Ancient Monuments

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Parson's Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Ford, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6303 / 55°37'49"N

Longitude: -2.0907 / 2°5'26"W

OS Eastings: 394385.797195

OS Northings: 637422.363738

OS Grid: NT943374

Mapcode National: GBR F3VB.5H

Mapcode Global: WH9Z2.VRL2

Entry Name: Parson's Tower

Scheduled Date: 20 May 1963

Last Amended: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018372

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31705

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ford

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ford And Etal

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


This monument includes the ruined medieval tower house, known as Parson's
Tower, situated south west of Ford Castle. It was the home of the local parson
and as such was always separate from the nearby castle. The remains comprise
the basement stage of a tower built of coursed, squared, sandstone blocks,
with chamfered set-back or plinth visible on three sides. The tower is almost
square in plan, measuring 10.1m by 10.5m externally, stands about 3.65m high
and has walls about 2m thick enclosing a single chamber. The entrance lies in
the east wall and gives access to a lobby, with an inner and outer doorway,
and to a mural stair (steps built within the thickness of the wall).
Internally, the basement is covered by an east-west barrel vault and many
stones bear masons' marks. The remains of two small openings, or loops, are
visible in the north and south walls, that on the north concealed internally
by later thickening of the wall. Various sockets and rooflines can be traced
in the stonework externally and are associated with later buildings attached
to the tower. These no longer survive. The tower is a Grade II Listed
Documents first record a tower at Ford in 1541 and describe its partial
destruction by the Scots before Flodden (1513). It was associated with the
parsonage and was rebuilt by Sir Cuthbert Ogle, mentioned as rector of Ford in
1516. During the next 300 years the tower is reported as having been totally
demolished in 1663, rebuilt in 1725 and enlarged in 1825.

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

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.

Parson's Tower survives in good condition and retains significant medieval

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ryder, P F, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland: A Survey, (1995), 16-17

Source: Historic England

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