Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Medieval fortified house, known as the Camera of Adam, Heaton

A Scheduled Monument in South Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 54.9849 / 54°59'5"N

Longitude: -1.5833 / 1°34'59"W

OS Eastings: 426766.027786

OS Northings: 565666.552616

OS Grid: NZ267656

Mapcode National: GBR STN.3X

Mapcode Global: WHC3K.NY8W

Entry Name: Medieval fortified house, known as the Camera of Adam, Heaton

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1980

Last Amended: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016633

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32047

County: Newcastle upon Tyne

Electoral Ward/Division: South Heaton

Built-Up Area: Newcastle upon Tyne

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Tyne and Wear

Church of England Parish: Newcastle St Gabriel

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the remains of a fortified medieval hall house known
locally as the Camera of Adam or King John's Palace. It is situated on high
ground overlooking Heaton Park.
The visible remains include the north wall, north west turret, and part of the
east wall and earthworks to north and south. The remains are constructed of
coarse grained sandstone blocks and are Listed Grade II.
The north wall survives to its full length of approximately 12m, and stands
to a height of about 8m. There is a modern doorway in the ground floor level
and a large window in the first floor level, which would have lit the
principal room, the hall. On the west end of the south face of the north wall
are two doorway jambs. The north west turret is 3m square and stands to about
8m.
The north end of the east wall survives to approximately 8m high. The height
of the wall decreases to the south and where the survival of the first floor
level ceases, approximately 7m from north wall, it survives to a height of
only 6.5m. The ground floor level survives for a further 3m. The northernmost
3m of the east wall are thickened by an extra 0.2m and probably supported a
turret on the north east corner. A window is present at the point where the
thickness of the wall is reduced . Internally both the north and east wall are
reduced in thickness at the first floor level to create a projecting internal
ledge to support the floor.
The remains of the west wall can be seen as a low earthwork extending out from
below the doorway jambs in the north wall and following the edge of the tennis
court for 10m before becoming indiscernible.
The earliest reference to the monument is in 1267 when it is mentioned in a
licence to crenellate for Tarset Castle. Its construction has been associated
with Adam of Jesmond, who was Sheriff of Newcastle in 1262-4 and 1267. It is
believed to have been abandoned by the 17th century, though it continued in
use as farm buildings until 1897 when attached buildings to east and west, and
a stable within, were removed and consolidation of the remains was carried
out.
The metalled footpath which runs through the monument and a metalled tennis
court are exluded 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.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most
powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic
and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic
additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military
aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with
individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture
often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification
varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers,
gunports and crenellated parapets.
Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic
and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later
houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often
receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some
fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables,
brew houses, granaries and barns were located.
Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between
the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as
the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I
and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further
back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland
areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses
which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with
fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant
surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The Camera of Adam is important as an example of a 13th century fortified hall
house and as such is an early example of this type of structure. It has
further importance due to its association with the infamous Sheriff of
Northumberland, Adam of Jesmond.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Knowles, W H, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in The camera of Adam of Jesmond, , Vol. 2, XIX, (1898), 29-38

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.