Duddo Tower


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Duddo Tower
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NT 93813 42589

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.

Duddo Tower survives in reasonable condition as a ruined building and earthwork. The full extent of the building and subsidiary structures survive as earthworks and will retain significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a wider group of medieval border towers reflecting the unstable warlike conditions in the region at this time.


The monument includes the ruins of a medieval tower house, which is Listed Grade II, situated in a commanding position on top of crags immediately south of Duddo village. The south west corner and part of the south wall of the tower survive to a height of about 9m and are built of coursed, roughly squared stone. At first floor level is a square window with a chamfered surround and the remains of a second floor window above. At the south west angle a few stones remain of a projecting course that seems to have formed the base of a parapet. Around the base of the standing remains is 19th century masonry, built to prevent its collapse. Large pieces of fallen masonry lie to the south east of the tower and are the remnants of a projecting turret. The outlines of the remaining sides of the tower are difficult to see but measure approximately 12m by 10m. Evidence for the former appearance of the tower has come from late 19th century photographs and a published description by Bates. These describe a tower block with a projecting wing on the south front which contained the entrance and a stair. A barn-like building is also described as having stood near the tower and was removed in about 1850. To the south east of the tower, earthwork remains of building foundations can be seen which are interpreted as remains of the buildings described by Bates. The first known documentary reference to a tower at Duddo was when it was destroyed by James IV of Scotland in 1496. A part of this tower remained standing in 1541 and was described with a barmkin around it in 1561. The present remains are believed to be those of a late 16th century tower.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Bates, C J, The Border Holds of Northumberland, (1891), 409
Ryder, P F, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland: A Survey, (1995), 13-14


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

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