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Titlington Castle

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NU09871509
Latitude 55.42958° Longitude -1.84557°

Titlington Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.


The site of Titlington Hall is a nearly level piece of ground on a saddle between Titlington and Jennys Lantern Hill. Here there seems to have stood a small motte and bailey a short distance S of the present mansion with the front lawn on the site of the bailey. At some date in the middle ages the motte was lowered and a pele tower erected; its enclosure extended North eastwards c 75 yards where the traditional site of the gateway is marked by a small mound and hawthorn tree. In 1745 Roger Pearson either cleared away or altered the pele and built a house whose surviving trace is the date 1745 cut at the W corner of the (present) building (Dodds 1940).
NU 09871509. A little to the south of Titlington Hall is a tree-planted mound 15.0m in diameter and 1.2m high. This appears to be the remains of the 'motte' and site of the tower. There are no visible traces of the bailey or of the mound and hawthorn tree making the traditional site of the gateway. The ground in the vicinity of the mound is uneven but there are no definite traces of building steadings.
There are no traces of antiquity in any of the existing buildings.
The date stone is as in Dodds and just above it is another stating that the building was rebuilt in 1824. (F1 EG 14-FEB-58 )
The mound does not look as if it were ever a motte. It would, however, support a tower, and it seems likely that the whole was never more that a pele and barmkin (F2 RE 14-APR-70).
Site of motte and bailey built by Walter Espec in the late 12th or early 13th century. At some time before 1415 a small tower was built on the site of the motte. The tower was described as fortified and decayed in 1553. The site of the tower was cleared in 1745, that in turn being replaced by the present country house in 1821 (Dodds 1999; King 1983). (PastScape)

Documents written in 1541 mention a ruined tower at Titlington. There is no sign of a medieval motte and bailey at Titlington Hall today, although a mound in the garden is traditionally thought to have been the site of the motte. It is more certain that a pele tower stood on the site. The pele tower was either completely demolished or incorporated into a new house in 1745. In 1824, the 1745 building was demolished and replaced. (Keys to the Past)

Mounds in the gardens of large country houses can, indeed, be mottes but thay can also be a number of other things (prospect mounds; tree mounts). If the later recorded tower (separately recorded) was built, on the motte summit, and the motte may have been truncated when this tower was demolished and further landscaping may have removed all obvious signs of earlier earthworks. However Gatehouse is unconvinced that this was the site of a motte. In this area one would expect a motte castle of Norman date to be the work of a baron. Walter Espec seems to have acquired the land, possible in dower, from Gospatric fairly early in the C12 but soon handed it over to Kirkham priory and this leaves a question as to the reason he would expend the effort on building even a small motte if he was then to give the land away. On the other hand granting unwanted small castles to monastic houses was something that did happen at some places in the C12, perhaps, in part, to alleviate local jealousies.
If there was a small timber castle at Titlington the long period of monastic holding means the later tower can not be seen as a continuation of that castle.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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