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Dalden Tower

Hob Uid: 27185
Location :
County Durham
Seaham
Grid Ref : NZ4202048740
Summary : Remains of a medieval fortified house and related earthworks located in a valley beside the Dalto le Dale to Seaham Harbour road 200 metres south west of The Dene. The manorial complex is partially enclosed by a ditch and bank, possibly the remains of a moat. A ruined rectangular 16th century tower stands at the centre of the site attached to the southern end of the hall range. The remains of a Jacobean hall are attached to the eastern side of the tower. A wall running from the south east corner of the tower is probably 17th to early 18th century in date. Excavations conducted in 1965-6 and 1985-9 established pre-16th century remains including a 14th century buffet.
More information : NZ 4202 4874 Dalden Tower (NR) (remains of) (NAT)
NZ 4196 4870 Moat (NR) (1)

The family of Escolland held Dalden Tower, a small border fortress, soon after the conquest and appear to have assumed the tower name. (2)

The border fortress, Dalden Tower, was probably not only a pele but part of a series of buildings forming a stronghold. Only part of the tower, which was at least 2 storeys high, some foundations on the east side and portions of a manor house now remain and there is now no evidence of a moat or other outer fortification. On the east side of the tower are the foundations of buildings or an encircling wall extending 60 to 70 feet. A portion of the nearby manor house was probably erected after 1603 and in it is a piscina of earlier date which together with a recess found in the tower probably came from the Chapel or oratory licensed to Sir Jordan de Dalden in the 14th century. (3)

The remains of this ivy covered tower which is in a poor position for a stronghold measure 15 metres by 9.8 metres and 8 metres to 10 metres high. The foundations to the east are non existent but 12 metres to the north north west of the north west corner of the tower are the remains of an unidentified building consisting of 2 walls 3 metres long, now below ground level. There is no trace of any moat; the portion described as moat on OS 6", although certainly a ditch, being in the wrong situation to be used as a means of defence. The manor house at NZ 4205 4872, mentioned by authority 2, measures 19.5 metres by 5 metres and is now occupied as a cottage. There is no trace of manorial type decorated by ogee arch with reticulated tracery in tympanum and 4 upper room. (4)

The remains show no dateable type of architecture and it is doubtful from its position whether the tower was ever used as a defensive stronghold. (5)

Dalden Tower excavated by the Sunderland Antiquary Society under J Moore in 1965. (Nothing else known). (6)

The remains of this tower are as described by Authority 3, and it has been cleared of vegetation. Its walls have been about 1.5 metres thick. There is no moat; the ditch at the top of slopes to the west is probably modern. There is now no trace of the manor house which has been completely demolished. See ground photographs. Published Survey (1:1250) Revised. (7)

Dalden Tower, Grade II*. Fragmentary remains of a medieval hall or tower house. 14th century or slightly earlier. Roughly dressed limestone and sandstone walls with rubble infill. Rectangular plan c.10 x 15 metres. North, east and west walls c.1.5 metres thick and up to 8 metres high; low south wall. North wall has irregular opening and remains of rebated jamb at ground level and a 1st floor corbel course. West wall has chimney recess and fragmentary jamb at south-west corner. East wall adjoins low south wall and has chimney recess and, to right at 1st floor level, a decorated rectangular niche probably of early 14th century date. Niche framed by attached colonnettes has roughly square panel architecture but a piscina is in the south east wall of a disused flanking carved representations of traceried windows. Lintel above has worn decorative feature crowning arch and 2 flanking shields. Rebates within niche suggest that it contained a wooden shelf and was probably a buffet for the display of plate or food. East wall continues to left and has a dressed stone jamb and the remains of a splayed opening at ground level. Excavations during 1965-6 revealed further considerable remains.

Dalden Tower is a scheduled Ancient Monument.

`Theodore Nicholson, Report of Excavations at Dalden Tower 1965-6, Antiquities of Sunderland Vol XXIV 1969' (8)

Report of the 1965/66 excavations. (9)

Report of the 1985/86 excavations. Dalden Tower was probably built in the latter half of the 16th century on the site of at least one earlier building. It was probably derelict in the late 17th century and underwent two phases of demolition in the 18th century. (10-11)

The site was surveyed by RCHME during a project on scheduled monuments in County Durham.

Dalden Tower was purchased by Easington District Council in 1985 and a range of rooms to the north of the tower was excavated by Dennis Coggins (11) 1985-9; archive at Bowes Museum; stonework consolidated by English Heritage. The ditch at the top of the bank to the west of the tower mentioned by authorities 3 and 6 is probably a quarry or pond; it is about 40 metres long and 13 metres wide with a maximum depth of 3 metres. The slight bank or dam on the east downhill side is about 4.5 metres wide and 1metre high. (12)

NZ 4200 4873: Remains of a Medieval fortified house known as Dalden Tower and related earthworks located in a valley beside the Dalto le Dale to Seaham Harbour road 200 metres south west of The Dene. The manorial complex is partially enclosed by a ditch and bank, possibly the remains of a moat. A ruined rectangular tower stands at the centre of the site attached to the southern end of the hall range. The remains of a Jacobean hall is attached to the eastern side of the tower. There is little evidence for the rest of the Jacobean house that once stood here. A wall running from the south east corner of the tower is probably 17th to early 18th century in date.

Excavations conducted in 1965-6 and 1985-9 established that the tower is of 16th century date but that elements of the eastern and northern walls predated this, including a 14th century buffet. The tower is scheduled. (13)

NZ 420487. Listed by Cathcart King. (14)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" map 1922
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Source Number : 2
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
Source details :
Page(s) : 55-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1899
Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Mark Bowden and Peter Topping/29-NOV-1991/RCHME: Durham SAMs Project
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Source Number : 13
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : EH scheduling amendment, 03-SEP-2001
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Source Number : 14
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 135
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Source : Dalden Tower/ink survey
Source details :
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JHOstridge/07-OCT-1954/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigator
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 FDC/11-OCT-1954/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigator
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Source Number : 5
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Mus 6" Sunderland Mus
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F3 ISSainsbury/10-APR-1980/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigator
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE(HHR) Dist of Easington, Durham, Feb 1985, 27.
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Nicholson, T. 1969. Antiquities of Sunderland (24)
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Source Number : 10
Source : Council for British Archaeology Group 3: Newsbulletin
Source details : CBA Group 3 News Bulletin 1986 11-13 (D Coggins)
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 11
Source : Council for British Archaeology Group 3: Newsbulletin
Source details : L J Gidney
Page(s) : 31-4
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 7, 1987

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C14
Monument End Date : 1399
Monument Start Date : 1300
Monument Type : Tower House, Fortified House, Moat
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : C17/early C18
Monument End Date : 1732
Monument Start Date : 1600
Monument Type : Wall
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Jacobean
Monument End Date : 1625
Monument Start Date : 1603
Monument Type : Hall House, Tower House
Evidence : Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DU 81
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Durham)
External Cross Reference Number : 2503
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 34576
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 407589
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 44 NW 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 44 NW 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1954-10-07
End Date : 1954-10-07
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 44 NW 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1954-10-11
End Date : 1954-10-11
Associated Activities : Primary, DALDEN TOWER, DALTON LE DALE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1966-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 44 NW 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1980-04-10
End Date : 1980-04-10
Associated Activities : Primary, DALDEN TOWER, DALTON LE DALE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1985-01-01
End Date : 1986-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: DURHAM SAMS PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1991-06-01
End Date : 1991-12-01