Mortham Tower, Greta Bridge

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

There are major building remains

NameMortham Tower, Greta Bridge
Alternative NamesRokeby Castle
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishRokeby

Fortified Manor House. Hall, solar, north-west wing and perhaps south-east range probably C14 in origin; Tower later C15; south-west range, courtyard wall and gateway probably early C16; solar remodelled as Great Chamber in later C16; Hall altered to barn c.1820; 1939 restoration by David Hodges and Kenneth Peacock for Mrs Rhodes-Moorhouse. Solar and north-west wing rubble; Hall rubble to north and ashlar to south; Tower ashlar except for roughly-squared stone on lower parts of north and east elevations; courtyard wall and gateway large roughly-squared stone; south-east range large squared stone on west and rubble on east; south-west range rubble; cut dressings. Graduatedstone slate roofs except for C20 flat roof on Tower. Plan: Ranges around courtyard, closed on south by wall with central gateway. Hall on north and Tower inserted at north-west corner between Hall and Great Chamber on north, north-west wing beyond. Most windows square-headed, with or without mullions and hoodmoulds; chamfered and hollow-chamfered surrounds. Hall/Great Chamber range: Both north and south elevations show central early C19 round-headed arches, remains of blocked mullioned windows and barn slit vents. Great Chamber has lateral stack at north. East gable end rebuilt early C19, with 1939 mullioned windows. West gable shows later C16 2-storey canted bay. North-west wing has projecting east bay with restored 3-light 1st floor window; remains of original end stack at north end. Square Tower with north-east stair turret partly within adjacent range. Lower floors have restored 2-light windows; 2nd floor has 1- and 2-light windows with cinquefoil-headed lights. Tall parapet, with angle bartizans above string course; upper parapet, above second string, has large square-headed openings and embattled cresting to bartizans. Some chamfered loops. South-east range to courtyard 2 storeys, 4 irregular bays; left bay is later addition. Windows mostly mullioned, some restored. Hip-ended roof

South end shows fine sundial dated 1566. South-west range to courtyard 2 storeys, 3 irregular bays. Similar windows. South end 4-light transomed window with hoodmould stepped up over central panel with shield. To rear 2 stepped buttresses and lateral stack. Courtyard wall: Projecting central gateway has double-chamfered 4-centred arch with hollow-chamfered hoodmould, between later raking buttresses incorporating several C12 and C13 grave covers; west projecting turret; embattled parapets. Flight of internal stone steps up each end serves wall walk and 1st floor doorways in the adjacent ranges; eastern stair has old slab with Rokeby arms and intials. Interior: Hall retains two C14 roof trusses with long moulded arch braces to collars carrying upper king posts; cusping at heads of principals and posts; later tie beams. 1st floor Great Chamber has richly-moulded C16 ceiling beams and joists, and contemporary Tudor-arched fireplace; room in north-west wing has similar fireplace with carved lintel, and C16 ornamental plasterwork over bay window. In Tower other old fireplaces, doorways, garderobes and windows with stone seats; at wall head are corbels formerly carrying fighting platform serving upper-level embrasures. South-west range has C16 roof. Historical Note: Built by Rokeby family on a new site following destruction of previous house by raiding Scots after Bannockburn; declined to farm use in C18 and C19. (Listed Building Report)

Fortified manor house, parts of which date from the 14th century. The tower was added in the later 15th century; the south west range, courtyard wall and gateway were built in the early 16th century and the solar was remodelled in the later 16th century. The hall was converted into a barn circa 1820. Restoration work was carried out in 1939. The house comprises a number of ranges set around a courtyard with the south side closed by a wall with a central gateway. (PastScape)

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceNZ086142
Latitude54.5230598449707
Longitude-1.86858999729156
Eastings408630
Northings514200
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 112
  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 243
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 64
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 122-3
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 380
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 293
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 522
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 108-22
  • Pevsner, N., 1966, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: North Riding (London, Penguin) p. 256
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 (London) p. 110-111 online transcription
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 159-60 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 210-11 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 566
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 28, 30 online copy

Journals

  • Hussey, C., 1945 July 6, 'Mortham Tower, Yorkshire' Country Life p. 24-7

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk North East Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 4 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 4 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 4 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 21 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 21 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 19 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 North East (London: English Heritage) p. 29 online copy