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Kilham Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NT88553258
Latitude 55.58667° Longitude -2.18302°

Kilham Tower has been described as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a certain Bastle.

There are no visible remains.


NT 88553258 The ruins of a peel tower at Kilham were taken down c.1915, but the foundations remain. It was situated NW of the camp and about 50 yds N. of the stream (MacLauchlan 1919).
Recommended to be built after a survey of 1541 and probably completed by 1584 (Vickers 1922).
There are no visible remains of the tower, and its site could not be established (F1 RWE 14-DEC-66).
Listed by King and Dodds. King suggests a site at NT914302 (sic). However this would place it in Kirknewton (Dodds 1999; King 1983). (PastScape)

It appears that, in accordance with the views of the Commissioners of 1541, a strong house was built at Kilham. This has been unfortunately recently destroyed, but it is said to have closely resembled, on a smaller scale, the bastle-house at Doddington, one of the most charming remains of Border architecture, only finished, as an inscription on it informs us, in 1584. (Bates 1891)

Towards the end of the 19th century, Bates (1891, 53-4) reported that a 'strong house' had recently been destroyed at Kilham. Bates' comments imply that he himself had not seen the structure, but it was reported to closely resemble, on a smaller scale, the bastle house at Doddington. This probably represents the same structure which the surveyor Henry MacLauchlan refers to as 'a Pele tower'. The ruins of this structure had been taken down a few years before MacLauchlan wrote, although the foundation stones still remained at that stage (MacLauchlan 1867, 35). His description suggests the building stood on the towards the north end of the village.
Thus the stronghouse at Kilham could have been built late in the 16th century, or even in the early 17th century, rather than the years following the 1541 survey, as might have been assumed. The example at Doddington, which the Kilham stronghouse was said to resemble, is shown by a datestone to have been built as late as 1584. The Kilham stronghouse could quite conceivably be roughly contemporary and form part of a continual process of residential fortification along the border, rather than a specific response to an official directive. (Northumberland National Park)

The tower is said by MacLauchlan to have been 'taken down a few years since' in his text of 1867 - this statement was repeated in 1919 hence the incorrect date of dismantling of the tower given in PastScape. This means the site was dismantled circa 1850 before the OS mapping of the area.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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