The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Callaly Old Hag

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NU05221045
Latitude 55.38794° Longitude -1.91906°

Callaly Old Hag has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthwork of a probable Iron Age stock enclosure, at one time considered to be a medieval castle site. (Jackson 1992).

"...there are traces of another camp in a field 650 yds north of the mansion (Callaly Castle) called Old Hag. It was on the north side the brook, was small, its interior not more, possibly, than about 30 yds, and circular in shape; it is however nearly destroyed. There was a larger part distinctly visible projecting towards the West, and leading to a supposition that it was a temporary place of strength before the building of the ancient part of the present mansion." (MacLauchlan 1864).
The earthwork is situated in near-level pastureland, a little above the 300 ft contour, the land to the E falling away towards a small stream. Having higher ground immediately to the W. this is not a favourable defensive position.
The work consists of a platform, roughly oval in shape with slight traces of an inner bank on the E. side. Gaps in the scarped slopes to the E. and W. are possible entrances. To the S., at a distance of about 25m, and concentrically placed is an outer work consisting of a fragment of ditch and a counter-scarp bank. The distance between the two features suggests that the space was used for stock enclosing rather than for defence. The outer bank has an entrance to the S., and opposite it, in the inner bank, the slope is slightly lowered, possibly indicating another entrance to the interior. The inner earthwork is badly mutilated to the N by old tree planting, and its interior surface is much disturbed. No traces of interior occupation are recognisable. There is no evidence to indicate the purpose of the earthwork or its date (F1 DAD 03-APR-57).
The work is much reduced, but its construction and general appearance are in the local IA tradition. Certainly it is not a medieval strong point as implied by Maclauchan (F2 DS 19-FEB-70). (PastScape).

The monument includes an enclosure of Iron Age date, situated on a near level site adjacent to the Callaly Burn; the ground falls away to the burn on the south side. The enclosure has an oval central platform measuring 60m by 40m surrounded by scarped banks 1.2m high and 5m wide. A gap in the east is an original entrance 10m wide. There are also slight traces of an inner bank on the east. Concentric to the platform and at a distance of 25m to the south, there is an outer work. This is formed by a ditch 10m wide and 2m deep. In front of the ditch there is a counter-scarp bank 5m wide and 0.1m high, which merges with the natural slopes of the ground. Outside of the ditch there is an external bank, 5m wide and 0.5m high. (Scheduling Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:10

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact