West Lilburn Tower, Northumberland
~ History ~
1234 ~ John Lilburn establishes his family seat at West Lilburn, on the north side of a brook near a ruined chapel. He acquires the estate within the barony of Wark after it is forfeited by Robert de Ros for siding with the Scots against the English.
1415 ~ The Lilburn family build themselves a tower.
1541 ~ A survey reports that two towers have been built, the west tower ruinous and the east tower burnt. The ruinous tower is dismantled shortly after the survey is published.
1596 ~ The remaining tower is sold.
1828 ~ The repaired tower is abandoned in favour of the completion of a new house called Lilburn Tower.
West Lilburn tower is a late 15th ventury tower house situated on a spur of land above the valley of the Lilburn Burn. The tower, built of ashlar blocks with a rubble core, is rectangular in plan but sadly only the north wall now stands to any great height. From the north west corner the west wall is still visible, as is partial remains of the east wall, but the basement of the tower has become partly infilled with rubble and masonry from the collapsed upper storeys. At first floor level there are two doorways on the internal face of the wall, one giving access to a mural stair, and part of a fireplace. Evidence of a cross wall suggests the tower was divided into a hall and smaller service room. The base of the stair is lit by a square window with sockets for a central iron bar, likewise at second floor level the stair is lit by a similar window.
The scant remains of the tower are found within the grounds of a private estate, albeit access with consideration is possible from the road, taking the first turning on the left up towards Lilburn Cottage.