Meldon Tower

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

There are masonry footings remains

NameMeldon Tower
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishMeldon

A list of 1415 refers to a tower at Meldon, the property of Nicholas Heron (Bates 1891).

The tower of Meldon stood 'at the corner of a hedge about 150 yards south-east of the church, and partly in two fields, where there are strong remains of the walls of vaults or cellars 60 feet long and 15 feet wide within. A wide and covered sewer ran from it to the north'. There are also traces of walls and buildings on the top of the hill just south of the church and west of the tower, probably the remains of the barmkin and offices.

A tablet preserved in the church bearing the arms of Fenwick and the inscription W.F. 1620 probably refers to some additions made at that time, when Sir William Fenwick removed to it from Hartington (Hodgson 1832).

NZ12028380. The steading of a building measuring 19m by 7.5m demarcated by fragmentary banks, average width 3m, maximum height 0.8m. The orientation is north west-south east. To the east and downhill side the ground is uneven with dressed stones visible in places. To the south west there is old surface quarrying.

Although there are discrepancies with the siting given in Hodgson it is considered that this steading is probably the remains of the tower. The distance south east of the church is approx. 120 yards (Hodgson gives the distance as 150 yards), and whereas the steading is now wholly in one field the gaps in the banks may indicate the former existence of a fence or hedge forming a field division, which would agree with the description in Hodgson. The interior measurements would not vary greatly from Hodgson.

There is no trace of a covered sewer leading north, or of building remains south of the church, the latter area being now occupied by the modern Rectory and attached gardens. The tablet referred to in Hodgson is built into the inside of the church wall at the west end of the south wall of the nave. The field in which the steading is situated is known locally as Church Field

There is no local knowledge or tradition of a tower. (Field name from local enquiries) (F1 EG 23-JAN-1956).

The probable remains of a tower, in poor condition. It is suitably situated on rising ground (F2 BHP 17-MAR-1971). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

The form of the tower record in 1415 is obscure but probably a square solar tower attached to an unfortified hall. This seems to have been converted in a rectangular vaulted building, possibly in 1620. This may have been a bastle type building but this was a manorial status building not a tenanted farmhouse.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ120838
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 236-7
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 77
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 70
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 351
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 233
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 134
  • Pevsner, N., 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London)
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 16 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1832, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 2 p. 18-19, 28 online copy


  • Hadcock, R.N., 1939, 'A map of mediaeval Northumberland and Durham' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 16 p. 148-218 esp 176
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 16 online copy

Primary Sources