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Historic England Research Records

Dilston Castle

Hob Uid: 18446
Location :
Northumberland
Corbridge
Grid Ref : NY9756063280
Summary : Dilston Castle was a fortified tower house, probably built by Sir William Claxton in the early 15th century (post-1416). It was enlarged later in the 15th century, and again in the mid to late 16th century by the Radcliffes (later Earls of Derwentwater). It was further remodelled circa 1620 as part of Dilston Hall and was altered when the Hall was rebuilt in 1710-15. The tower house is constructed from squared stone with stone dressings. It is now in a ruinous state and is roofless. Some of its foundations were removed in 1881 and these may have been of the earlier medieval castle of the Divelstons. The site is best known for its connections with the popular 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, who was executed in 1716 for his part in the Jacobite rebellion. After the death of his son in 1731 the Derwentwater estates were seized by the Government and passed to the Greenwich Hospital Trustees, who in 1765 demolished the Hall except for the original tower house.
More information : [NY 97566328] Dilston Castle (G.T.] (Remains of) (1)

The tower of Dilston formed the nucleus of a later mansion, and is first mentioned in 1464. It is probably the work of Sir William Claxton who succeeded to Dilston in 1417.

Sir George Radcliffe (1545-1588) built a four-storeyed extension on the northern end of the tower. Other alterations also affected the tower and combined to give the whole building an Elizabethan character.

A typical Jacobean extension was made in 1622 by Sir Francis Radcliffe. Nothing of this building survives. He also enclosed the forecourt on the south side by an arched entrance gate, having a chapel [NY 96 SE 4] on its west side.

In 1710, the third Earl of Derwentwater pulled down the Elizabethen-Jacobean house and began a new mansion on its site. It was never completed.

After the Rebellion of 1715 the property passed to Greenwich Hospital. In 1765 the Earls mansion was demolished, the only remaining traces being two large square windows in the east wall of the tower. (2)

The tower of Dilston, although lacking documentary evidence must be attributed to the 15th. cent. (3)

Over the gateway, near the chapel is a stone inscribed "FR- 1616-IR", the initials of Sir Francis Radcliffe and his wife Isobel. [See Illustrations Card.] (4)

The only remains of Dilston Castle, are the 15th. cent. Keep, and the later north and south additions, which now constitute a single block. The building has been renovated, and although ruinous, the walls are well-preserved.

The Gateway at NY 97596326 is a plain arch; it carries the Radcliffe inscription as described (4). (5)

Condition unchanged. (6)

I Dilston Castle Tower-house of cream freestone, now a shell, walls up to 3 storeys high, with Elizabethan "cross" windows with labels, and fireplaces. Rectangular plan. Entrance tower has 4 storeys of 2-light windows, and round turret on corbels in angle. A.M. (7)

Dilston Castle. Grade I. Towerhouse, probably built by Sir William Claxton in early C15, enlarged later C15, and C16 by Radcliffes (later Earls of Derwentwater); remodelled c.1620 as part of Dilston Hall, altered when Hall was rebuilt 1710-15. Squared stone with dressings; roofless. L-plan. Foundations rmoved 1881 may have been of earlier medieval castle of Divelstons.
Listed. See an online version of the designated record for Dilston Castle on the National Heritage List for England. (8-9)

NY 976 633. Dilston Castle. Scheduled No ND/97.
Scheduled. See an online version of the designated record for Dilston Castle on the National Heritage List for England. (10-11)

Listed by Cathcart King and Dodds. (12-13)

This website of the Friends of Historic Dilston has a good description of the castle and its surroundings. It also has information on archaeological work carried out by the society and guided visits. (14)

This site includes a number of photographs of Dilston Castle. (15)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1920-46
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Source Number : 2
Source : A history of Northumberland, volume ten : the parish of Corbridge
Source details :
Page(s) : 286-96
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : vol.10
Source Number : 11
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2011. The National Heritage List for England, [Accessed 21-JUL-2011]
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Source Number : 12
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 331
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Source Number : 13
Source : Bastions and Belligerents: Medieval Strongholds in Northumberland
Source details :
Page(s) : 457-60
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Source Number : 14
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Friends of Historic Dilston.2011. [Accessed 21-JUL-2011]
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Source Number : 15
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : North of the Tyne. 2011. Dilston Castle, [Accessed 21-JUL-2011]
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Source Number : 3
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : CJ Bates
Page(s) : 22
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1891
Source Number : 4
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
Source details :
Page(s) : 47
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2ND SERIES, 8, 1897
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JLD 16.05.56
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 RL 11.01.56
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Hexham Rural District, AUG-1968 25
Page(s) : 25
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Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Tynedale, 24-MAY-1988
Page(s) : 73
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1926
Source Number : 9
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2011. The National Heritage List for England, [Accessed 21-JUL-2011]
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Source Number : 10
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details : Northumberland
Page(s) : 35
Figs. :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built early C15, post-1416
Monument End Date : 1432
Monument Start Date : 1416
Monument Type : Tower House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Enlarged later C15
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1433
Monument Type : Tower House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Remodelled c1620
Monument End Date : 1630
Monument Start Date : 1610
Monument Type : Tower House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered 1710-15
Monument End Date : 1715
Monument Start Date : 1710
Monument Type : Tower House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 87327
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 97
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 239890
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1006590
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1044775
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 96 SE 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 96 SE 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1956-05-16
End Date : 1956-05-16
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 96 SE 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-01-11
End Date : 1966-01-11
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, DILSTON CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, DILSTON CASTLE, DILSTON HALL
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT DILSTON COLLEGE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31