Twizel medieval tower house and village, post-medieval folly and garden
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 31-Mar-2020 at 08:53:59.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- NT 88279 43461
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.
Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually eveolved during the last 1500 years or more. The Tweed local region includes the Kyloe Hills, the Till Valley and Milfield Plain, as well as the rolling ridges of the Tweed Valley proper. Its rectangular fields, low densities of dispersed farmsteads, tenant cottages and estate villages all signify agrarian improvement in the 18th and 19th centuries. Earthworks, usually in or near present villages, sometimes indicate the earlier medieval farming communities which have been replaced. Twizel medieval tower house, the probable village remains, 18th century folly and garden earthworks are well preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits.
The monument includes a medieval tower house incorporated into a ruined 18th
century folly and the earthwork remains of a probable medieval village and
former garden located above a river cliff on the north bank of the River Till.
The ruins of Twizel Castle, which are Listed Grade II*, comprise a roofless
rectangular building of ashlar and squared stone, 29m by 9.5m, standing two
storeys high with two wings on the north side and circular towers at each
corner. Internally, there are four vaulted rooms along the south front, all of
fine ashlar construction. The wings and towers are part of an incomplete 18th
century folly, built over 50 years from about 1770 by Sir Francis Blake with
the assistance of Nesbit of Kelso. It originally stood five storeys high and
was stone or brick-vaulted throughout as a precaution against fire. At the
core of the building is a medieval house with walls about 1.5m thick whose
structure is partly revealed in the collapse of the north wall. Several pre-
folly features are visible in the north wall and include blocked windows, a
chamfered doorway and original north east angle quoins. To the north of the
folly are a series of earthworks comprising terraces, banks, hollows and
mounds which are interpreted as the remains of a garden. Amongst these
features at the east and west ends of the monument are probable house
platforms from a medieval village.
All boundary fences around and across the monument are excluded 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland: A Survey, (1995), 14-15
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