Vicar's pele tower
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006604
Date first listed: 28-Nov-1932
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NY 98850 64407
Vicar’s Pele Tower, immediately south east of St Andrew’s Church.
Reasons for Designation
Tower houses are a type of defensible house particularly characteristic of the borderlands of England and Scotland. Virtually every parish had at least one of these buildings. Solitary tower houses comprise a single square or rectangular `keep' several storeys high, with strong barrel-vaults tying together massive outer walls. Many towers had stone slab roofs, often with a parapet walk. Access could be gained through a ground floor entrance or at first floor level where a doorway would lead directly to a first floor hall. Tower houses were being constructed and used from at least the 13th century to the end of the 16th century. The need for such secure buildings relates to the unsettled and frequently war-like conditions which prevailed in the Borders throughout much of the medieval period. All surviving solitary towers retaining significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally important.
The Vicar’s Pele Tower immediately south east of St Andrew’s Church is an excellent example of a vicar’s pele and it retains a significant amount of original features and is well-preserved. The structure of the monument and the ground beneath it will contain archaeological information related to its construction, use and abandonment.
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 pele tower of medieval date, situated within the churchyard of St Andrew’s Church. The tower is rectangular in plan measuring approximately 8.3m by 6.4m and is constructed from large squared sandstone blocks, much of which is reused Roman masonry. The tower stands to two storeys in height with a barrel vaulted basement. The tower’s upper level includes angle turrets and a parapet, which stands roughly 9.1m above ground level. The entrance to the tower is via a pointed-arched doorway set towards the north end of the east wall. The door is of oak boards bolted onto an iron grille. The windows in the tower mainly comprise of small chamfered loops with the addition of larger trefoil-arched lights at first floor level.
The tower was mentioned as the property of the vicar in a list of fortalices drawn up for Henry V in 1415, however, the style of the building suggests it was constructed around 1300-1350. The tower remained as a vicarage until the 17th century. It was abandoned in the 17th or 18th century and was restored and re-roofed by the Duke of Northumberland in 1910. Vicar’s Pele Tower is a listed building Grade I.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ND 77
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 18476
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