The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Haltwhistle Red Lion Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Centre of Britain Hotel

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY70776411
Latitude 54.97077° Longitude -2.45794°

Haltwhistle Red Lion Tower has been described as a certain Pele Tower.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Hotel. Probably mid C15 pele tower with early-mid C18 wing; entire street front refaced and refenestrated in late C18-early C19. Rubble (rendered and painted on front), plain-tiled roofs and stone chimney stacks. Rectangular- plan pele tower with wing on left. Slightly-projecting 3-storey pele tower: one-bay street front and 2 bay returns; low plinth; sashes and casements in architraves; loop at left (lighting mural stair) in later cable-moulded surround; incised band beneath top storey; projecting panelled flat-coped parapet on rendered corbels; pitched roof with blocked window; C18 corniced lateral stack at right. 3-storey, 2-bay wing: low plinth; 4-panel door at right in architrave with frieze and cornice; door under distyle Tuscan porch; 2-light windows in architraves with replaced sashes and casements (central mullion removed from ground-floor windows); 3 round plaques on top storey (fire-insurance mark on central plaque); panelled flat-coped parapet above string; pitched roof with rebuilt stone left end stack. 2 cylindrical tapering water-spouts on right return of pele-tower parapet. Exposed original corbels and parapet on rear of pele tower. Interior: pele tower has 2-flight mural stone stair in left return wall; stone fireplace on second floor with moulded 2-order segmental arch on corbels supporting massive lintel. Wing has 4-flight dogleg staircase with ramped handrail and st$ck balusters; 2 pairs of upper crucks halved and crossed at apex. Altered 2-storey wing on right of pele tower and C19 rear additions are not of special interest. Though altered, the pele tower is important as a rare urban survival. (Listed Building Report)

Interestingly, limited archaeological investigations have suggested that The Centre of Britain Hotel (formerly the Red Lion) on the northern side of Main Street opposite Market Place, a Tower House in origin with later additions and probably no earlier than 17th century in date, contains no evidence within or below it for any earlier structure on the site. Could this be evidence of infill within a more extensive open area extending to the north of Main Street?
The Centre of Britain Hotel (formerly the Red Lion Hotel) on the north side of Main Street incorporates at its core an unusually late, almost archaic tower house of some pretension; a very rare urban survival with corbelled-out parapet (restored along the frontage but original elsewhere) and a gabled cap-house. Archaeological monitoring of developments at the hotel in 1996-7 indicated that the tower was probably built as a free-standing structure in the early 17th century (fragments of clay pipes of this date were found stratified under areas of the foundations of the building which were removed for underpinning). The basement of the tower, which was provided with its own water supply, included a narrow stair set into the west wall to provide access to the first floor, the principal apartment of the tower and fitted out with fireplace and garderobe. The main access to this apartment, though, was a door in the north wall which, in the absence of stairs, must have been reached by ladder. The second floor, in the absence of any other obvious means, was, again, presumably accessed by ladder. It would have served as a solar or private chamber and contains an original fireplace. A substantial three-storey block attached to the south of the tower in the late 17th century was probably one half of a symmetrical arrangement, a similar block appended to the north, but this part was demolished, certainly by the late 18th century, before the present rear wings and outshot were added. (Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey)

Sometimes suggested as the Musgrove Tower recorded in 1415 and 1541 although this seems unlikely.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact