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Hartburn Old Vicarage

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ08928609
Latitude 55.16913° Longitude -1.86143°

Hartburn Old Vicarage has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Former vicarage, now 2 houses. North wing medieval, main block probably C16, south-east wing mid-C18; remodelled early C19. North wing coursed rubble, main block heavy rubble heightened in coursed rubble, south-east wing squared tooled stone; slate roofs.
West front: main block 3 storeys, 6 irregular bays. C20 glazed door in former window opening with altered sash to left and 2 12-pane sashes to right; 1st floor C20 small-paned casements in old openings, and blocked opening to left; all openings in C18 chamfered stone surrounds. 2nd floor small 12-pane Yorkshire sash beneath eaves, 2 similar windows to right and one to left now blocked. Stepped and corniced ashlar end and ridge stacks. To left, projecting end of 2-storey north wing; blocked arch with shouldered segmental head and drawbar tunnel, small chamfered window to right possibly reset, low clasping buttresses at left angle. Coped reverse-stepped gable to right, roof hip-ended to left. South front: gable end of main block shows early Cl9 sashes in older openings. South-east wing 2 storeys, 3 bays, band at 1st floor level. Altered door with tall 6-pane overlight in 1st bay; 12-pane sash windows. Stepped and corniced ashlar end stacks, that to right with circular stone pot. North front: various sash windows; medieval chamfered plinth which continues on left return. Rear elevation; south-east wing has projecting multi-stepped stack carrying chimney with circular stone pot.
Interior; main block, early C18 fireplace in moulded stone surround, panelled shutters and 6-panel doors. North wing, west part ('the tower') has stone barrel vault and old doorway with chamfered jambs, column-on-vase stairhead balustrade.
The north wing is probably a C13 or C14 undefended hall house; the 2 opposed doors indicate a passage through the solar undercroft, c.f. Burneside Hall and Lammerside Castle (Westmorland). The thick (0.95m) walls and massive rubble of the main block suggest a C16 date. (Listed Building Report)

The oldest part of the vicarage is the Pele Tower, with heavy masonry, chamfered pediment and vaulted ceiling (Donnelly 1967).
Connected to the NW angle of the vicarage, but now a separate dwelling, is a much-modernised building, with walls up to 1.0m thick and a barrel-vaulted ceiling to the ground floor. Probably the remains of a pele (F1 DS 02-OCT-68).
Medieval structure connected to the north western corner of the former vicarage. The main block is thought to be 16th century in date while the south east wing was added in the mid 18th century. The building was remodelled in the early 19th century and considerably altered during the 20th century. The earliest wing may have been a pele tower or a hall house of 13th or 14th century date. Stone-built with slate roofs. Now two dwellings (Listed Building Report 1986).
A pele was originally built as a free-standing building in the early years of the 12th century, and the church later extended to join it. The tithe corn was stored in the vaulted ground floor, monks from Tynemouth Priory occupying the upper floor. Between 1250 and 1312 the Templars held the manor and church, significantly altered the church, and built a new vicarage with pele to the North-West. The vicarage was extended in the reigns of Edward VI and George II, and is now a mansion (Dodds1999). (PastScape)

