The concern is expressed by Historic England in its Heritage at Risk Register 2019, its annual snapshot of the state of England’s most valued historic places.
Bondgate Tower is deemed a Priority A, with Historic England stating of it: ‘Immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; no solution agreed.
‘The main defects relate to damage from high-sided vehicles passing through the central portal. Further impact of a similar nature could cause a serious collapse.’
The three-storey gatehouse was founded around 1450 by the 2nd Earl of Northumberland. In 1434, King Henry V granted a licence to crenellate a wall around Alnwick, which took over 50 years to complete.
Also known as Hotspur Gate, it was originally one of four gates, in the medieval town wall.
Also listed is General Lambert’s House on Narrowgate, given Priority B status. For two centuries, the building was home to legal practice Dickson, Archer & Thorp.
Historic England notes its: ‘Immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; solution agreed but not yet implemented. The building is vacant and deteriorating.
‘A condition survey has been prepared and the owner has consent to convert the building to a new use. A Historic England grant has been offered for survey work and urgent repairs.
‘A planning application is currently under way for urgent work to the rear wall. We have expressed our support.’
Also included on the register are the Heiferlaw defended settlement and a Romano-British settlement and field system, near Jenny’s Lantern, both of which are described as ‘generally unsatisfactory’.
There are also problems at a Romano-British enclosed settlement near East Bolton which are ‘generally satisfactory’.
The register draws attention to sites that are at risk of being lost. Whether neglected, decaying or threatened with inappropriate development, the register raises awareness of the threats to vulnerable heritage.
Its assessment is that 289 historic sites are at risk across the North East.