Bywell Castle gate tower


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 04941 61784


Bywell Castle gate tower, 310m south west of Bywell Bridge.

Reasons for Designation

Taken together the different forms of castles, are major medieval monument types which, belonging to the highest levels of society, frequently acted as major administrative centres and formed the foci for developing settlement patterns. Castles generally provide an emotive and evocative link to the past and can provide a valuable educational resource, both with respect to medieval warfare and defence and with respect to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally important.

Despite the fact that Bywell Castle was never completed, the gate tower is preserved as a substantial shell and retains significant medieval features. The structure of the monument and the ground beneath it will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 12 May 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a gate tower of medieval date, situated on gently sloping ground overlooking the River Tyne close to the south. The gate tower measures 18m by 11.6m in plan and stood to three storeys. The tower is a rectangular building which originally had castellations, corner turrets and principal apartments above a central gate passage and flanking chambers. The tower retains many original features including trefoil lights and machicolations projecting on corbels at the corners and once had provision for a portcullis and gates. It is built partly from reused Roman masonry. The tower stands to near its original height and the shell is preserved with the ground floor retaining its vaulting. Bywell Castle was constructed in the mid-15th century by Ralph Nevill who in 1426 became the 2nd Earl of Westmorland. Although the gatehouse was likely completed, a survey of 1570 suggests that the rest of the castle was never finished. The earliest reference to the castle is in 1464 when Henry VI stayed there after fleeing the Battle of Hexham. Bywell Castle gate tower is a listed building Grade I.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
ND 91
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:- 20623


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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