Cocklaw Tower, Wall

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House, and also as a Possible Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameCocklaw Tower, Wall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishWall

Towerhouse, late C14 or early C15. Large squared stone, probably re-used Roman material. Rectangular plan; 3 floors,each with single large chamber,smaller chamber to south and newel stair at south-east corner. Chamfered set-back above basement and hollow-chamfered cornice (largely fallen) below parapet. South elevation shows central pointed chamfered doorway to basement and scattered chamfered loops; above cornice, remains of taller turret at south-west corner. East elevation shows similar doorway at 1st floor level with window of 2 trefoil-headed lights (mullion gone) to right, also various chamfered loops; west elevation shows similar 2-light 1st-floor window, north elevation only loops.

Interior: vaulted lobby with doorway to stair on right and hole broken through wall on left into former prison originally accessible only via trapdoor from painted chamber above. Main basement barrel vault partly fallen at north end. Painted chamber, with remains of C16 mural decoration, on south at 1st floor level, and garderobe to north-west. Mezzanine chamber on south between 1st and 2nd floors, entered only from stair.

The virtually-intact shell of a towerhouse. (Listed Building Report)

A well-preserved pele-tower, probably 15thc. (Pevsner). There are indications of a moat, and external buildings, possibly a barmkin (Pevsner; Hodgson 1897).

The shell of the tower is in good condition. There are no remains of a moat, or of external buildings, apart from a fragment of masonry abutting the south face of the tower, which may indicate a former curtain-wall (F1 RWE 15-NOV-66). (PastScape)

Cocklaw Tower is one of the better-preserved fortified medieval towers in Northumberland. Although, there is now no visible evidence of other medieval buildings around the tower, there are records of a chapel nearby. This suggests that the tower was just one building of a group of structures associated with the manor

The tower itself probably dates to the late 14th or 15th century. The main accommodation would have been on the second floor. This room contains painted decorations of the 16th century date. (Keys to the Past)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceNY939711
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Purton, P.F., 2010, A History of the Late Medieval Siege: 1200-1500 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 211
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 352, 406
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 37
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 70-1
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 180
  • Dixon, P.W., 1993, 'Mota, Aula et Turris: the manor-houses of the Anglo-Scottish border ' in G.E. Meirion-Jones and Michael Jones (eds), Manorial Domestic Buildings in England and Northern France (Society of Antiquaries) p. 22-48 (reprinted in Liddiard, Robert (ed), 2016, Late Medieval Castles (Boydell Press) p. 127-156)
  • Pevsner, N., 1992 (revised by Grundy, John et al), Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 234
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 44-6
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 330
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 211
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 111-2
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles in Northumberland (Newcastle) p. 85
  • Pevsner, N., 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London) p. 128
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 73-4
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Gotch, J. Alfred, 1909, The Growth of the English House (London: Batsford) p. 21-2
  • Hodgson, John Crawford (ed), 1897, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 4 p. 180-4 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 374 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 370-1 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)


  • Simpson, W.D., 1940, 'Belsay castle and the Scottish tower-houses' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 17 p. 77
  • Knowles, W.H., 1895, 'Cocklaw Tower' Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Vol. 4 p. 309-15
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 370-1 online copy


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk North East Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 15 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk North East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 17 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 17 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 19 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 33 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 32 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 31 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 40 online copy
  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland part 4 Tynedale District, vol 2. Unpublished p. 146-9