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Castle Heaton Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Heaton near Coldstream; Heton; Old Heaton

In the civil parish of Cornhill on Tweed.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NT90114191
Latitude 55.67059° Longitude -2.15878°

Castle Heaton Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a probable Bastle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Remains of a quadrangular castle founded in 1328-40 destroyed in 1496 and again in 1513 by King James IV. Out of use by 1559. The surviving remains consist of two buttresses set against the north east wall of the stable and the probable remains of a turret and rampart. The site is now covered by farm buildings. (PastScape)

Vaulted defensible building. Late medieval. Squared stone and random rubble, Welsh slate roof. c.70 ft. by 25 ft. 2 storeys. Long west side has stone steps to 1st-floor doorway; some of the steps are worn, others renewed, but the wall beneath them is old. Under the steps a C16 or C17 doorway with alternating-block surround and rounded arrises. Left of the steps a projection c.8 ft. outside the line of the wall. This has a chamfered plinth and medieval masonry. It appears to be solid. Left of this a further section, still projecting but not so far, also has a chamfered plinth and a window with a steeply-sloping sill. The left section has a later window and an original slit window. On 1st floor C19 windows in old masonry. On east side two buttresses with offsets and 2 blocked slit windows. 1st floor is rebuilt on this side. Interior has a high round tunnel vault rising from c.3 ft. above ground. The walls are c. 3 ft. 6 inches thick normally and much thicker where there are projections. The south gable has been largely rebuilt. (Listed Building Report)

The Eton family (later Hetons) were tenants of the Bishop of Durham in this part of Norhamshire. They had a strong house on this site before the site was sold to Thomas Grey in 1328. Shortly afterwards, Grey knocked the house down and built a very strong, square complex including a keep and a great hold called the Lion's Tower, all contained within a wall with turrets at its four corners and a southern entrance. In 1398, a later Thomas Grey exchanged Heton with the Neville's Castle at Wark. Heton was sacked by King James IV in 1496 and again in 1513, leaving it a virtual ruin. When the Greys obtained legal ownership again in 1559, they had little incentive to repair the buildings, they being ruinous. (PastScape ref. Dodds 1999)

'It was perhaps the work of Sir Thomas Gray... who succeeded his father in 1344.' (King 2007 p. 389)

This house or castle of Heaton hath been a pleasant and beautiful building, in manner square, with goodly towers and turrets as the yet remaining the Lion’s Tower on the west side there of the south coin or corner, and on the north side or part a mention of a vault that a hundred horse may stand in with a number of shells and walls that hath been glorious buildings and housings, now ruinous and all in decay. (Survey of 1570 quoted in Kent 2017)

The C14 castle went out of gentry use by 1559 but the remnants seems to continued as a pele-house type building(s).
The remarkable long surviving vaulted building was surveyed in 1570 as capable of being stabling for 'a hundred horse'. This was a free standing building within the square enclosure of the castle.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:50

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