Twizell Castle - Northumberland

Twizell Castle

Location OS Landranger sheet 88 NT 884436

How to get there On A698 between Cornhill and Berwick upon Tweed. There is a small parking area to east of Twizzell Bridge. Take the wooded footpath up to the Castle ruins.

The Castle known to be here in 1415 was destroyed by the Scots in 1496. A new mansion was built here by Sir Francis Blake in the 1760-70s. Of which these are the remains.

Click on first picture for wide view

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NT 884436/Ruin/Access

Medieval tower house incorporated into a ruined C18 folly. The ruins comprise a roofless rectangular building of ashlar and squared stone, 29m by 9.5m, standing two storeys high with two wings on the north side and circular towers at each corner. Internally, there are four vaulted rooms along the south front, all of fine ashlar construction. The wings and towers are part of an incomplete C18 folly, built over 50 years from about 1770 by Sir Francis Blake with the assistance of James Nesbit of Kelso. It is considered to have been an example of Gothic Revivalism.

The topographer Raine commented acidly that instead of the old pele tower there now stood "an unseemly mass of unfinished masonry...possesing no one single feature of castellated architecture save for that it is in the shape of a parallogram with wide pointed mullionless windows and a huge disproportionate round bastion at each corner". It originally stood five storeys high and was stone or brick-vaulted throughout as a precaution against fire.

At the core of the building is a medieval house with walls about 1.5m thick whose structure is partly revealed in the collapse of the north wall. Several pre-folly features are visible in the north wall and include blocked windows, a chamfered doorway and original north east angle quoins.

The castle was first recorded in 1415 as the castle of 'Twysill' held by Sir John Heron, but it was destroyed by the Scots in 1496 and abandoned. A survey made in 1561 notes 'there has been one tower, or pele, which is of ancient time decayed and cast down, and there remains one part or quarter thereof, and a barmkin about it.

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as; Twyzell; Twysill; Twizel; Twisle


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