top of page

Hylton, Sunderland

Hylton Castle

Last Updated:

27 Jul 2023

Hylton, Sunderland

This is a


Craigavon Rd, Sunderland SR5 3PA

Founded in 

14th/15th Century

Current status is


Designer (if known):


The site is owned and managed by English Heritage

This feature is part of the Black History Collection.

'One of the first with north east connections was William Hylton of the Sunderland family with ancient roots. Through an association with Sir Edwin Sandys, a counsellor of James I, he went to New England in 1621 as part of a rescue mission for the Mayflower settlers. William was said to be the first settler in what was to become New Hampshire. A number of County Durham place names in the area he settled suggest there may have been more north easterners attracted to that area.

A relative, Anthony Hylton of South Shields, a master mariner, followed in 1623, taking settlers to Jamestown, Virginia. The Hyltons were sea farers who also forged links with the Caribbean. Anthony Hylton acquired a tobacco plantation, was
appointed Governor of St Kitts & Nevis in 1625 and later became a tobacco merchant selling on the London market.

Hylton descendants settled in Maryland, Carolina and Jamaica before 1700. Like many of the first settlers, involvement in the slave trade and slavery grew out of acute labour shortages in their new lands.

Members of several other north east families were early arrivals in America and the Caribbean, among them the Pinckneys of West Auckland, the Howards of Brampton, the Colvilles of Newcastle and branches of the Northumbrian Fenwicks, Ogles and Ordes.'

- Remembering Slavery, John Charlton,

'The Hylton’s were a sea faring family who forged links with the Caribbean. Sir William Hylton was a mariner and salt merchant who went to America in 1621 and settled in New Hampshire. Anthony Hylton from South Shields (probably a relative of Sir William) took settlers to Jamestown, Virginia in 1623. It is probable that William and Anthony were connected to the Hyltons at Hylton Castle.

Descendants of William Hylton settled in Maryland, Carolina and Jamaica before 1700. Records show that Ralph Hilton of South Shields went to Jamaica in the 1740s and owned slave plantations there. Like many of the first settlers, involvement in the slave trade and slavery grew out of labour shortages in their new lands.

The Hylton surname is widespread in Jamaica today, through descendants of enslaved Africans who worked on the Hylton plantations.'

- Sunderland Council

Listing Description (if available)

Historic England Listing Fortified tower-house in form of gatehouse. c1400. For Sir William Hylton. Extensively altered in early C18 for John Hylton who altered windows, added N wing, reconstructed interior. His son John added S wing. 1860s wings demolished, most windows altered and inside altered for William Briggs. Mid C20 consolidation and restoration of shell for Ministry of Works. Ashlar. EXTERIOR: 3 storeys, 3 windows, in bays defined by turrets. Steps up to central doorway of C19 pointed arch on nookshafts with stone balcony above to 3-light window of 2-storey hall recessed behind segmental arch to battlements; heraldic devices to right of second-floor window and on turret to left. Flanking turrets have blind panel to right of door, lancets above, and small square openings below machicolated battlements. Side bays have 3-light ground-floor windows and paired lights on upper floors below machicolated parapets. Angle turrets, without openings, have similar parapets. All front windows 1860s lancets, blocked on first floor and empty on second floor. Left return has one door in largely reconstructed wall; right return has 2-storey square projecting bay window of 1860, single first-floor and paired second-floor medieval lancets. Rear elevation has projecting central tower with windows on 5 floors, which were probably 2-storey chapel through first and second, with chambers over and stair at left. C18 Gothic screens on ground and first floors, now blocked; medieval lancets above, with large heraldic achievement at centre on second floor which has arms and crest of Sir William Hylton below Richard II badge of white hart. Right bay has medieval windows on upper floors. Machicolated parapets between corner turrets and central tower, altered parapet to tower. No roof. INTERIOR: shows lower courses of ground floor partition walls on restored ground level; all floors removed except in rear tower which has medieval pointed-arched door to stair in use to upper floors. Oven in wall thickness at SE corner; portcullis slot over door; traces of ground floor vaults; medieval door and fireplace detail; roof truss corbels with carving; stone bench to embrasure of W window of first-floor chamber. Rear tower has diagonal chamfer stops and shouldered lintels to doors; chambers over chapel have original hooded fireplaces with corbelled chamfered jambs and eroded chamfer stops. Scheduled Ancient Monument. (Official Handbooks: Morley BM: Hylton Castle, Tyne and Wear: London: 1979-).




bottom of page