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Barmoor Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Barnmoor; Bairmoor; Byermore; Barmor; Barmer; Beyirmor

In the civil parish of Lowick.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NT99723988
Latitude 55.65243° Longitude -2.00585°

Barmoor Castle has been described as a probable Tower House, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry footings remains.

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


Barmoor Castle was the medieval home of the Muschampe family. It was first recorded in 1341, but by 1541 it was in ruins. It was rebuilt as a country house in 1801. It was added to and altered during the 19th century and was not finally completed until 1892. (Keys to the Past)

The house was begun in 1801, but it is said that old walls of a tower-house were made use of and a Jacobean porch was re-used (Pevsner).
Barmoor Castle shows no external traces of antiquity, although the porch on the east side is built of re-used masonry as described above. Mr. Sitwell, the owner, thinks that the tower-walls are incorporated internally (F1 DK 02-FEB-67)
Barmoor Castle, building of classical character in castellated Tudor dress, built mainly in 1801 to the designs of Patterson of Edinburgh but incorporating Medieval, 16th and 17th century masonry (Listed Building Report).
In 1341, Thomas Muschamp obtained a licence to build a crenelated tower, but it faied to keep out raiders in 1367. In 1514, it was serviceable and capable of lodging 30 horsemen, but by 1541 was ruinous. In 1801 a mansion grew around the tower, but by the 1980s this was ruinous. Now being renovated with the intention of turning it into holiday flats (Dodds). (PastScape)

Formerly a seat of the Muschampe family, licence to crenellate was granted in 1341 and the building was described in 1415 as a fortalice. By 1541 it was 'on extreme decaye and almoste ruynous for lack of reparacions'. In its present form the building is a country house in a castellated Gothick style, designed in 1801 for Francis Sitwell by John Paterson. Building, in several campaigns, spanned most of the 19th century and it was not completed until 1892. At the time of writing it is standing derelict and empty, with the north wing a roofless ruin. Restoration is apparently planned. It is not clear how much earlier fabric is incorporated in the present largely 19th century building. Externally, the south end of the house (towards the service court) shows two sections of a chamfered plinth of possible medieval date. The return at the east end of the plinth shows that the present east front of the house stands about 0.6m outside the line of that of the earlier building. There are also remains of a plinth at the south end of the west wall of the main three storey block. The main block has some very thick (up to 1.5m) walls, but the only one with features of any age is the north wall of the block (now within the lower north wing) which has a large fireplace at ground floor level. This has a chamfered segmental arch 2.24m wide, with an old bread oven in its west jamb. The remainder of the building has not been examined in detail, many of the walls are hidden by plaster. It is quite likely that further pre 19th century fabric survives, although its extent is difficult to determine (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1341 May 17 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


C19 castellated mansion, incorporating some wall 1.2m-1.4m thick, of what was probably a C14 towerhouse, licence to crenellate granted to Thomas de Muschamp in 1341. In 1514 was capable of holding thirty horsemen. By 1550 reportedly had been 'cast down by the Scots and not repaired'
Recorded as a tower (Turris) in the 1415 list. In the 1509 list recorded as fit for a garrison of 30 men, this may have more to do with the local available manpower than the physical size of the building but most local pele towers were suggested as fit for a garrison of 20 whereas the larger tower houses had 40 and the castles 80-100. In the 1541 list, where it is described as in 'extreme decay and almost ruinous' it is called a tower but in this list pele towers usually get a suffix of 'lytle'. This branch of the Muschamp family were arguable top end gentry rather than baronial. The form of the C14 tower is not known but either a large solar tower attached to a hall (a pele tower) or a small tower house.
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:50

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