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Whitley Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Whitley Bay.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of North Tyneside.
1974 county of Tyne and Wear.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ35507207
Latitude 55.04191° Longitude -1.44595°

Whitley Tower has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are no visible remains.


Gilbert de Whitley applied to King Edward III to fortify his manor house. He received his licence, and built a tower, probably demolishing the manor house, and building on the same site. It is listed in the 1415 survey, but not in 1541. A couple of very old maps have a tower marked on them, but not with any great precision. It appears to have been a little inland from the Table Rocks, perhaps just south of the roundabout where the A191 meets the A193 road, close to the old North Shields Waterworks. (PastScape)

The Northumberland County History records that "Gilbert de Whitley received royal licence on April 9th, 1345, to crenellate his manor house at Whitley. The tower recurs in the list of castles and fortalices drawn up in 1415, but probably soon fell into disuse, as there is no mention of it in the survey of 1538, and no tradition survives as to its site. Gilbert de Whitley was an expert military architect, holding the office in 1356, of master and supervisor of the king's work in the castle of Newcastle". A manor-house is marked in the centre of the south row on the first edition Ordnance Survey map - the tower could have been its predecessor, but other sites are also possible, such as on the north side in the area of the present Whitley House. (Tyne and Wear HER)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1345 April 9 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


There seems to have only been one manor in medieval Whitley, subinfeudated from Tynemouth Priory. There is no reason to believe the manor house (and/or Gilbert's Tower) would have been away from the township centre and church. The given map reference is that marked Whitley Hall on the 1st edition OS map.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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