Seaton Delaval Castle

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

There are no visible remains

NameSeaton Delaval Castle
Alternative NamesDelavel; Dalawele; Seton Dallyvell; Turris de Seton de la uale
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBlyth Valley

A tower at Seaton Delaval is mentioned in 1415, though no license to crenellate is known. Additions were made to it in the 16th and 17th centuries and in 1549 its top was used for a beacon. It is recorded either as being annexed to a Tudor mansion which became the core of the following large Jacobean hall (built 1718-28) or as being demolished together with the Tudor house in 1720. The OS publication is therefore wrong both in description and siting. The only possible description on the evidence is 'Tower', and the site is probably that occupied by Seaton Delaval Hall - NZ 322 765 (F1 FDC 07-JAN-1954).

No remains of the tower are to be seen at Seaton Delaval Hall, which is now in ruins (F2 EG 07-APR-1954). (Northumberland HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Called a turris in the 1415 list but high up on a list that may be roughly graded by size and status. An Inventory of 1606, given in Craster, may suggest a tower with eight or more chambers but also suggests this may have been a solar tower attached to a hall (called the great dyninge chamber in the inventory). Knightly status and most probably a solar tower so a 'pele tower' in the terms used in Gatehouse rather than a baronial tower house although this does seem to have been a notably large tower since Leland called it a castle. The National Trust owned Vanburgh designed hall of 1719-30 (Grade 1 listed) occupies the probably site and, understandably, dominates the architectural history of the site.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ322765
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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 484
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 94
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 107
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 77
  • 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. 312
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 154
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Craster, H.H.E. (ed), 1909, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 9 p. 177-80 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 419-20 online copy
  • Tomlinson, W.W., 1897, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 60-1
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 16, 27 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J. and Laird, F., 1813, Beauties of England and Wales; Northumberland Vol. 12 p. 91


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England (Sutton Publishing) p. 342
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 63 online copy


  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 16, 27 online copy
  • Adamson, E.H., 1887, 'An attempt to trace the Delavals from the time of the Norman Conquest to the present day' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 12 p. 223 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1415, Nomina Castrorum et Fortaliciorum infra Comitatum Northumbrie online transcription
  • 1888, The Manuscripts of his grace the Duke of Rutland (Historic Manuscripts Commission 24) Vol. 1 p. 37 (1549 beacon)