Ancient Monuments

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Duddo Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Duddo, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6768 / 55°40'36"N

Longitude: -2.0999 / 2°5'59"W

OS Eastings: 393817.057369

OS Northings: 642591.274838

OS Grid: NT938425

Mapcode National: GBR F2SS.5V

Mapcode Global: WH9YW.QK8Z

Entry Name: Duddo Tower

Scheduled Date: 22 January 1964

Last Amended: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018443

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31707

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Duddo

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Norham St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the ruins of a medieval tower house, which is Listed
Grade II, situated in a commanding position on top of crags immediately south
of Duddo village. The south west corner and part of the south wall of the
tower survive to a height of about 9m and are built of coursed, roughly
squared stone. At first floor level is a square window with a chamfered
surround and the remains of a second floor window above. At the south west
angle a few stones remain of a projecting course that seems to have formed the
base of a parapet. Around the base of the standing remains is 19th century
masonry, built to prevent its collapse. Large pieces of fallen masonry lie to
the south east of the tower and are the remnants of a projecting turret. The
outlines of the remaining sides of the tower are difficult to see but measure
approximately 12m by 10m. Evidence for the former appearance of the tower has
come from late 19th century photographs and a published description by Bates.
These describe a tower block with a projecting wing on the south front which
contained the entrance and a stair. A barn-like building is also described as
having stood near the tower and was removed in about 1850. To the south east
of the tower, earthwork remains of building foundations can be seen which are
interpreted as remains of the buildings described by Bates. The first known
documentary reference to a tower at Duddo was when it was destroyed by
James IV of Scotland in 1496. A part of this tower remained standing in 1541
and was described with a barmkin around it in 1561. The present remains are
believed to be those of a late 16th century tower.

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.

Duddo Tower survives in reasonable condition as a ruined building and
earthwork. The full extent of the building and subsidiary structures survive
as earthworks and will retain significant archaeological deposits. It is one
of a wider group of medieval border towers reflecting the unstable warlike
conditions in the region at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bates, C J, The Border Holds of Northumberland, (1891), 409
Ryder, P F, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland: A Survey, (1995), 13-14

Source: Historic England

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