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South Charlton Chapel Tower

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NU16492031
Latitude 55.47569° Longitude -1.74094°

South Charlton Chapel Tower has been described as a probable Fortified Ecclesiastical site, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are no visible remains.


A chapel existed at South Charlton in the middle of the 13th Cent. It had probably been built by the Lucker family. Land attached to it is mentioned in 1273. Not long after 1343 divine service was entirely suspended, possibly as a result of war, and it was probably allowed to fall into ruin. In 1450 the Earl of Northumberland built a tower at the end of the chapel for the protection of the villagers.
In the 16th and 17th centuries the chapel again lapsed into a semi-ruinous condition being destitute of any regular incumbent. There is evidence that it was still in use up to the middle of the 18th century.
It stood at the east end of the village, where a parcel of land is still called 'Kirk Croft'. In 1823 the steps leading up to the chapel yard gate still remained, but in 1829 the wall round the yard was taken down and the yard itself was included in the 'Half Acres' (Hadcock 1939; Bateson 1895).
Remains of the Chapel were extant in 1865, but nothing of it now survives (F1 EG 22-MAR-55). (PastScape)

In 1450 these depredations had become so frequent and serious that the earl of Northumberland built a tower at the end of South Charlton chapel, especiallv designed for the protection of the villagers in time of war. Ad edificationem unius nove turris defensabilis ad finem capelle ibidem, pro salva custodia dicte ville tempore guerre, Ixvi s. viij d.' Account of William Cokke, receiver of the earl of Northumberland, Mich. 28 Hen. VI.-Mich. 29 Hen. VI. Duke of Northumberland's MSS.; cf. Bates, Border Holds, p. 21 (Bateson 1895)

Quite how a small tower provided a refuge for several dozen villagers may be open to some question and the account actually states for the protection of the township which may possibly mean the documents and revenues of the township (medieval churches not uncommonly functioned as 'banks' in the sense of places to store money and important documents).
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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