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Wooler Tower on east side of Church Street

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Wooler Tower on east side of Church Street

List entry Number: 1018347

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Wooler

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 17-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Aug-1998

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29337

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

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 the fragmentary nature of the remains of Wooler Tower and the erection of a war memorial, the mound has not been greatly disturbed and significant archaeological remains will survive beneath the ground surface. It was an important link in the chain of border defences in the 16th century and will contribute to any study of defences at this time.

History

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

Details

This monument includes the remains of a medieval tower of early 16th century date situated on a prominent mound. There are steep slopes on the north and east, where it falls to Wooler Water. The tower survives as three large blocks of masonry, one of which, a mass of core material, is believed to lie in situ. A block lying near a modern war memorial is a section of the corner of the tower with walls 1.5m thick; the walling is faced with large blocks of sandstone. To the east of these remains are traces of a slight earthwork platform. The mound on which these fragments lie is believed to be natural, rather than artificial, but is the probable site of a 12th century castle with timber defences which belonged to the Muschamps. Documentary evidence records that it was disused by 1255 and the site was not reoccupied until the tower was built in the early 16th century. The tower is first mentioned in 1509 and in 1526 was referred to as the `new castle'. It was built in reaction to disturbances on the English-Scottish border and became an important link in the chain of forts featured in a plan of border defences drawn up by Christopher Dacre in 1584. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the war memorial, its railings and concrete plinth, a bench and its concrete plinth, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: NT 99294 28096

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Nov-2017 at 03:05:47.

End of official listing