally a three-storeyed building, 26 by 21 feet with walls varying between 3 and 5 feet in thickness. Similar in construction to the fortified house built at Melkridge. A twisting staircase connected the ground and first floors. The second floor was reached by ladder, and was the bedroom and main defensible floor equipped with a small turret with loops. A wing was added to the eastern gable, and in 1680 the ground floor was converted to a kitchen. It was reroofed in the 1870's. When the flags were removed, they were found to rest on oak beams fastened by sheep shank bones. Demolished in 1963 (Campbell and Dixon 1970). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Sometimes suggested as the Musgrove Tower recorded in 1415 and 1541 although this seems unlikely.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY712642
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 369-70
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 59
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 48
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 334
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 183
  • Storey, T., 1973, Haltwhistle and South Tyneside p. 48
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 113
  • RCHME, 1963, Monuments Threatened or Destroyed. A select list 1956-1962 (London) p. 52
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham)
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1902, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (London) p. 168
  • Hodgson, J., 1840, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 3 p. 119-20 online copy


  • Dixon, P.W., 1972, 'Shielings and bastles: a reconsideration of some problems' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 50 p. 249-58 (where appears to be in a list of 'bastles' with the comment "deliberately omitted from Shielings and Bastles")
  • Campbell, P. and Dixon, P., 1970, 'Two fortified houses in Haltwhistle' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 48 p. 169-78
  • Adamson, C.E., 1894, 'The manor of Haltwhistle' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 16 p. 163-4 online copy


  • Northumberland County Council, 2009, 'Haltwhistle' Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey doi:10.5284/1000177 [download copy > http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/northumberland_eus_2011/downloads.cfm?REDSQUIDARCHIVES_7_799BB461-A0C4-488C-B90DF1259EFE2DA8&area=Haltwhistle]
  • 1950-63, Haltwhistle Old Tower, Haltwhistle, Northd.: Advice on repairs: demolition (The National Archive WORK 14/1990) online reference