Kirkwhelpington Vicars Pele

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameKirkwhelpington Vicars Pele
Alternative NamesKirkwhelpington Vicarage, Kyrke Whelpyngton
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishKirkwhelpington

A survey of 1541 refers to a 'little' tower at Kirkwhelpington as being in good repair and as being the mansion of the vicarage (Bates 1891).

The remains of the tower are incorporated into the present kitchen of the vicarage the east wall of which is 5 feet thick and rises to a height of 20 feet (Hodgson 1827).

NY 99608442 The Vicarage shows no external traces of antiquity but the wall on the east side of what is now the dining room has a thickness of 1.3m (F1 EG 16-APR-1956).

Kirkwhelpington Vicarage. Grade II listed building. House, formerly a vicarage. 18th century with older core. Largely rebuilt in mid-18th century by Rev William Ellison. Interior has one wall about 5ft thick said to be a remnant of a former tower (Listed Building Report).

Kirkwhelpington Old Vicarage was the former home of Rev John Hodgson where he wrote his County History.

Externally the house appears as a five bay, two storey, block with a rear wing flanked by outshuts. The western two bays appear in fact to represent the tower referred to in 1541 as being 'the mansion of the vicarage' and 'in good repair'. All that visibly survives of the tower is its east wall, now the internal division between the kitchen and the central stair; it is 1.2m thick and rises the full height of the house. No old features are exposed in the wall; it is set at a slightly skew angle to the body of the house, and the jambs of the doorway through it into the kitchen are also set skew.

The front wall of this part of the house is an 18th century rebuild. The north and west walls are only c.0.6m thick, and their fabric is concealed; if they do incorporate pre-18th century masonry they must have been thinned down. Hodgson's History of Northumberland attributes the mid 18th century remodelling to Nathaniel Ellison. The house was extended to the east in 1760, the rear wing added in 1769 and the old tower converted into the kitchen in 1771 (Ryder 1994-5)

(Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Although the physical evidence of this being the tower recorded in 1541 is scant the location, next to the church, and the continuity of history as a rectory makes it almost certain this was that tower. It may have been a small freestanding tower but might also have had attached a small hall.

- 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 ReferenceNY996844
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  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 242
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 71
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 51
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 336
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 223
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 129
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 46 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1827, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 1 p. 188-9n and 205-6 online copy


  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 46 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 113