Thornton Tower, Newbrough

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameThornton Tower, Newbrough
Alternative NamesNewborough
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishNewbrough

Towerhouse, late medieval. A section of the external face of the west wall of massive squared stones is visible from within the adjacent barn, the remainder of the ruin is largely rubble wall core. Rectangular plan, incorporated at the north east corner of a group of C19 farm buildings. Ground floor walls only with remains of loop window on the east, except for a higher fragment of the west wall forming part of the end wall of the adjacent barn. Interior obscured by rubble and rubbish. (Listed Building Report)

The earliest record of Thornton Tower is a survey of defences made in 1541 and at that time it was already in some state of decay. The medieval tower house was probably built in the 15th or early 16th century and is now a ruin situated in the corner of a group of 19th century farm buildings. The walls stand between 2.5m and 4.5m high. Inside the tower, the ground is raised about 2m above the surrounding ground level and the original fabric of the tower basement may be fairly complete. (Keys to the Past)

Thornton Tower, mentioned in 1542 and 1692, is described in 1840 as a ruin standing at the N.E. corner of quadrangular farm buildings. Its walls now stand between 2.5 m. to 4.5 m. in height. G.P. AO/56/74/7 shows the N.W. corner (F1 ASP 21.03.56).

First documented in 1542 when it was owned by Lord Burrowe. However, it may have been King Edward I's rest place during the summer of 1306. It was still extant in 1715 when the Earl of Derwentwater hid there. The ruins enclose an area 42 by 33 feet (Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

a tower formerly stood here; though I find no mention of it till 1542, when it is described "as a tower at Newbrough, of the inheritance of lord Burrowe, and in measurable good reparations"

In 1692, it is described as a "capital messuage," belonging to John Armstrong, gentleman: and at present is a low, shapeless mass of strongly cemented ruins, at the north-east corner of the quadrangle of the farm offices of the estate on which it stands. In 1813, all its ashlar work, inside and outside, was gone: and its remains measured 42 feet by 33, the walls left being 6 feet thick. (Hodgson 1840)

Gatehouse Comments

Presumably this was a chamber or solar block attached to a now lost unfortified hall in a reasonably sized building complex. Although in the 'inheritance' of Lord Borough in 1541 it probably was not a residential manor of the, Lincolnshire based, baron and was a gentry status building by 1692.

- 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 ReferenceNY874683
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Calculate Print


  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 380-1
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 115 (slight)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 200 (slight)
  • Pevsner, N. et al, 1992, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London) p. 405
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 56
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 338
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 325
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 162
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 48 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1840, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 2 Vol. 3 p. 390 online copy


  • Hodgson, J.C., 1916, 'List of Ruined Towers, Chapels, etc., in Northumberland; compiled about 1715 by John Warburton, Somerset Herald, aided by John Horsley' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser3) Vol. 13 p. 16 abridged transcription
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 48 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 4 Tynedale District Vol. 2 p. 127