Elsdon Tower
Building Elsdon Northumberland

Elsdon Tower

Building In Elsdon, Northumberland

A medieval pele tower first recorded in 1415.

If you fancy a drive out into the middle of Northumberland to discover some fascinating history and see very few people, you could do worse than a visit to Elsdon. It is the largest settlement within Northumberland National Park and is a great starting point for some lovely walks in the countryside.

Within the village is Elsdon Tower, a formidable example of medieval architecture. It has witnessed centuries of turbulent history, serving as a refuge from Scottish raiders and border reivers as well as being a symbol of power.

Originally constructed in the 14th century it was first conceived as a Vicar's Pele, a fortified dwelling for the local clergyman.

Its thick stone walls measure around eight feet in some places, and narrow slit windows are a reminder of the need for vigilance and defense in the medieval period. Traces of a machicolation, a projecting ledge from which boiling liquids or stones could be thrown onto attackers, can also still be seen at the top of the tower.

In the 17th century, it underwent a transformation and evolved into a more comfortable residence. The interior walls were adorned with plasterwork and fireplaces, and larger windows brought in natural light, softening the tower's once imposing demeanor.

It served as a rectory for centuries, housing generations of clergymen who ministered to the local community. The 19th century brought further changes when Archdeacon Singleton commissioned the addition of a porch and entrance hall, to make it more inviting to guests.

There are some interesting nods to it's history in the form of various coats of arms which can be seen around the tower. The Umfravilles coat of arms adorns the south wall, the Howards on the north wall and above the porch you can spot the Percys coat of arms. You may well have heard of some of these powerful families if you're an avid reader of Fabulous North, and it was the Umfravilles who built Elsdon Castle in the 11th century.

The tower is now a private residence so there is no access inside. There is an information board at the front of the tower, however, which gives you some insight into the history of the tower. If you want to extend your visit to the area, you could pop along to see Elsdon Castle and Winter's Gibbet is a 5 minute drive down the road too.

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How To Find Elsdon Tower

Where Is Elsdon Tower?

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Lat / Long

55.234813, -2.101849

What three words

general.movies.artichoke

Where To Park For Elsdon Tower?

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Lat / Long

55.234166, 55.234166

What three words

tomato.adhesive.happy

There is a little parking area just on the corner of the road with enough space for a few cars.

Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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