Stamfordham Vicars Tower

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are no visible remains

NameStamfordham Vicars Tower
Alternative NamesStamfordham Vicarage; Turris de Stanwardham
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishStamfordham

A list of 1415 mentions the Vicar's tower at Stamfordham (Bates 1891).

There are no visible remains of a tower in, or around, the present vicarage (NZ 07667195), and no local tradition of one survives (F1 RWE 12-AUG-68).

The Swinburnes built a tower at Stamfordham before 1460, almost certainly for the vicar. The present vicarage is a Tudor building with 18th century modifications, but much older vaulted cellars. These may be the last remains of a tower. Alternatively, the church tower, which has no outside door and from which the ground falls steeply, may have been the vicar's pele (Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

There a couple of examples of church towers which were residences but generally vicars residences were separate buildings and in the context of the 1415 list it is most unlikely the turris de Stanwardham was the church tower. Most probably a modest three storey solar block and most probably on the site now occupied by the Old Vicarage. In an appendix on bastles in Castellarium Anglicanum (vol. 1 p. lxviii) David King suggests a bastle at Stamfordham, listed by Mr Dixon, can be identified with this site. King is incorrect in this as Dixon refers to Widdrington House.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ076719
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 276
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 115 (slight)
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 75
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii, Vol. 2 p. 343
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 319
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 159
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 18 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)


  • Dixon, P.W., 1972, 'Shielings and bastles: a reconsideration of some problems' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 50 p. 249-58
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 18 online copy

Primary Sources