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Newton Hall Tower, Bywell

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ04076514
Latitude 54.98085° Longitude -1.93792°

Newton Hall Tower, Bywell has been described as a certain Tower House.

There are uncertain remains.


The tower at Newton with its large diagonal buttresses appears to have been built in the 14th cent. The masonry is good ashlar work, in courses which average 12" in thickness. On the north and west sides the walls exist to a height of 6 to 8 feet. The basement chamber is 31' in length enclosed by a wall 9 to 10 feet thick. The entrance has been on the east or south side.
In the enclosed area is a chamfered jamb stone and near it is what appears to have been a step, possibly the remains of a mural staircase arranged in the east wall. The NW diagonal buttress has been occupied by a garderobe; the lower part of the shaft still remains. A draw well, said to be 30 feet deep, is in the centre of the floor (Hodgson 1902).
NZ 04076514 Remains of a tower, 10m x 15m overall, standing to a maximum height of 2m on the north side. The foundations of the east wall can be traced. The site is upon a slight SE slope, adjacent to farm buildings, in the wooded ornamental grounds of Newton Hall (F1 ASP 10-MAY-56).
When the Hunday Tractor Museum was being constructed out of Newton Hall's stables in 1979-80, the tower was used to provide stone in the village, and its site is now occupied by the Museum entrance and shop. The museum is now closed (Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

It was scheduled as a listed building in 1939, but somehow it was missed in later recordings, so when the Hunday Tractor Museum was being constructed out of the Hall's old stables in 1979-80 there was nothing to stop the tower's stones being reused in the village and its site being occupied by the museum's entrance and shop. (Dodds 1999)

The tower of Newton is equal in size to Chipchase and Cocklaw, and in plan, with its huge diagonal buttresses, resembles the tower of Edlingham, although it is much larger in area. It appears to have been built in the fourteenth century. The masonry is of good ashlar work, in courses which average twelve inches in thickness; on the north and west sides it exists to a height of six or eight feet above the ground level. The basement chamber is 31 feet in length, enclosed by a wall nine to ten feet in thickness, strengthened at the angles by huge buttresses set diagonal-wise. The entrance has been on the south or east side. At A on the plan is a chamfered jamb stone, and near it is what appears to have been a step, possibly the remnant of a mural staircase arranged in the east wall. The north-west buttress has been occupied by a garde-robe; the lower portion of the shaft still remains. In the north wall there is part of a splayed base course. A draw-well, stated to be thirty feet deep, is in the centre of the floor. (Hodgson 1902).

Large C14 tower with diagonal buttresses, mostly demolished in the 1800, but the surviving remains of which, as described by Hodgson, were scheduled as a ancient monument in 1939 but, were nevertheless, demolished in 1979. Subsequently it was descheduled. Gatehouse has not come across any account of this demolition or any action taken in consequence of this destruction or of any investigation of the ruins either before or after the destruction. Dodds's language is confusing; the site was a scheduled monument but never a listed building it is also clear what there was to stop the destruction of this monument was the obvious fact it was an important historical monument which was scheduled. However it does seem 'ignorance' of that obvious fact is an acceptable excuse in law.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

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