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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NU 24719 05756



22/346 Castle curtain walls with 31.12.69 gateway, towers and attached buildings


Castle curtain walls with gateway, towers and attached buildings. C12 to C16 with some post-medieval patching. Earliest parts probably built by Earl William (later William the Lion of Scotland); much later medieval remodelling under the Percy family who held Warkworth from 1332 onwards; fell into ruin in later C16. Squared stone of various types.

Plan: built on earlier motte-and-bailey, an irregular triangle with the donjon (q.v.) on motte at the north apex. Great Gate Tower in centre of south curtain, Carrickfergus Tower at south-west corner, Amble or Montagu Tower at south-east corner. Near north of curtain walls are Grey Mare's Tail Tower on east and West Postern Tower. Interior: Collegiate Church divides Inner and Outer wards;Outer (south) Ward has principal apartments on west and chapel on south-west.

Exterior. Great Gate Tower of c.1200 has pointed arch in corbelled recess - under wall-head machicolation, flanked by semi-octagonal towers with tall polygonal buttresses at southern angles, battered bases and cruciform arrow loops low in wall. Curtain east of gatehouse, 2-3 metres high, is post- medieval rebuild on C13 foundations. Square late C15 four-storey Amble or Montagu Tower, projecting to east, has slits to lower floors and 2-light windows above. Taller C13 curtain west of gatehouse runs to polygonal C13 3-storey Carrickfergus Tower projecting to south; west part largely fallen. Tall arrow loops on ground floor.

East curtain: north of Amble and Montagu Tower is East Postern with mutilated pointed arch, and C13 projecting turret with 2 quatrefoil loops high in wall. Beyond this the curtain is C12, heightened in C13. Semi-octagonal C13 Grey Mare's Tail Tower is well preserved: battered base, tall arrow loops and embattled parapet. C13 wall running up motte has large semi-octagonal buttress.

West curtain: C13 southern part has round-arched recess, with carved panel above square-headed window, which probably held solar balcony. Windowless C12 centre part alongside hall; north lower post-medieval part and C14 section, with chamfered set-backs and 2 relieving arches at base, joining West Postern Tower which has slightly-pointed arch and square-headed windows on 2 floors above; embattled parapet with cruciform loop on left return. C13 wall running up motte has buttress as on east.

Beam sockets below parapets of curtains and tower held timber fighting gallery.

Interior: Great Gate Tower has passage with pointed barrel vault, with twin portcullis slots and arrow slits in side walls. Flanking guard chambers have similar vaults. Beyond guard chambers curving flights of stairs up to 1st floor chamber. Chapel to west has piscina on south but otherwise much ruined.

Apartments on east side of Outer Ward largely remodelled in C15. Lion Tower served as porch to north end of Hall (and to Collegiate Church) and has diagonal buttresses flanking moulded arch. Large recessed panel above on fan corbels with relief carvings of Percy lion and other emblems. Interior has groin vault. Hall is much ruined but has pier bases and south respond, with nailhead decoration, of C13 arcade; bases of 2 hearths; at south end broad stair in thickness of curtain wall led up to solar. Little Stair Tower formed second porch to south end of Hall, solar undercroft and Chapel: diagonal buttresses, 4-centred archways, and remains of groin vault on 1st floor. Newel stair in west wall rises to umbrella vault in taller turret capped by stone spire. Service rooms and kitchen to north of hall much ruined.

Cruciform Collegiate Church, never completed, had aisled 4-bay nave and 2-bay chancel: Lower courses and pier bases only, except for passage with Tudor- arched ashlar vault beneath east end (link between inner and outer wards) and 2 chambers with similar vaults beneath choir and north transept.

Brewhouse or Laundry in Inner Ward, range of buildings (including stables) along east curtain and range alongside east part of south curtain are mostly reduced to footings. Detached well house in outer'ward similarly ruinous but has well cleared to depth of 18 metres.

Listing NGR: NU2471805716


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

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 10 Aug 2001
Reference: IOE01/04915/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Bob Cottrell. Source Historic England Archive
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