Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of MORTHAM TOWER
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Statutory Address:

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

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 08610 14209



13/137 Mortham Tower



Fortified Manor House. Hall, solar, north-west wing and perhaps south-east range probably C14 in origin; Tower later C15; south-west range, courtyard wall and gateway probably early C16; solar remodelled as Great Chamber in later C16; Hall altered to barn c.1820; 1939 restoration by David Hodges and Kenneth Peacock for Mrs Rhodes-Moorhouse.

Solar and north-west wing rubble; Hall rubble to north and ashlar to south; Tower ashlar except for roughly-squared stone on lower parts of north and east elevations; courtyard wall and gateway large roughly-squared stone; south-east range large squared stone on west and rubble on east; south-west range rubble; cut dressings. Graduatedstone slate roofs except for C20 flat roof on Tower.

Plan: Ranges around courtyard, closed on south by wall with central gateway. Hall on north and Tower inserted at north-west corner between Hall and Great Chamber on north, north-west wing beyond. Most windows square-headed, with or without mullions and hoodmoulds; chamfered and hollow-chamfered surrounds.

Hall/Great Chamber range: Both north and south elevations show central early C19 round-headed arches, remains of blocked mullioned windows and barn slit vents. Great Chamber has lateral stack at north. East gable end rebuilt early C19, with 1939 mullioned windows. West gable shows later C16 2-storey canted bay. North-west wing has projecting east bay with restored 3-light 1st floor window; remains of original end stack at north end.

Square Tower with north-east stair turret partly within adjacent range. Lower floors have restored 2-light windows; 2nd floor has 1- and 2-light windows with cinquefoil-headed lights. Tall parapet, with angle bartizans above string course; upper parapet, above second string, has large square-headed openings and embattled cresting to bartizans. Some chamfered loops.

South-east range to courtyard 2 storeys, 4 irregular bays; left bay is later addition. Windows mostly mullioned, some restored. Hip-ended roof. South end shows fine sundial dated 1566.

South-west range to courtyard 2 storeys, 3 irregular bays. Similar windows. South end 4-light transomed window with hoodmould stepped up over central panel with shield. To rear 2 stepped buttresses and lateral stack.

Courtyard wall: Projecting central gateway has double-chamfered 4-centred arch with hollow-chamfered hoodmould, between later raking buttresses incorporating several C12 and C13 grave covers; west projecting turret; embattled parapets. Flight of internal stone steps up each end serves wall walk and 1st floor doorways in the adjacent ranges; eastern stair has old slab with Rokeby arms and intials.

Interior: Hall retains two C14 roof trusses with long moulded arch braces to collars carrying upper king posts; cusping at heads of principals and posts; later tie beams. 1st floor Great Chamber has richly-moulded C16 ceiling beams and joists, and contemporary Tudor-arched fireplace; room in north-west wing has similar fireplace with carved lintel, and C16 ornamental plasterwork over bay window. In Tower other old fireplaces, doorways, garderobes and windows with stone seats; at wall head are corbels formerly carrying fighting platform serving upper-level embrasures. South-west range has C16 roof.

Historical Note: Built by Rokeby family on a new site following destruction of previous house by raiding Scots after Bannockburn; declined to farm use in C18 and C19.

C. Hussey, 'Mortham Tower, Yorkshire', Country Life, July 6 1945, 24-7.

Listing NGR: NZ0861014209


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

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Books and journals
'Country Life' in July, (1945), 24 27


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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