Shawdon Hall

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are no visible remains

NameShawdon Hall
Alternative NamesShawden Castle
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishHedgeley

The tower at Shawdon is mentioned in 1403, but in a list of 1460 (Hodgson) (Bates and M.H. Dodds give this date as 1415) it is referred to as a 'Castrum". A survey of 1542 refers to it as a tower in good repair (Dodds 1935).

Shawdon now stands on the level ground above the right (SW) bank of the Shawdon Burn dene. Here once no doubt stood the "mediaeval town" with the owners's little tower. Of all this no trace now remains except some fragments of carved stonework preserved in the rockeries in the grounds. In 1799 William Hargrave made a clean sweep of the area, building the present hall (NU 09261432) and laying out the extensive grounds.

There are no traces of the tower or mediaeval village to be seen in the vicinity of Shawdon Hall. The present building stands on a

slight rise, commanding a good view, and was possibly erected on the site of the tower. The fragments of stonework referred to are situated at NU 09341427. They include a corbel carved with a face; fragment of octagonal pillar; a stone, possibly a pediment of a gateway with a face carved on one side and a weathered plaque on the other, and a shallow octagonal trough - possibly from a fountain (?F1 EG 14-FEB-1955).

Country house, built in 1799, probably on the site of a deserted medieval settlement. A pele tower or bastle at Shawdon was recorded in a survey of 1403. No trace of the settlement or the tower survives. The house was altered in 1970. Listed Grade 2star (Listed Building Report).

A tower was built at Shawdon in the 14th century but was demolished in 1779 to make way for the present Shawdon Hall (King 1983; Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

A number of the 'castles' recorded in the 1415 list are later altered to 'fortalices' in the margin, suggesting they were more modest strong houses but Shawdon is not one of these (other 'castles' in that part of the list, which may have been roughly ordered by building size, include Bothal and Haughton. There are no remains and the actual form of the C15 castrum is unclear. The lack of remains might suggest something reasonably modest but the C18 Shawdon Hall was an expensive building project capably of demolishing a considerable building entirely. Given the 1415 description, and the fact the building was still in good repair 120 years later, this was presumably a tower house of some size.

- 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 ReferenceNU092143
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 148-9
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 95
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 108
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 353
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 314
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 155
  • Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1935, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 14 p. 554-9
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1897, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 399
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 12, 15, 42 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1828, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 2 p. 210 online copy
  • Hodgson, J., 1820, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 1 p. 27 online copy


  • King, Andy, 2007, 'Fortress and fashion statements: gentry castles in fourteenth-century Northumberland' Journal of Medieval History Vol. 33 p. 376
  • 1963, Medieval Village Research Group annual report Vol 11 Appendix C No 126
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 12, 15, 42 online copy

Primary Sources