Kyloe tower house, East Kyloe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018444

Date first listed: 19-Jan-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Kyloe tower house, East Kyloe
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kyloe

National Grid Reference: NU 05908 39750


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.

Kyloe tower house is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It will contribute to any study of medieval settlement in the region.


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


The monument includes the ruins of a late 14th or early 15th century medieval tower house situated on rising ground with extensive views northward towards the Northumberland coast. It is now part of a complex of farm buildings and its open views are obscured by trees to the north and east. The tower is rectangular in shape and measures 10m by 11.7m externally with walls of ashlar blocks about 2.5m thick. The tower stands to first floor level, marked by a chamfered plinth and chamfered set-back with walls 4.5m high. The original entrance to the ground floor lies at the west end of the south wall. It is now concealed externally by 19th century farm buildings. There is a single window loop in the east and west walls at ground floor level, but the eastern window loop has been enlarged to create an opening for access to the interior which is covered by a barrel vault. Internally, there is evidence of a possible loft structure at the springing of the vault, with the corbels which supported the wooden beams visible on the interior of the north and south walls. Access to the upper floors was by means of a newel stair in the south west corner entered through a small lobby. The south wall of the stair is the only part to stand above first floor level and has two square-headed window loops. The tower, which is Listed Grade II, is first mentioned in documents around 1450, was described as in good repair in 1560 and still inhabited in 1633. The support wire and post for a telegraph pole are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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: 31711

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing