Hunstanworth Tower

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameHunstanworth Tower
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishHunstanworth

Although the upper storeys have fallen, the tower house in the churchyard of St James's Church retains significant archaeological deposits. Tower houses are an uncommon monument type in County Durham and this one will contribute to the knowledge and understanding of higher status medieval settlement. The monument includes the remains of a tower house of medieval date situated in the churchyard of St James's Church, on the south side of the valley of the River Derwent. The tower house, which is Listed Grade II, is visible as the lower courses of a rectangular building with maximum measurements of 15m east to west by 12m north to south. The remains of the collapsed upper storeys are visible as a spread of material 1m to 3m wide on all sides. The walls, bonded with clay, stand to a maximum height of 1.5m and are at least 1m thick. The vaulted basement of the tower house fell in 1883, but some of the springing on the south side at the western end remains in situ. (Scheduling Report)

Tower. Probably C16. Several courses of sandstone rubble up to 2 metres high; rectangular plan with open east end and blocked door in west end. Interior has wall along south side 1½ metres from external wall; part of barrel vault visible. (Listed Building Report)

The remains of a pele tower, situated in the churchyard of St James's Church. The tower, which is probably 16th century in date, is visible as the lower courses of a rectangular building with maximum measurements of 15 metres east to west by 12 metres north to south. The remains of the collapsed upper storeys are visible as spread material 1-3 metres wide on all sides. The walls, bonded with clay, stand to a maximum height of 1.5 metres and are at least 1 metre thick. The vaulted basement of the tower house fell in 1883, but some of the springing on the south side at the western end remains in situ. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Was this relatively small and poor quality building (bonded with clay) a small manor house or, as seems more likely, a vicars tower?

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceNY948490
Latitude54.8358688354492
Longitude-2.08132004737854
Eastings394870
Northings549000
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 35
  • Corfe, Tom (ed), 1992, 'The Visible Middle Ages' in An Historical Atlas of County Durham p. 28-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 136
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Surtees, R., 1820, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 2 p. 365-7 (tenurial history) online transcription

Journals

  • Fawcett, J.W. 1922, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser3) Vol. 10 p. 203 online copy
  • 1889-90, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (ser2) Vol. 4 p. 258