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North Sunderland Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NU21163147
Latitude 55.57640° Longitude -1.66575°

North Sunderland 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.


Tower in North Sunderland demolished in 1790, when the present church and vicarage were built. When it was demolished several C16 & C17 coins were found. There are no visible remains to be seen here now. (Keys to the Past)

An ancient tower which once existed at North Sunderland, was demolished about the year 1790, when the present church and vicarage were built. It was square, and of solid masonry; the walls being about five feet in thickness. It consisted of two storeys, the lower of which was perfect, having an arched roof of stone, with a large doorway to the north, and communicating with the upper storey by a hanging stair in the south-west angle of the building. Of this upper storey portions of the walls were standing, but it was roofless, with an accumulation of debris on the floor which was over-grown with grass and weeds. The tower appears to have been about 24 feet square. A hammered cannon ball was found by the sexton when digging a grave within twenty yards of the site of the tower. Whilst the tower was in course of demolition several score of coins from the reign of Elizabeth to that of Anne were discovered. No trace of this ancient building now remains, and the recollection of its existence is fast passing away. (Bateson 1893)

The site of the Pele tower, however, we were fortunate enough to to have pointed out to us, on good authority. It stood 20 yards north-west of the north west angle of the church, and was about 35 feet square. It was destroyed in 1831, when the church and parsonage was built. (MacLauchlan 1867)

It should be noted this was a two storey building, although it is called a tower in the reports. The finds found in association with the building seem to suggest a C16 date. The description given is that to be of a vaulted pele-house bastle rather than a pele tower. The demolition date appears to be 1831-2 not 1790. The church was a new foundation of 1833 so this was not a earlier rectory and it was not a 'vicar's pele' nor is there any real suggestion of a gentry status inhabitant of North Sunderland in the middle ages.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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