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Tursdale Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Trillesden; Standalone; Sedgebitlee; Quarrington

In the civil parish of Cassop Cum Quarrington.
In the historic county of Durham.
Modern Authority of Durham.
1974 county of County Durham.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ30453607
Latitude 54.71873° Longitude -1.52882°

Tursdale Castle Hill has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are no visible remains.


About 70 yards east of Standalone farmhouse and 20 chains north-east of Tursdale shafts, Steavenson found indications of building foundations below ploughed land. In 1907, he had it dug and found "big flat stones round a considerable area, forming portions of an oblong building of probably early date ...I should say it has been a pele..." The foundations were 50 yards square and the farmer stated there were remains of a fishpond and gardens. (Steavenson)

There are some vestiges of an ancient fortification at a place called Castle-Hill, about two miles to the west of Quarrington, in the grounds belonging to a small tenement called Stand-alone, or Sedgebitlee. The situation is on a very dead level; the ground-plot is nearly square and contains about an acre and a half included within a moat, and thrown up regularly into a very gentle rise towards the centre. Several squared foundation-stones have been discovered in ploughing, but no other remains. Local tradition assigns this spot as the residence, at a very remote period, of the Baliols ... (PastScape ref. Surtees)

Murray's Handbook (1890) refers to Castle Hill, two miles west of Quarrington, as having traces of ancient fortifications, but the remains are in fragmentary condition. (VCH as Hill Fort)

Nothing now visible at this site, which has been extensively ploughed. However the quality of the stones found here in the past suggested a fortification to earlier writers and the possible moat reported may well be suggestive of a medieval defensible site. However the isolated site may well suggest a pele tower of a farmstead rather than a tower house of a knightly or lordly residence. However, PastScape quotes Surtees as writing 'Eustace De Bailliol, demorant a Querundon, is in a list of knights present at the Battle of Lewes 1264' Quarrington is two miles west of this site but before the construction of several mining and quarrying villages may have been the closest medieval settlement.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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