Cockle Park Tower

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are major building remains

NameCockle Park Tower
Alternative NamesCockley; Bubbleymire; Cocklepark
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHebron

Tower house, early C16 altered C17 and refenestrated c.1790. Squared stone with dressings; stone flag roof. L-plan with stair turret projecting at north end of east face and C17 stair projection in centre of west wall. 3 storeys + attic; north end, including turret, has chamfered plinth and set-back 1st floor, machicolated parapet on north and corbelled-out circular bartizans at northern angles. East elevation 3 bays; turret set forward to right has eroded armorial panel (Bertram quartering Ogle) and 3 worn carved emblems above, with small window and chamfered loops. Section to left has part-glazed door in 2nd bay and sash windows of 8, 12 or 24 panes; all in Gothick surrounds with 4-centred arches and hoodmoulds. North elevation has chamfered loops; gable with partly-blocked 2-light window behind parapet. South elevation: French window and 24-pane sashes, all in Gothick surrounds within the jambs of blocked C17 windows; coped gable with blocked 2-light mullioned window to attic. West elevation 3 bays. Central projection has boarded door and two 2-light mullioned windows above, the lower blocked. To left external stair to inserted boarded door breaking 1st floor set back, right hand part of wall above rebuilt 1828, replacing solar oriel, with 12-pane sash and old moulded overmantel re-set above. To right of projection blocked 3-light mullion-and-transom windows with hoodmoulds.

Interior. Divided into 2 dwellings by a brick partition wall in C18; the southern 2 bays completely remodelled. North end of tower retains barrel vaults to ground floor and mural chambers, stone newel stair, ground and 1st floor fireplaces and a well-preserved 2nd-floor garderobe. The southern rooms show C18 doors, panelled shutters and fireplaces. Attic floor removed; roof with 5 C17 collared principal-rafter trusses.

The tower is thought to have been built c.1520 for Sir William, 4th Lord Ogle, passing to the Bothal Estates whose later owners became Dukes of Portland

In the Cl9 it became the centre of the Duke's experimental farm. (Listed Building Report)

Cockle Park Tower (NZ 202912), a late medieval tower house/hunting lodge 4 km north of Morpeth. Probably built in the second half of the 15th century as a grand hunting lodge, the earliest reference to the tower itself is in 1517 when the 4th Lord Ogle granted his brother William the tower and lands of 'Cokyll' Park. From the later 16th century onwards the tower became part of the Bothal Estate, whose owners became the Dukes of Portland. By 1827 Cockle Park had become the Duke's experimental farm, and in 1902 the County Council took over, but it remained an experimental farm, later passing to the University of Newcastle. The tower, set within a cluster of later farmbuildings, remains part of an experimental farm owned by the University of Newcastle, and was most recently used as a student's hospital, but this use ceased abruptly in the mid-1970s with major structural problems and falls of masonry prompting a rapid evacuation, since when it has stood empty and in deteriorating condition. The present archaeological recording was carried out as part of an initial scheme of repair funded by English Heritage; executive architects were Devereux Architects, with Kevin Doonan Architects as the conservation/contact architects. In 2006 a Structural Inventory for the tower was prepared by Peter Ryder, Historic Buildings Consultant (PFR 2007); this was revised in 2007 and further revisions following the most recent set of observations form part of a report prepared for the University of Newcastle and lodged with the county HER in 2012. In addition a photographic record of the exterior of the tower was made in 2007 (TAP 2007). (The Archaeological Practice website)

Gatehouse Comments

Removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in 2012.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceNZ201911
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  • The Archaeological Practice, 2012, Cockle Park Tower, Northumberland. Monitoring and recording 2007-2012 (For Newcastle University)
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 29 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 27 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 37 online copy
  • Howard, R.E. and Arnold, A.J., 2009, 'Cockle Park Tower, Hebron, Morpeth, Northumberland: Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers' (English Heritage Research Department Reports series 44-2009) online copy
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 3 Castle Morpeth District p. 27-9