Howtell Tower

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameHowtell Tower
Alternative NamesHowtel
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishKilham

Howtel tower house is well preserved and retains significant archaeological information. It will contribute to studies of medieval architecture and settlement patterns at this time.

The monument includes the ruins of a 15th century medieval tower house. It is now part of a farm complex and is surrounded on three sides by farm buildings, with the west side looking onto the farm courtyard. The tower is rectangular in shape and measures 10.4m by 9.6m externally with walls which at basement level vary between 2.05m and 2.2m thick. The tower had at least three floors, the first marked by an internal set-back and the second by an external chamfered set-back on the south east wall. All four walls are relatively intact up to a level slightly above the former first floor. Above this, only the south east wall survives to a total height of 11m. The north west, north east and south west walls are constructed of a dark igneous rock which is occasionally roughly coursed. The south or front wall is faced with roughly coursed and squared blocks of sandstone. At basement level was a doorway at the west end of the south wall. There is also a single window loop in the centre of the west wall. Access to the upper floors would have been by timber stair or ladder as there is no evidence of a mural stair. The first floor may have had a barrel vault which was subsequently replaced by a timber floor. Evidence of the former survives in the form of the south walls which bulge inwards suggesting they once supported a vault, and of the latter in the form of socket remains in the south wall for transverse beams. At first floor level, one window survives intact, a little west of centre in the south wall. Another blocked opening can be seen east of this window which may have been a doorway or a window. Traces of another blocked opening can be seen internally in the east wall, adjacent to the south east corner. Evidence of a splayed window loop exists at the west end of the north wall

The second floor was carried on eight transverse timber beams, the sockets of which survive in the internal face of the surviving south wall. There is a single window set centrally in this wall. The tower is recorded in 1541 as partially standing after destruction by James IV of Scotland in 1496. It was repaired in the 16th century, but probably finally fell out of use in the 17th century. (Scheduling Report)

The ruins of a C15 tower house which now forms part of a farm complex and is surrounded on three sides by farm buildings. The tower is rectangular in shape and measures 10.4m by 9.6m externally with walls which at basement level vary between 2.05m and 2.2m thick. The tower had at least three floors. All four walls are relatively intact up to a level slightly above the former first floor. Above this, only the south east wall survives to a total height of 11m. The north west, north east and south west walls are constructed of a dark igneous rock. The south or front wall is faced with roughly coursed and squared blocks of sandstone. The tower is recorded in 1541 as partially standing after destruction by James IV of Scotland in 1496. It was repaired in C16, but probably finally fell out of use in C17. (PastScape)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNT897341
Latitude55.6006202697754
Longitude-2.16359996795654
Eastings389780
Northings634130
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

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.

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Books

  • Ryder, Peter, 2004, 'Towers and bastles in Northumberland National Park' in Frodsham, P., Archaeology in the Northumberland National Park (CBA Research report 136) p. 262-271
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 74-5
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 70
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 200 (slight)
  • Graham, Frank, 1993, Northumberian Castles Aln, Tweed and Till (Butler Publishing) p. 33
  • Pevsner, N., 1992 (revised by Grundy, John et al), Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 353
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 10, 21-2
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 336
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 217-8
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 125
  • Pevsner, N., 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London) p. 195
  • Vickers, Kenneth H. (ed), 1922, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 11 p. 207-9 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 396 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 382 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)

Journals

  • Hodgson, J.C., 1916, 'List of Ruined Towers, Chapels, etc., in Northumberland; compiled about 1715 by John Warburton, Somerset Herald, aided by John Horsley' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser3) Vol. 13 p. 11 abridged transcription
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 382 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1584, Report of the Commissioners on the Borders (1584) under Lord Hunsdon; largely the work of Christopher Dacre. Online transcription
  • Sir Robert Bowes, 1550, A Book of the State of the Frontiers and Marches betwixt England and Scotland taken from Brit. Mus. Cotton. MS. Titus, F.13, a copy of the original (see Bates, 51, n185). Printed in Hodgson, [pt.3, ii, 187, 204 > http://archive.org/stream/historyofnortpt302hodguoft#page/204/mode/1up]
  • 1541, View of the Castles, Towers, Barmekyns and Fortresses of the Frontier of the East and Middle Marches Survey of the East and Middle Marches