Ancient Monuments

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Welton tower house

A Scheduled Monument in Horsley, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0029 / 55°0'10"N

Longitude: -1.8992 / 1°53'57"W

OS Eastings: 406542.999856

OS Northings: 567591.651657

OS Grid: NZ065675

Mapcode National: GBR HB5L.MD

Mapcode Global: WHB28.SJS3

Entry Name: Welton tower house

Scheduled Date: 24 November 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016868

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32723

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Horsley

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ovingham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the remains of a tower house of 15th century date. It is
located within a farm complex, but was originally on the street line at the
eastern end of the medieval village of Welton. The medieval village, field
system and fishponds are the subject of a separate scheduling. The tower was
created in the late 14th or early 15th century by the conversion of the west
wing of an earlier, but still occupied, manor house. Both the tower house and
the adjacent manor house are Listed Grade II*.
The stonework of the original, steeply pitched western gable of the former
wing, from which it was converted, is visible in the west wall of the tower.
The tower, which is square in shape and measures 7m externally, stands three
storeys high and is roofless. It has a vaulted basement which was clearly a
later addition. The basement was lit by two small square windows through the
south wall, the most westerly one of which has been altered to provide a
doorway. A small, now blocked, opening through the east wall has been obscured
by the insertion of the later tunnel vaulted roof. The first floor contains a
low doorway through its northern wall with a projecting stone spout
immediately to the west and a small ornate window through the eastern wall.
Both the north and east wall of the second floor of the tower contain a square
headed window. Part of the parapet which surmounted the tower is visible at
its south western corner.
The metalled farm yard area immediately to the north of the north wall of the
tower is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath this
feature is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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. At many sites the tower comprised only one element of a
larger house, with at least one wing being attached to it. These wings
provided further domestic accommodation, frequently including a large hall.
If it was incorporated within a larger domestic residence, the tower itself
could retain its defensible qualities and could be shut off from the rest of
the house in times of trouble. 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 or
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 over half were elements of larger houses. All surviving
tower houses retaining significant medieval remains will normally be
identified as nationally important.

The tower house at Welton survives well and retains significant archaeological
deposits and many original architectural features. Taken together with the
adjacent medieval manor house, it is thought to be one of the best
combinations of manor house and tower in the county. Its importance is
enhanced by its association with the adjacent medieval village.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland: A Survey, (1995), 102-4
Tolan-Smith, C, Landscape Archaeology in Tynedale: Chapter 5, (1997), 53-67
Other
NZ06NE 19,

Source: Historic England

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