Tyne and Wear HER(11511): Newcastle town wall, C17 defences - Details
Newcastle town wall, C17 defences
In 1638 there was instability between England and Scotland and a perceived threat of invasion by Scotland. Newcastle, as an important coal trading port needed to be defended. Sir Jacob Astley was sent to Newcastle to investigate and found a medieval walled town which had never been tested by artillery. The one-time defensive 19 towers were leased by guilds and the ditch had been filled with rubbish. The dunghill at Castle Garth had caused the curtain wall to collapse. Hills at Westgate, Leazes, Spital Tongues and Pandon overlooked the town walls. Astley placed 14 guns on the town wall towers and more on the gates (except Sandgate). Memoirs of the seige of Newcastle by Lithgow describe the town wall outside face as having been strengthened with earth and the inside face been re-defended. Archaeological excavations at St. Andrews in 1987 recorded midden material of C16-17 date against the town wall and a section of medieval ditch had been recut in the C17. There was also possible evidence of a Civil War breach. According to Sheridan, the section of town wall behind Beales on Gallowgate had earth banked up behind it. The crenellations and merlons in the town wall were infilled leaving firing holes for muskets. The gates were walled up. A child drowned in the water-filled ditch at New Gate - their shoe was recovered in the ditch fill. Musket balls and ceramics from the period 1640 to 1650 have been recovered from the ditch. Heber Tower (HER 1532) had to be reapired after damage in 1644.
Notes taken during lecture by John Nolan 4th October 2008 "The Civil Wars on Tyneside as revealed by archaeology" at the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne Symposium 2008, The British Civil Wars in the North East; << HER 1507 >> J. Brand, 1789, History of Newcastle, I, 1-19 R.E. Hooppell, 1886, The Town Wall of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Pandon Dene, Archaeologia Aeliana, 2, XI, 236-9 S. Holmes, 1896, The Walls of Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeologia Aeliana, 2, XVIII, 1-25 S. Holmes, 1896, The Town Wall of Newcastle, in Gallowgate, Archaeologia Aeliana, 2, XVIII, 109-12 P. Brewis, 1934, The West Walls of Newcastle upon Tyne, between Durham and Ever Towers, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, XI, 1-20 C. Blair, 1937, The Walls of Newcastle..iluustrated...by George Bouchier Richardson, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, XIV, 123-28 J. Nolan, et al. 1989, The Medieval Town Defences of Newcastle..Excavation and Survey '86-87, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5, XVII, 29-78 J. Nolan, 1993, The Town Wall...Orchard Street and Croft Street, 1987-89, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5, XXI, 93-149 R. Fraser, 1993, Excavation adjacent to Close Gate, Newcastle, 1988-89 R. Fraser, 1993, Excavation on the site of the Mansion House, Newcastle; << HER 1532 >> J. Brand, 1789, History of Newcastle, I, 12 S. Holmes, 1896, The Town Walls of Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeologia Aeliana, 2, XVIII, 14 and pl. v. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 1896, The Herber (Heber or Arbour) Tower, West Walls, Newcastle, 2, VII, 289-293 Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 1898, Report of the Council for the year 1896, 2, VIII (for 1897-98), 4 P. Brewis, 1910, The Heber Tower, Newcastle,Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 3, IV (for 1909-10), 287 P. Brewis, 1934, The West Walls of Newcastle upon Tyne, Between Durham and Ever Towers, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, XI, 14-15, pls. i, iv.5, viii.15, ix