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Whittingham Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Whyttyngane; Wittynggam; Whittingame; Wytingam

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NU06921188
Latitude 55.40086° Longitude -1.89227°

Whittingham 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*.


Towerhouse, which became ruinous and was converted into almshouses. Late C13 or early C14,, remodelled 1845 by Countess Ravensworth; cottage C18 or early C19.
Squared medieval masonry below, apparently of 2 periods with more massive earlier work in the lower courses and possibly C16 masonry above. Ashlar in C19 sections.
On south, west and north sides medieval masonry reaches to 2nd floor sill level, on east side to 1st floor window only.
3 storeys. Square.
Ground floor doorway on south side has medieval jambs and C17 round-headed top with continuous chamfer.
On east side, 4 steps with iron railings up to Tudor-headed door of 1845 with inscription over. By the munificense of Piety of LADY RAVENSWORTH This ancient Tower which was formerly Used by the village as a place of refuge In time of rapine and insecurity Was repaired and otherwise embellished For the use and benefit of the deserving Poor. AD 1845
Windows, all of 1845, are 1- and 2-light diamond-paned casements in chamfered surrounds. '
C19 battlemented parapet, projecting on close-set rounded corbels. Higher turret in north-east corner.
Interior has walls 8% ft, thick. Tunnel-vaulted ground floor.
Attached, altered cottage with stone-slate roof on west side. Birthplace, in 1745, of Henry Ogle, inventor of the threshing machine. (Listed Building Report)

It is doubtful whether any part of the existing tower was standing in 1317, when the "pila" of Whittingham was held by Robert Purvays. More probably the present building is that referred to in a list of 1460 (Hodgson 1820) (some authorities give this date as 1415) as belonging to William Heron, but was uninhabited, while in 1541 it belonged to Robert Collingwood and was in good repair (Hodgson 1828).
After the Union of the Crowns the tower had its flat roof and crenellated parapet replaced by twin roofs and a pair of gables and so remained until 1845 when Lady Ravensworth had it converted into almshouses, completely altering its appearance so that the only original external feature visible is the entrance door on the south side. The tower measures externally 42 feet E-W and 36 feet N-S, and a present height of 40 feet. The ground floor is vaulted, measuring internally 25 feet x 19 feet. There are traces of a mural stair in the east wall, a passage to the stair having led from the vestibule inside the front entrance (Dodds 1935).
The walling of the lower 2 floors is original, but the upper floor and all architectural features except the south door are modern There is a plinth course visible on the north and east wall. In good condition; the building is still in use as an almshouse (F1 EG 03-FEB-54). (PastScape)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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