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Morpeth Town Belfry

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Clock Tower

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ19768595
Latitude 55.16748° Longitude -1.69119°

Morpeth Town Belfry has been described as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such.

There are major building remains.

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


Long writes “The Belfry is in Oldgate and is C15 with later additions. This tower may well have been used for a refuge as well as a signal or warning tower.” Presumably this refers to the Clock Tower recorded in the SMR as 'This five-storey tower stands in Oldgate in the centre of Morpeth. It has thick walls and is built from squared and coursed sandstone blocks. The earliest reference to the building comes from 1659, and in 1802 it was used as the town lock-up. A map of 1826 shows the tower with an enclosure on the east. It was probably built from stone and masonry taken from the ruins of either Newminster Abbey or a gateway, which stood at the west end of Oldgate.' and in PastScape as 'Probable early C17 belfry and clock tower surviving as a roofed building. Incorporates earlier masonry.'

It has been suggested that the Clock Tower in the middle of Oldgate is of 15th century date with later additions, and that the tower may have been used for a refuge as well as a signal or warning tower (Long 1967, 136). However, such isolated belfry towers are rare in England and since it is not shown on the 1604 map, it probably dates from the early 17th century, reusing earlier masonry from elsewhere (possibly Newminster) including a 14th century cusp-headed window. The top floor was added in 1704, and an inscription records repairs of 1760 (Pevsner 1992, 397). An assessment of the tower and its history (Event No: 39) was prepared by Ryder in 2000. (Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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