Keys to the Past

Dalden Tower, Seaham (Seaham)

Seaham, Dalden Tower © DCC 2007
Seaham, Dalden Tower © DCC 2007

Seaham, Plan of Dalden Tower © Ryder, P 2005
Seaham, Plan of Dalden Tower © Ryder, P 2005

Seaham, Dalden Tower from the East © Ryder, P 2005
Seaham, Dalden Tower from the East © Ryder, P 2005

Seaham, Dalden Tower Niche © Ryder, P 2005
Seaham, Dalden Tower Niche © Ryder, P 2005

Seaham, Dalden Tower from the North © Ryder, P 2005
Seaham, Dalden Tower from the North © Ryder, P 2005

Seaham, Dalden Tower from the West © Ryder, P 2005
Seaham, Dalden Tower from the West © Ryder, P 2005

These are the ruined remains of a medieval pele tower.

From an early period this was the residence of the Escolland family, who later changed their name to Dalton. In 1375 it was passed to the Bowes family, when Matilda, daughter of Robert de Dalton and heiress of Sir Jordan de Dalton, married Sir William Bowes. It remained one of their favourite residences for two centuries. From at least the C18th, the tower has laid in ruins.

The tower is a rectangular structure, with thick walls between 1.6m to 1.8m. The thickness of the walls implies that the structure may have carried height, although it seems to have been more a domestic than a defensive structure. There were two high-status apartments, each with quite elaborate fireplaces on the ground floor, as well as an apartment on the second floor with a chamber, a large and elaborate fireplace and its buffet recess set alongside.

In the south-east corner at first floor level are the remains of a small niche decorated with two small shields of 14th century date, which stands to one side of the main fireplace. A rebated door jamb survives to the north end of the west wall and can be seen on the first floor.

Beams carried the first floor of the tower, and corbels are visible on the north wall. It is also that the circular turret may have had been part of a staircase beginning on the first floor.

This is a Scheduled Ancient Monument protected by law. The site is accessible, to the public.

Reference number:D2503
Historical period: Medieval (1066 to 1540)
21st Century (2001 to 2100)
Legal status:Scheduled Monument
  • National Heritage List for England Entry Number: 1020292
Event(s):Limestone Landscapes Historic Environment Audit And Action Plan; Archaeo-Environment Ltd
Turning the Tide Project 1997 - 1998; Archaeological Services University of Durham
Dalden Tower 1987 excavations



See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Seaham


Disclaimer -

Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.