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Ponteland Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Erringtons Tower; Blackbird Inn; Castle of Aymer de Athol

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ16537298
Latitude 55.05110° Longitude -1.74271°

Ponteland Castle has been described as a certain Pele Tower.

There are uncertain remains.

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


Formerly a manor house, now an inn. Medieval tower, altered and house added mid C17 for Mark Errington. Restored early C20. Tower large random rubble with stone slate roof. Attached house roughly-dressed stone and Welsh slate roof. Old brick chimneys.
Tower, on left, has large projecting chimney to left with stone base rising to 2 tall brick shafts. To right a projecting 3-storey gabled frontispiece, blank on ground floor and oversailing above on 2 large rounded corbels. Two 2-light double-chamfered mullioned windows above, with strings rising to form hoodmoulds. Gabled roof with kneelers
Between these projections a C20 door and, on 1st floor a 2-light window with hoodmould and panel above inscribed M:E: for Mark Errington.
3-bay attached house to right has central gabled porch with round-headed door in architrave. Stone slate roof. M.E. inscribed on lintel of original Tudor- arched doorway within. Flanking canted bay windows and 2-light windows above have double-chamfered surrounds. This detail is now all C19.
On left return 4-light mullioned windows with hoodmoulds on ground and first floors. 2-light window above.
Interior of tower has tunnel-vaulted ground floor and a large C17 fireplace; the lintel carved with crenellations. (Listed Building Report)

The ruins of a tower stand as part of the Blackbird Inn at Ponteland. The earls of Athol lived in the tower in C14. The Scots raided it in 1388, and was rebuilt in C17. It fell into ruins and was roofless until 1935 when it was restored and built into the inn. On the east side of the basement is an impressive fireplace of about 1600. (Keys to the Past)

Ponteland's tower was occupied in 1325, and burnt in 1388. It was bought and restored in 1580. A Jacobean manor house was built, incorporating the tower, about a century later, and lived in until 1788. It is not known when it became a public house, nor why it is called the Blackbird (Dodds 1999).
Also known as Errington Pele (King 1983).
The ruins of a Pele Tower stand in the garden of the Blackbird Inn at Ponteland. The earls of Athol lived in the tower in the 14th c.
The Scots successfully raided it is 1388. It was rebuilt by Mark Erington at beginning of 17th c. (Hadcock 1939; Dodds 1926).
The renovated remains of the tower are now incorporated in the public house situated at its southern extremity. It consists of a rectangualr building of two storeys 11.4m N-S and 6.6m E-W, with typical 17th c features. See photograph. No evidence that this was ever called "Ponteland Castle" (except on O.S. maps) can be found (16-Mar-1954). (PastScape)

This was a fairly small chamber block tower, probably attached to other buildings. Although this was a baronial status building the earls of Athol's power base was in Perthshire and this must have been a peripheral house of their holdings usually inhabited by a steward. In its later history it was certainly a gentry status building.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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