Hepple Tower


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008884

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Feb-1993


Ordnance survey map of Hepple Tower
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008884 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Feb-2019 at 11:20:33.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Hepple

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 important.

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)
No. 556,

End of official listing