Elsdon Castle - Elsdon Vicar's Pele - Northumberland
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Elsdon Castle

& Vicars Pele

How to get there Approx 3 miles east of Otterburn,on the B6341 between Otterburn and Rothbury.

Location OS Landranger sheet 80 NY 938935

A very impressive Motte & Bailly castle.

This Castle is considered to have been built by Robert de Umfraville in 1080

Click on long images for wide view

Map courtesy Mike Salter
Elsdon Tower - Vicar's Pele
Elsdon Church

NY 938934/Traces/Access

Medieval motte and bailey castle (Ringwork according to King) surviving as a very well preserved earthwork, built on the site of an Anglian Moot. The Motte is 15m high and 80m in diameter. The motte is surrounded by a strong rampart on the north and east sides, while the west side is protected by steep natural defences. The bailey lies to the north of the motte and is separated from it by a ditch, some 15m wide. The roughly rectangular bailey measures 72m E-W by 48m N-S and is strongly defended on all sides by a massive earthen rampart. Around the whole castle is a shallow ditch. Traces of masonry have been reported on the motte. The castle was probably built by Robert de Umfraville in C11 and was probably the predecessor of the family seat at Harbottle. A Roman inscribed stone was found in the Motte, possibly from the site of Bremenium (Rochester).


NY 936934/Private/Limited Access Elsdon Tower (the Vicar's Pele) on the other side of the burn from the castle, dates back to C14 or C15 and stands in a strategic position at the entrance to the valley of the Elsdon Burn and commands the valley of the Whiskershiel Burn. The tower was probably built for the Rector of Elsdon and remained a rector's home until about 1960. The tower has been altered in the post-medieval period. It was originally four storeys high, but in C17 the upper three floors were converted into two and decorated in the style of that period. In the basement the original barrel vault survives although it has had windows cut into each end. The walls are extremely thick, with side walls measuring 2.7m thick at ground level and the end walls 1.8m thick. On a remodelled parapet are stones carved with the Arms of the Umfravilles (south side), Percy's(east), Howards(north) and Lucy's(west) This is a large pele tower and Ryder suggests it may be a C16 rebuilding of ruined C14 tower house.

Other Northumberland castles

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