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Shawdon Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Shawden Castle

In the civil parish of Hedgeley.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NU09261432
Latitude 55.42256° Longitude -1.85510°

Shawdon Hall has been described as a certain Tower House.

There are no visible remains.

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

Description

The tower at Shawdon is mentioned in 1403, but in a list of 1460 (Hodgson) (Bates and M.H. Dodds give this date as 1415) it is referred to as a 'Castrum". A survey of 1542 refers to it as a tower in good repair (Dodds 1935).
Shawdon now stands on the level ground above the right (SW) bank of the Shawdon Burn dene. Here once no doubt stood the "mediaeval town" with the owners's little tower. Of all this no trace now remains except some fragments of carved stonework preserved in the rockeries in the grounds. In 1799 William Hargrave made a clean sweep of the area, building the present hall (NU 09261432) and laying out the extensive grounds.
There are no traces of the tower or mediaeval village to be seen in the vicinity of Shawdon Hall. The present building stands on a
slight rise, commanding a good view, and was possibly erected on the site of the tower. The fragments of stonework referred to are situated at NU 09341427. They include a corbel carved with a face; fragment of octagonal pillar; a stone, possibly a pediment of a gateway with a face carved on one side and a weathered plaque on the other, and a shallow octagonal trough - possibly from a fountain (?F1 EG 14-FEB-1955).
Country house, built in 1799, probably on the site of a deserted medieval settlement. A pele tower or bastle at Shawdon was recorded in a survey of 1403. No trace of the settlement or the tower survives. The house was altered in 1970. Listed Grade 2star (Listed Building Report).
A tower was built at Shawdon in the 14th century but was demolished in 1779 to make way for the present Shawdon Hall (King 1983; Dodds 1999). (PastScape)

A number of the 'castles' recorded in the 1415 list are later altered to 'fortalices' in the margin, suggesting they were more modest strong houses but Shawdon is not one of these (other 'castles' in that part of the list, which may have been roughly ordered by building size, include Bothal and Haughton. There are no remains and the actual form of the C15 castrum is unclear. The lack of remains might suggest something reasonably modest but the C18 Shawdon Hall was an expensive building project capably of demolishing a considerable building entirely. Given the 1415 description, and the fact the building was still in good repair 120 years later, this was presumably a tower house of some size.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path   NLS maps  
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   EarthTools   GeoHack  
Air Photos > 
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Photos >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 148-9
      Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 95
      Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 108
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 353
      Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 314
      Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 155
      Dodds, Madeleine Hope (ed), 1935, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 14 p. 554-9
      Tomlinson, W.W., 1897, Comprehensive Guide to Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 399
      Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 12, 15, 42 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
      Hodgson, J., 1828, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 2 p. 210 online copy
      Hodgson, J., 1820, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 1 p. 27 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • King, Andy, 2007, 'Fortress and fashion statements: gentry castles in fourteenth-century Northumberland' Journal of Medieval History Vol. 33 p. 376
      1963, Medieval Village Research Group annual report Vol 11 Appendix C No 126
      Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 12, 15, 42 online copy
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
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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.
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*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 on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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