Marmion Tower

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameMarmion Tower
Alternative NamesTanfield Castle; Marmions Tower; Westcanfield; West Tanfield
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishWest Tanfield

Marmion Tower is situated in the village of West Tanfield, next to the parish church and on the north bank of the River Ure. The tower is the fifteenth century gatehouse of the now demolished Tanfield Castle. The monument, at this time, comprises the tower and the ground beneath it only, as the precise location of the castle, which was a fortified manor house of the Marmion family, has not yet been located. The tower is a three storey building, roughly square in plan, with a projection at the north-west corner containing a newel stair. The gateway is barrel vaulted and has a guardroom to the south. The stair leads to the rooms above and ends in a turret above the battlements of the gatehouse. The tower is a Grade I Listed Building and has been in State care since 1927. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse/castle. C14, C16. Ashlar. 3 storeys, 1 bay. Square in plan. East front: large chamfered 4-centred archway with hoodmould to right. To its left a small chamfered rectangular opening. First floor: a central oriel canted window with 2-light cusped openings with Perpendicular tracery to each face, hipped roof above. Second floor: a central moulded mullion and transom window with hoodmould. Moulded eaves band. Embattled parapet. South front: first floor has a small square opening to left, to its right a pointed-arched cusped 1-light window. Second floor: to left a 2-light cusped Y-tracery pointed-arched window with hoodmould. To right a corbelled garderobe. Eaves band has 2 rain spouts. West front: similar arch as to east side. First floor has a moulded mullion and transom window with hoodmould. Second floor: central 2-light cusped Y-tracery pointed-arched window with hoodmould and transom. Clasping north-west corner, a 4-stage stair tower with small chamfered 1-light rectangular openings. It rises above the embattled parapet with its own eaves band and embattled parapet. North front, blind except for chamfered single-light window to second floor

Eaves band has rainwater spouts. Octagonal flue stack rises over the parapets. Interior: ground floor has tunnel vaulted passage between the archways and moulded doorways from this into Porters Lodge which is tunnel vaulted and to the stone spiral stair. First floor was the great hall with large moulded 4-centred arched fireplace. Second floor smaller similar fireplaces. History: possibly a gatehouse castle in its own right with enclosure to rear. John Marmion received licence to crenellate his house in 1314. After his death the castle went to his niece the wife of Sir Henry FitzHugh Kt, then it went to the Parr family. William Parr, brother of the 6th wife of Henry VIII, owned the manor until his death in 1570. It then went to the Crown and was granted to Lord Burghley. Through the Cecil family it was owned by the Earls of Ailesbury in the C18 until 1886 when it was bought by the Arton family. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

A licence to crenellate granted to Sir John Marmion in 1314, for his house called L'Ermitage' and another licence was granted in 1348 to his widow Matilda for her manor of Westtanfield. Since the 1314 licence referred to his house in his wood this almost certainly refers to the isolated Magdelan Field site, rather than the old manorial center in the village by the church. Depending on the date of the abandonment of the site at Magdelan Field the 1348 may refer to either site but it seems likely, since the surviving Marmion Tower dates from the mid C14 that this second licence was for a rebuilding of the old manorial centre. The reason for the abandoment of the relatively new Magdelan Filed house is unknown but it is possible that Maud, then in her late 50's, felt a need to be nearer the parish church in the rather traumatic years of the Black Death. The gatehouse is an independent residence of the sort that may well have been a dowager house with the main residences of the castle used by John Marmions heirs (or perhaps they used the Magdelan Field House).

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSE267787
Latitude54.2035217285156
Longitude-1.59099996089935
Eastings426770
Northings478710
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
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Books

  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 242
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 80-83
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 108
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 118-9
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 412
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 299-300
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 533
  • 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. 385-6
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 p. 384-389 online transcription
  • Ambler, L., 1913, The old halls and manor houses of Yorkshire, with some examples of other houses built before the year 1700 (London: Batsford) p. 46 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 268-9 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 415 online copy
  • Allen, T., 1831, A new and complete history of the county of York Vol. 3 p. 495
  • Grose, Francis, 1787, Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 8 p. 159-60 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 558, 564, 567
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 83 online copy; Vol. 4 p. 27 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/itineraryofjohnl04lelauoft#page/27/mode/1up]

Journals

  • 1972, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 128 p. 187
  • 1890-95, Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Vol. 4 p. 37

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1348-50) Vol. 8 p. 210 online copy