Ancient Monuments

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Kyloe tower house, East Kyloe

A Scheduled Monument in Kyloe, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6513 / 55°39'4"N

Longitude: -1.9077 / 1°54'27"W

OS Eastings: 405908.09646

OS Northings: 639750.137163

OS Grid: NU059397

Mapcode National: GBR H333.S0

Mapcode Global: WH9Z5.N7S0

Entry Name: Kyloe tower house, East Kyloe

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1968

Last Amended: 15 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018444

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31711

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kyloe

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Lowick and Kyloe St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the ruins of a late 14th or early 15th century medieval
tower house situated on rising ground with extensive views northward towards
the Northumberland coast. It is now part of a complex of farm buildings and
its open views are obscured by trees to the north and east.
The tower is rectangular in shape and measures 10m by 11.7m externally with
walls of ashlar blocks about 2.5m thick. The tower stands to first floor
level, marked by a chamfered plinth and chamfered set-back with walls 4.5m
high. The original entrance to the ground floor lies at the west end of the
south wall. It is now concealed externally by 19th century farm buildings.
There is a single window loop in the east and west walls at ground floor
level, but the eastern window loop has been enlarged to create an opening for
access to the interior which is covered by a barrel vault. Internally, there
is evidence of a possible loft structure at the springing of the vault, with
the corbels which supported the wooden beams visible on the interior of the
north and south walls. Access to the upper floors was by means of a newel
stair in the south west corner entered through a small lobby. The south wall
of the stair is the only part to stand above first floor level and has two
square-headed window loops. The tower, which is Listed Grade II, is first
mentioned in documents around 1450, was described as in good repair in 1560
and still inhabited in 1633.
The support wire and post for a telegraph pole are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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.

Kyloe tower house is well preserved and retains significant archaeological
deposits. It will contribute to any study of medieval settlement in the

Source: Historic England

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