Medieval fortified house, known as the Camera of Adam, Heaton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016633

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1980

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Dec-1998


Ordnance survey map of Medieval fortified house, known as the Camera of Adam, Heaton
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1016633 .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 20-Nov-2018 at 21:49:08.


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

District: Newcastle upon Tyne (Metropolitan Authority)

National Grid Reference: NZ 26766 65667


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers, gunports and crenellated parapets. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The Camera of Adam is important as an example of a 13th century fortified hall house and as such is an early example of this type of structure. It has further importance due to its association with the infamous Sheriff of Northumberland, Adam of Jesmond.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of a fortified medieval hall house known locally as the Camera of Adam or King John's Palace. It is situated on high ground overlooking Heaton Park. The visible remains include the north wall, north west turret, and part of the east wall and earthworks to north and south. The remains are constructed of coarse grained sandstone blocks and are Listed Grade II. The north wall survives to its full length of approximately 12m, and stands to a height of about 8m. There is a modern doorway in the ground floor level and a large window in the first floor level, which would have lit the principal room, the hall. On the west end of the south face of the north wall are two doorway jambs. The north west turret is 3m square and stands to about 8m. The north end of the east wall survives to approximately 8m high. The height of the wall decreases to the south and where the survival of the first floor level ceases, approximately 7m from north wall, it survives to a height of only 6.5m. The ground floor level survives for a further 3m. The northernmost 3m of the east wall are thickened by an extra 0.2m and probably supported a turret on the north east corner. A window is present at the point where the thickness of the wall is reduced . Internally both the north and east wall are reduced in thickness at the first floor level to create a projecting internal ledge to support the floor. The remains of the west wall can be seen as a low earthwork extending out from below the doorway jambs in the north wall and following the edge of the tennis court for 10m before becoming indiscernible. The earliest reference to the monument is in 1267 when it is mentioned in a licence to crenellate for Tarset Castle. Its construction has been associated with Adam of Jesmond, who was Sheriff of Newcastle in 1262-4 and 1267. It is believed to have been abandoned by the 17th century, though it continued in use as farm buildings until 1897 when attached buildings to east and west, and a stable within, were removed and consolidation of the remains was carried out. The metalled footpath which runs through the monument and a metalled tennis court are exluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 32047

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Knowles, W H, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in The camera of Adam of Jesmond, , Vol. 2, XIX, (1898), 29-38

End of official listing