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Historic England Research Records

Etal Castle

Hob Uid: 3641
Location :
Northumberland
Ford
Grid Ref : NT9251039300
Summary : The monument known as Etal Castle was the second quadrangular castle to be completed in Northumberland, (by 1360) and comprises a tower house, outer enclosure or barmkin, a gatehouse, a corner tower, and the sites of various ancillary buildings which existed within the barmkin, built against the enclosing curtain wall. The earliest element is the tower, built by 1355. This is a rectangular building of four storeys. Externally it measures 15 metres x 10 metres and has walls 2 metres thick. Circa 1341 Edward III granted the lord of Etal licence to crenellate. Almost certainly the tower itself was already crenellated at this time, but the grant meant that its owner now had permission to extend the fortification to include the gatehouse, corner tower and curtain wall whose remains now extend around the edges of the barmkin. Documents indicate that the construction of these features took a minimum of 15 years. The curtain wall appears never to have been particularly strong, being only a little over 1 metre thick in its one remaining standing section, but the gatehouse is a formidable building comprising a two story structure with a central rib-vaulted gate passage, flanked to the fore by twin towers which projected above the battlements of the main building and also forward to cover to approach to the gate. Only the ground floor of the corner tower remains standing, surviving as a high, rib-vaulted chamber measuring 7 metres x 6 metres and incorporating a wooden loft supported by corbels set into the walls. In addition to the tower house and defensive buildings, there would have been various ancillary or service buildings within the barmkin, including, for example, stables, kitchens, quarters for servants and guardsmen, offices, a brewhouse, a bakehouse and numerous others. None survive as standing ruins, but their remains exist as buried features. In 1513 the castle was temporarily captured by the Scots. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : [NT 9251930] Etal Castle [L.B.] Gatehouse [L.B.]. (1)

The castle, which was crenellated in 1341, encloses a roughly, rectangular area, with the keep and a gatehouse at the W & E Angles respectively. A small, vaulted chamber occupies the S. angle, and a few stones indicate the N. angle of the courtyard, or a further tower. The curtain wall stands to the height of the rampart on the S.E. side, but elsewhere only foundations survive. The keep probably preceded, while the gatehouse followed crenellation. Scheduled. [See Illustrations Card]. (2-3)

Correctly described. A small abutment to the keep, and traces atop a slight scarp on the N.W.side (Surveyed at 1:2500) are the only apparent remains of the curtain apart from the section previously noted. See GPs.A055/276/3 & 4 for gatehouse and keep respectively. (4)

Condition unchanged. (5)

Etal Castle, 1341-1368. See plan and description in N.C.H. Vol. XI. A walled enclosure with an imposing C14 gate tower at the diagonally opposite N.W. corner. No doubt there were formerly timber buildings, hall, kitchen, stables, etc., within the castle enclosure, but they have disappeared. In 1541 it was stated that "many necessary houses within the same became ruinous and fallen to the ground". There is a small tower at the S.W. corner, but none at the N.E. and the plan of the curtain wall is curiously irregular. (6)

Etal Castle:Gate-tower,south curtain wall,SW tower and Great Tower.Grade I (see list for details) (7)

NT 9253 3931. Etal Castle tower house. Scheduled RSM No 23225.
A tower house comprising a number of elements which include the tower and its outer enclosure or barmkin, a gatehouse, a corner tower and the sites of various ancillary buildings within the barmkin, built up against the enclosing curtain wall. Full architectural and historical account. (8)

Full historical account. (9)

Small-scale excavations in 1979, 1983 and 1994 in the area where a 4th tower is thought to exist have failed to find any evidence for it, but have found evidence of a pre-curtain wall building. (10)

A geophysical survey carried out in 1988 also found no unequivical proof of the location of the 4th tower although a further possible location was indicated on the north east side of the castle. Results published 2000. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:2500 1964
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : A history of Northumberland, volume eleven : the parishes of Carham, Branxton, Kirknewton, Wooler and Ford
Source details :
Page(s) : 460-71
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : vol.11
Source Number : 11
Source : Etal Castle, Etal, Northumberland, report on geophysical survey 1988; Centre for Arcaeology Report Summaries, 31, 2000
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Ancient monuments in England and Wales : a list prepared by the Ministry of Public Building and Works, corrected to 31st December 1963
Source details :
Page(s) : 83
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 EGC 20-JAN-64
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 RWE 06-JAN-67
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Glendale RD, AUG-1949
Page(s) : 7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Berwick-on-Tweed, 10-MAR-1988
Page(s) : 52-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 19-Oct-93
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Bastions and Belligerents: Medieval Strongholds in Northumberland
Source details :
Page(s) : 87-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 235-52
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 29, 2001

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1341 to 1360
Monument End Date : 1360
Monument Start Date : 1341
Monument Type : Gatehouse, Angle Tower, Curtain Wall, Quadrangular Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Circa 1341-55
Monument End Date : 1355
Monument Start Date : 1341
Monument Type : Tower House, Barmkin
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 70
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 23225
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 238049
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 238050
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 129
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1011644
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1153966
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1042183
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NT 93 NW 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NT 93 NW 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-01-20
End Date : 1964-01-20
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NT 93 NW 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1967-01-06
End Date : 1967-01-06
Associated Activities : Primary, ETAL CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1978-01-01
End Date : 1978-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ETAL CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1983-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ETAL CASTLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ETAL CASTLE GATEHOUSE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT ETAL CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2015-01-01
End Date : 2015-12-31