Preston Tower, Ellingham

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NamePreston Tower, Ellingham
Alternative NamesPreston by Alnwick
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishEllingham

Part of tower house. C14 restored 1864 by Henry Robert Baker Cresswell. Squared stone with Welsh slate roof. The remains include the south wall and 2 southern corner turrets of a larger hall-type tower house with 4 towers (cf. Haughton Castle and Langley Castle). The rear wall is of 1864. 3 storeys. Chamfered plinth. Recessed centre flanked by projecting turrets. In the centre a boarded door in C16, or C17 chamfered surround. 2 slit windows with chamfered surrounds above door. 4 similar windows in turret to left, 3 in turret to right. On 2nd floor in centre, a large clock with ceramic face inscribed H R B C for the restorer. Embattled parapet. Higher turrets have rounded corbels below parapets. On left return a blocked, low, narrow C14 doorway with pointed arch and chamfered surround. To rear, similar clock face dated 1864. Interior: springing of ground-floor vault visible. The turrets have pointed tunnel-vaulted chambers on each floor. Also in turrets 3 C16 or C17 fireplaces with chamfered surrounds; one has a lintel, with keystone. Many mason's marks. C14 doorways into turret rooms have pointed arches and chamfered surrounds. (Listed Building Report)

It is probable that the tower, when it was complete, closely resembled Haughton castle, though on a smaller scale. It was perhaps built by Robert Harbottle about the year 1415, and was originally a long building with turrets at the four angles. All that now remains of it is the south front, with the south-east and south-west corner turrets, and portions of the side walls, running north from them. The interior of the main building was 16 feet 7 inches wide, and the side walls are 6 feet 9 inches thick. The south-west turret is about 13 feet 6 inches square externally, and is slightly larger than the south-east one. The height of the tower is 49 feet 9 inches to the top of the battlements

An entrance to the tower is at present afforded by a plain doorway, cut through the base of the south front, probably at the end of the seventeenth century. The basement of the south-east turret is entered through a pointed door, only 4 feet 9 inches high, set back like most of those in the building, in a recess under a half-arch. The rough pointed vaulting of the basement rises to a height of 7 feet, and the dimensions of the vault are 8 feet 9 inches from east to west, by 4 feet 7 inches from north to south. There is a slit, opening through the wall, at the east end. A similar vault in the south-west turret has a contrary direction, being about 8 feet 6 inches long from north to south, and 5 feet 6 inches wide from east to west. In this turret a slit, now blocked up, pierces the wall at the south end ; and in the west wall an opening has been made, which was doubtless in connection with the cottages that are shown built up against the tower in Mr. Archer's sketch of it, made in 1862.

The vaulted rooms on the first floor of the turrets are provided with fire- places. A water-tank now nearly fills the vault in the south-west turret, but there is a good plain fire-place still intact in the east wall. The fire-places on the second floor have both fallen away. A moulding has been worked on the east jamb of the fire-place in the south-west turret. At the top of the south-east turret is a room about 8 feet square inside, with rubble walls, probably of the sixteenth century. A similar room in the south-west turret contains the bell on which the clock strikes. The roof of this room has been removed for the purpose of obtaining a better view from the battlements. At the south end of the second floor of the main block is a fine window recess, like some in Warkworth donjon, 5 feet 2 inches in width and 7 feet in height to the springers of the the low arch. The recess is now filled with the clock face, but is said to have formerly contained a square-headed transomed window of two cusped lights. (Bateson 1895)

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 ReferenceNU183254
Latitude55.5223007202148
Longitude-1.71053004264832
Eastings418360
Northings625420
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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
Copyright Lisa Jarvis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Lisa Jarvis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 83
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 129-30
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 91
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 194
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 26
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 340
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 296-7
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 147
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 183-6
  • 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. 416-7 online copy
  • Bateson, Edward (ed), 1895, Northumberland County History (Newcastle upon Tyne) Vol. 2 p. 317-8 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 12, 16, 195-8 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)

Journals

  • King, Andy, 2007, 'Fortress and fashion statements: gentry castles in fourteenth-century Northumberland' Journal of Medieval History Vol. 33 p. 390
  • Cresswell, G.G.B., 1932-4, 'Preston Tower' History of the Berwickshire Naturalist Club Vol. 28 p. 76-8 (weak) online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 12, 16, 195-8 online copy

Primary Sources

Other

  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 2 Berwick District p. 15-16