- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 31-Mar-2020 at 09:28:50.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- NY 61446 95957
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
Kershope Castle survives well and retains significant archaeological deposits. As an example of a solitary tower house which retains its earthwork defences, it is unusual and will add to our knowledge of the diversity of medieval settlement in the Border area of England. The fact that it is mentioned in medieval documents enhances the importance of the monument.
The monument includes the remains of a tower of medieval date, situated on a
steep south west facing slope overlooking the valley of the North Tyne. The
monument is visible as a rectangular mound measuring 7m north west to south
east by 5m north east to south west, truncated on the north eastern side by a
forestry track. The mound supports the remains of a stone tower which is
visible as a section of stone walling at the north western side. The mound is
surrounded on three sides by a ditch 1.3m deep and on average 6.5m wide.
Outside the ditch there are the remains of a slight outer bank which, where
it is best preserved on the south eastern side, is 1.5m wide. The north
eastern side of the tower and its supporting mound are buried beneath debris
resulting from the construction of a forestry track. The surrounding ditch on
this side, which survives below ground level as a buried feature, has been
infilled and overlain by the track. Kershope Castle is thought to have been
the tower referred to in a document of 1249 when it was associated with one
Robert of `Gresshope'. It is thought that the castle was in existence by the
mid-12th century, as a document of 1304 confirms a grant of land in
`Gresshoppa' which was originally made by Malcolm, King of Scotland, who died
in 1165. It is possible that the tower was a later addition to an earlier
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:
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