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Seghill Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Blake Arms Hotel; Sighale

In the civil parish of Blyth Valley.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ28367428
Latitude 55.06220° Longitude -1.55764°

Seghill Tower has been described as a probable Pele Tower, and also as a probable Tower House.

There are uncertain remains.


The little known tower at Seghill is first mentioned in the list of fortalices of 1415 and probably dates from that period. Only the vaulted basement remains and this is now used as a cellar to the Blake Arms Hotel.
Its dimensions indicate that it was one of the largest in the county, and it is said to have been of three storeys and to have had a tower
at one corner. About 1673 it was considerably altered (Craster 1909).
In 1673 Robert Mitford built a mansion house, incorporating with it, the old tower ... in 1827 they were taken down except for the tower vaulting which is possibly 13th century (PSANT 1905-6).
NZ 28367428. The remains of this tower consist of a barrel vaulted cellar 15.2m long x 6m wide used as a beer cellar for the Blake Arms Hotel. The internal architectural features consist of several ribs springing from present ground level. The walls 1.2m thick are formed of sandstone blocks much renovated and the exterior is covered with plaster and concrete. Remains of squareheaded window in west wall; no other architectural features seen (F1 JHO 24-MAR-1954).
Seghill Tower. Remains built into an inn, only vaulted basement remains. Measured internally 44ft 6ins x 16ft 6ins (Long 1967)
The Blake Arms Hotel was demolished in the late 1960s and new housing built on the site. It is reputed that the vaulted cellars were simply filled in before modern housing was built on the site (Email, A Fletcher Hill, 28-APR-2010). (Northumberland HER)

The little known tower of Seghill, which is first mentioned in the list of fortalices of 14 15, probably dates from about this period. Only the vaulted basement remains, and this is now used as a cellar to the Blake Arms hotel. Its dimensions indicate that the tower was one of the largest in the county and of a size equal to Thirlwall castle. Strong walls, four feet in thickness and built on the rock, inclose an area of forty-four feet six inches by sixteen feet six inches. This is spanned by a barrel vault, of which the circular ribs spring from the ground level, the interstices being composed of single flat stones. The basement is entered on the south side by a doorway with checked and chamfered jambs. Suggestions of windows, loops, and recesses appear in the thickness of the walls, but there is no evidence of mural or other staircases.
The tower is said to have been of three stories, and to have had a lofty exploratory turret at one corner. No medieval features remain in the upper floors. It appears that in or about 1673 considerable additions and alterations were made to the tower, and that at that time the centre of the vaulting in the basement was removed to give access to the chambers above. A chimney stack with weatherings, which projects from the west wall, and a doorway on the first floor level, immediately above the entrance to the basement, are of this period. The upper door was formerly approached by a flight of external steps. (Craster 1909)

There is a modern pub called the Blake Arms in Seghill but this seems to be on a different site from the pub demolished in the 1960s. Called a turris in 1415 but high up on the list which may roughly be order by size and prestige. The loss of the last remains of this tower in the 1960s seems to be rather sad but also widely unnoticed.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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