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Houghton le Spring Rectory

In the civil parish of Houghton Le Spring.
In the historic county of Durham.
Modern Authority of Sunderland.
1974 county of Tyne and Wear.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ34094983
Latitude 54.84216° Longitude -1.47086°

Houghton le Spring Rectory has been described as a certain Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Former rectory now council offices, incorporating the remains of a 15th century tower house. Altered in 1560-70, considerably rebuilt circa 1664 and further altered in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The east elevation was rebuilt circa 1950. The medieval tower was built without licence in or before 1483. (PastScape)

This building is first mentioned in 1483 when John Kelinge began to enclose, fortify and embattle a house within his rectory with a wall of lime and stone, and to make a fortress of it without licence. Bishop Dudley pardoned the offence and granted a licence. In the second half of the 17th century the building was demolished, except for its tower and flanking rectory which were finally lost in the early 19th century. It is possible, however, that some parts of the medieval structure survived these bouts of demolition and rebuilding. (Tyne and Wear HER)

A Durham Palatinate pardon and licence to crenellate was granted in 1483 Oct 6 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


A pardon was granted by the Bishop of Durham to John Kelyng, rector, probably in 1483. It was entirely usual for such buildings to be built without licence and this pardon, to Kelyng who was no mere rector but Chancellor of Durham, keeper of the Great Seal, and Receiver-General of the Bishopric of Durham is clearly something to do with political power plays and infighting and has nothing to do with controlling 'fortifications'.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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