Coldmartin Tower, 260m north east of Tower Martin

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018373

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1999

Map

Ordnance survey map of Coldmartin Tower, 260m north east of Tower Martin
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wooler

National Grid Reference: NU 00901 26914

Summary

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. At many sites the tower comprised only one element of a larger house, with at least one wing being attached to it. These wings provided further domestic accommodation, frequently including a large hall. If it was incorporated within a larger domestic residence, the tower itself could retain its defensible qualities and could be shut off from the rest of the house in times of trouble. 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 or 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 over half were elements of larger houses. All surviving tower houses retaining significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally important.

Coldmartin Tower north east of Tower Martin survives in reasonable condition. The surviving upstanding remains indicate the extent of the tower and archaeological deposits will survive beneath fallen debris.

History

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

Details

This monument includes the ruined remains of a medieval tower house known as Coldmartin Tower. It lies on a gently sloping hillside with excellent views to the west, overlooking the valley of Wooler Water and to the Cheviots beyond. The tower is rectangular in plan and measures around 10m east-west by 9m. The south wall, of coursed roughly squared blocks, stands 2.5m high and measures 1.6m thick; the internal facing has been removed except for one course at ground level, but the ragged core overhangs in a way suggestive of the springing of an east-west vault. The west wall stands one or two courses high for most of its length, but only a few stones of the north and east walls are exposed. The interior of the tower is raised above the surrounding ground level and has an uneven surface, probably composed of fallen masonry from the tower. One stone appears to have been reused from an earlier structure as it bears a cup mark of Bronze Age date. Against the south wall are traces of the stone foundation of an adjacent rectangular structure measuring around 7m by 3m and of unknown function. Coldmartin Tower is first mentioned in documents in 1584 when it was the property of Roger Fowberry and was described as `utterly decayed'.

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

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 31706

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland: A Survey, (1995), 3

End of official listing