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Historic England Research Records

Bywell Castle

Hob Uid: 20623
Location :
Northumberland
Bywell
Grid Ref : NZ0494061780
Summary : The gatehouse, curtain wall, barmkin and tower of an early 15th century castle, apparently uncompleted. The curtain wall and tower are incorporated into a 19th century house, the gatehouse is free standing. Construction on the castle began shortly after 1426, but the earliest reference to the castle is in 1464, when Henry VI fled there after the battle of Hexham. A survey of 1570 refers to the gate-tower, and to foundations as being never finished. A survey of 1608 refers to the castle as being in decay. Scheduled.
More information : [NZ 04946178] Bywell Castle [LB] (remains of) [TI]. (1)

This consists of a gatehouse, measuring 59ft by 38ft, of three
stories, with walls almost intact, and considerable portion of the
curtain wall between the tower and the modern house. The gate tower was no doubt built by RALPH NEVILL, who succeeded as 2nd Earl of Westmorland in 1426. (2)

Scheduled Ancient Monument. (3)

The earliest reference to the castle is in 1464, when Henry VI fled there after the Battle of Hexham. A survey of 1570 refers to the
gate-tower, and to foundations 'the height of a man' as being never finished. A survey of 1608 refers to the castle as being in decay. (4)

Castle or Tower at Bywell (gate-house for castle which was never completed). (5)

Gate-tower as described by Hodgson (2) in good condition, with a stretch of curtain wall extending from the E side, and now utilised for the S face of the west wing of the modern house, the basement of which is contemporary with the tower, and is vaulted. There are no traces of the former extent of the site to the north; the ground now laid out as private gardens.

The Castle stands above a double bend in the River Tyne, upon a gentle south slope, from which position, from the top of the tower, a considerable stretch of the Tyne valley may be surveyed to east
and west. (6)

Condition unchanged. (7)

Bywell Castle. 15th century tower house built from Roman stones. Consists of square gatehouse/keep structure of 3 storeys with castellations and corner turrets. Depressed arch to vaulted gateway Garderobe. Later house which now adjoins. (8)

Castle gatehouse, early C15 for Ralph Neville, second Earl of
Westmorland. 2nd floor and roof missing. Henry VI sheltered here on his flight after the battle of Hexham Levels in 1464, abandoning his sword, helmet and crown which were found by the victorious Lord Montagu who captured the castle soon afterwards. Apart from the tower house/gatehouse (cf. Dunstanburgh, Bothal, Willimoteswick) the castle appears never to have been completed. See List for full account.

Remains of castle curtain wall and tower incorporated in Bywell
Castle House. Grade II. Curtain wall and tower, early C15,
incorporated in C19 house remodelled 1912 and later. Squared stone. South wall of the house links to left with gatehouse (q.v.). Medieval masonry continues as far as C20 doorway on right return, with circular gun loop above plinth. Interior not seen; basement vault of gun house said to survive. (9)

NZ 049 618. Bywell Castle gate tower. Scheduled No ND/91. (10)

Listed by Cathcart King. (11)

History of the castle. (12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1962
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Northumberland County History
Source details :
Page(s) : 75-8
Figs. : 84
Plates :
Vol(s) : Jun-02
Source Number : 11
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) : 329
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Feb-83
Source Number : 12
Source : Bastions and Belligerents: Medieval Strongholds in Northumberland
Source details :
Page(s) : 453-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
Source details : (H L Honeyman)
Page(s) : 192
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Sep-42
Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (C J Bates)
Page(s) : 372-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14 - 1891
Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (R N Hadcock)
Page(s) : 163
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 16 - 1939
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 14-MAY-56
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 RWE 22-FEB-66
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : MHLG (Prov List) Hexham RD Northum Aug 1968 15
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE Listed Buildings Dist of Tynedale, Northumbs 24-May-1988 43-44
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details :
Page(s) : 33
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C15
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : Castle, Gatehouse, Barmkin, Tower
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : in decay 1608
Monument End Date : 1608
Monument Start Date : 1608
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : C19
Monument End Date : 1900
Monument Start Date : 1801
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : remodelled 1912
Monument End Date : 1912
Monument Start Date : 1912
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 91
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 06 SW 9
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 06 SW 9
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1956-05-14
End Date : 1956-05-14
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 06 SW 9
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-02-22
End Date : 1966-02-22