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Shilbottle Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Shilbottle Vicarage; Peel House; Turris de Schilbotal; Schilbotyll

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NU19550870
Latitude 55.37214° Longitude -1.69245°

Shilbottle Tower has been described as a certain Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Former Vicarage, with attached outbuildings. Tower probably C15, heightened 1863; main part of house, and outbuildings, C18 remodelling of possible medieval fabric, altered and extended 1863 by F.R. Wilson, for Rev. J.B. Roberts; altered c.1970. large squared stone; outbuilding rubble; rear wing snecked stone; cut dressings. Welsh slate roofs except for low-pitched lead roof to tower.
South elevation in 3 sections. At right end is 3-storey tower. Rough plinth; wall battered up to 2nd floor level. Enlarged chamfered loop on ground floor; C19 first-floor window of 2 pointed lights; traces of blocked window to left. Chamfered set-back above marks top of medieval masonry. 2nd-floor window of 2 trefoil-headed lights; embattled parapet. Taller corbelled-out turret at left corner. Adjoining 2-storey 3-bay part has shallow porch on right with boarded door under chamfered pointed arch; pent slab roof with small centre gable with monogram on shield and cross finial. Plain sash windows, the central set in former chamfered doorway; stone with JBR monogram above left ground-floor window. Left single-storey section in 2 parts; 2-bay right part reduced to 1 storey c.1970, shows 4-pane sash and small boarded window; 2-bay left outbuilding has boarded double doors under timber lintel, with narrower but similar door to left under raking loft dormer; coped left end gable; small stepped stack on ridge.
Right return, to churchyard: Left tower with 1st-floor window of 2 trefoil- headed lights above panel with Latin inscription referring to Rev. Roberts and F.R. Wilson, and rhyme (from Melrose Abbey): Earth builds on the earth Castles and Towers To earth saith the earth All shall be ours. Square-headed window on 2nd floor 2-storey 1-bay rear wing on right has 3- light windows under dormer gable.
Rear elevation: Various casement windows in older openings. Gable end of rear wing, on left, has windows of 2 trefoil-headed lights.
Interior: Basement of tower has chamfered 4-centred doorway and slightly- pointed barrel vault; splayed loop on north now opens into wing. Wall lockers in end walls. Remains of newel stair or well shaft in cupboard at north-west corner of tower. 0.7-metre thick walls, with distinct batter, define former hall block, enlarged to rear in C18. Panelled doors and shutters with beaded mouldings. 1st-floor room in tower has C18 moulded stone fireplace with later wrought-iron and tiled grate, flanked by doorways with arched panels above; cornice. C19 stair with stick balusters, moulded ramped handrail and moulded newels. (Listed Building Report)

The tower of Schilbotyl occurs in the list of fortalices existing in 1415. It has for along time formed part of the vicarage - a portion of the md tower is incorporated in its SE angle. This fragment is only 21ft 9ins by 17 ft 4 ins on plan and is c.20 ft high. Consists of a vaulted chamber 15 ft 4 ins by 10 ft 2 ins entered on W by a four centred arch. The walls have a batter on all sides. The modern portions of the house so effectively enclose the tower that it is not possible to say whether it stood alone or formed part of a larger structure (Hodgson 1899).
The pele was restored in 1863 by the Rev Roberts and is part of Shilbottle Vicarage. The lower vault is used as a junk room and the upper as a bedroom. The modern part of the Vicarage has been built in a similar type of architecture to blend with the tower. The Pele is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Shilbottle Pele is composed of dressed stone and measures 6.8m long onthe E side by 5.4m on the S side and is approx 10.0m high and forms the SE corner of Shilbottle Vicarage - it is not part of a farm and buildings as stated. The E wall contains a trefoil arched window of 2 lights and a square headed window, the S wall contains two trefoil arched windows of 2 lights and also a square headed window. The modern parts of Shilbottle Vicarage abut the Pele on its W and N sides. In the SW corner is a newel stairway leading to the flat leaded roof which is embattled on all sides. An inscribed tablet has been set in on the exterior of the E wall and records a restoration of 1863 - it is only read with difficulty (F1 JO 17-FEB-54). (PastScape)

Said to be a scheduled monument in 1955. Is not now recorded as a scheduled monument (although it is protected as a listed building). Was the 1955 entry an error or has the site been descheduled?
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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