Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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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:
NZ 04942 61784


BYWELL BYWELL NZ 0461 23/75 Bywell Castle 15.4.69 Gatehouse (previously listed as Bywell Castle)


Castle gatehouse, early C15 for Ralph Neville, second Earl of Westmorland. Squared stone (with re-used Roman material). Rectangular tower-house/gatehouse, with principal apartments above central gate passage and flanking chambers. Original external elevation to south 3 storeys. Chamfered plinth and 1st floor set back. Central 4-centred gateway arch of 2 chamfered orders with portcullis slot between, with old pegged and panelled double doors, that to left with small porter's door; small square-headed post-medieval openings to either side. 1st floor has 2 windows of 2 trefoil-headed lights under Tudor arches, and square- headed chamfered window to left; 2 more similar 2-light windows on 2nd floor. Most 2-light windows have lost their mullions. Embattled parapet, oversailing a hollow-chamfered course, has central section set forward on 5 moulded corbels. Taller angle turrets have corbelled-out octagonal tops with machicolations. To right, attached curtain wall (q.v.).

Left return shows corbelled-out garderobe projection and small chamfered windows. Right return shows partly-blocked 2-light window on 1st floor and blocked doorway to wall walk on left. Rear elevation shows similar detail to front; parapet partly fallen.

Interior: Barrel-vaulted gate passage and flanking chambers. Tudor-arched doorways, that to mural stair with old iron yett. Newel stair from 1st floor north-west corner. 1st- and 2nd-floor garderobes in north-east and south-west corners. Chamfered-arched fireplaces(one 2nd-floor fireplace with shoddered lintel) and segmental rear arches to windows. Cross wall with doorway divides 1st floor into hall and solar.

2nd floor and roof missing.

Historical notes: Henry VI sheltered here on his flight after the battle of Hexham Levels in 1464, abandoning his sword, helmet and crown which were found by the victorious Lord Montagu who captured the castle soon afterwards. Apart from the tower-house/gatehouse (cf. Dunstanburgh, Bothal, Willimoteswick) the castle appears never to have been completed.

Northumberland County History VI (1902), 75-78.

Listing NGR: NZ0493561779


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

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Books and journals
Crawford Hodgson, J, 'A History of Northumberland' in The Parish of Bywell St Peter The Parish of Bywell St Andrew with Blanchland the Chapelry or Parish of Slaley, (1902), 75-78


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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