Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008884
Date first listed: 28-Nov-1932
Date of most recent amendment: 15-Feb-1993
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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: NT 98663 00654
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.
Solitary towers were normally accompanied by a small outer enclosure defined
by a timber or stone wall and called a barmkin. Tower houses were being
constructed and used from at least the 13th century to the end of the 16th
century. They provided prestigious defended houses permanently occupied by
the wealthier and aristocratic members of society. As such, they were
important centres of medieval life. 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. Around 200 examples of
tower houses have been identified of which less than half are of the free-
standing or solitary tower type. All surviving solitary towers retaining
significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally
Despite partial collapse, Hepple Tower retains a range of architectural features which provide a clear insight into its original form and the manner in which it was used.
The monument includes the remains of a tower house of fourteenth century date
situated at the eastern end of the small village of Hepple. The rectangular
tower constructed of square sandstone blocks measures 12m east to west by 11m
north-south. The basement is barrel vaulted, the eastern end having collapsed
along with the south-east corner of the building. The remains of a stair
leading through the thickness of the wall to an upper storey can be seen in
the southern wall of the basement. The original doorway, with a drawbar
tunnel, and the foundations of an entrance lobby have recently been revealed
beneath rubble in the south-east corner of the tower. There is a splayed
window at the west end, now enlarged into an entrance, and above this at first
floor level are the remains of a window. Traces of wall cupboards on the
external north wall testify to the fact that this tower is the remains of a
once larger building. The tower house is a grade 11* listed building. The
first mention of Hepple Tower is in 1415 when it was described as the home of
Sir Robert Ogle who later removed his court to Great Tosson.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 20914
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M , The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XII, (1940)
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