The former vicarage of Hartburn, now divided into two separate houses, stands on the east side of the village street, to the north-west of the church.
Historical Notes
A terrier of 1662 (Hodgson 1827, 298, footnote) describes the vicarage as 'a mansion house slated, consisting of a kitchen, hall, parlour, and a cellar upon the ground, of three chambers over them, and a bakehouse and calf-house on the north side of the mansion house....also belonging to the vicarage, a bam and a byre thatched, joined together, lying about twenty yards south-west from the said house. '
Hodgson (ibid. 300-301) goes on to state that the house had 'two spacious and elegant rooms, which front the south, added by Dr Sharpe' (incumbent 1748-1792). The vicarage was the home of Hodgson himself from 1834 until his death in 1845.
The Old Vicarage consists of a five-bay three-storey north-south block with walls 0.90 m thick. These are constructed of heavy rubble, except for the top floor, apparently an addition, which is of coursed rubble. The three-bay two-storey south-east wing of c. 1760 is of squared tooled stone. At the north end is Vicarage Cottage which forms in plan a two-storeyed cross wing to the main block. This has a north elevation of three irregular bays, and is a jigsaw puzzle of different fabric types.
Vicarage Cottage is a very complex structure, and has only been inspected very briefly. It appears to be the earliest part of the building, and is sometimes referred to as part of a tower. Its western part has a north-south barrel vault to the basement. This section has a chamfered plinth and a pair of small pilaster buttresses at the north-west comer; there are remains of two further buttresses on the west, with a blocked door between them. This doorway has a rather strange shouldered segmental head, and remains of drawbar tunnels in its jambs. It is unusually wide (c 1.3 m) for an external doorway to a defensible hosue and appears, despite its antiquity, to be secondary as it cuts into the buttresses on either side. Beyond the buttresses are square-headed windows with chamfered surrounds, the northern blocked. The southern has a re-cut sill, and sockets for no fewer than five bars in its lintel.
The south wall of this range (the section projecting west beyond the main block of the Old Vicarage) has a blocked doorway of 18th-century type, and a straight joint that might indicate that the medieval west wall continued further south.
The north wall of the Cottage has been much altered; its western half (ie the part with the basement vault) is slightly taller than the eastern; quoins in the wall appear to imply that this section was two-storeyed at a time when the remainder was lower. The eastern half of the Cottage is on a markedly different alignment to the western, but the chamfered plinth is continuous(although the walling above seems largely rebuilt) and there are remains of another early buttress at the east end of the wall. This buttress, and the east wall of the Cottage, have a two-part plinth, the upper member steeply chamfered, and the lower with a narrower chamfer. The upper member is broken by another pilaster buttress on the east wall, refashioned so as to form one jamb of a gateway into the yard behind the Old Vicarage. The wall above certainly contains some old fabric; near its centre is a blocked ground-floor loop, its surround formed by four slabs, in the manner of many bastle slit vents.
Internally, the vaulted kitchen at the west end of the Cottage has a doorway in its east wall, apparently opposite that on the west; this too is quite wide, and seems to have had its head cut to an unusual round- cornered form.
The main block of the Old Vicarage has been remodelled in the 18th and 19th centuries, and only indistinct traces remain of older openings, except for remains of a chamfered (mullioned?) window near the north end of the west wall at ground-floor level, and a similar window near the south end of the east wall on the first floor, above the roof of an 18th- century oulshut A pair of opposed ground-floor doorways are indicated by doorjambs visible beneath the sill of the second window from the south in the west wall, and a deep recess, now a cupboard, in a corresponding position in the east wall. A splayed recess near the east end ofthe south wall, also now a cupboard, probably indicates an earlier opening.
The south-east wing is the 18th-century extension built by Dr Sharpe, remodelled internally by John Dobson in the mid-19th century.
This is an important structure; Vicarage Cottage is probably one of the earliest secular buildings (other than the great castles) in the county. In the light of the surviving documentary records, and the known historical significance of the building, detailed archaeological recording would be highly desirable.
At the moment it is difficult to give a proper reading of the complex structural history of the house. However, the pilaster buttresses and steep plinth of Vicarage Cottage look to be of 13th-centruy date. The vaulted undercroft with its opposed doorways may be the basement of a service wing with a through-passage hat gave access to a detached kitchen. This interpretation would make the eastern part of the Cottage, more heavily rebuilt, the original hall.
The main north-south block of the Old Vicarage is generally ascribed to the 16th century. This would tally with the character of its fabric, although its relationship in plan with the older Cottage, forming a cross-wing at its north end, is reminiscent of that of hall and cross-wing. The lack of heavy quoining at its south-west comer might imply that this has been rebuilt, possibly because there had been a cross-wing at this end as well.
With the possibility of a second cross-wing, and inded that of a detached kitchen west of Vicarage Cottage, the area of the present garden could be of archaeologial significance, and may merit a geophysical survey at some time. (Ryder 1994-5)

This was certainly a defensible house but its original form is unclear. It social status, as a clerical residence, and the relatively small size puts this in the 'pele tower' group although it may not have been three storeys.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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