Described in the OS name book (1861) as:
- The principal Inn in Alnwick with extensive accomodation indoors & outdoors to make any of its Patrons thoroly comfortable, it was and is still most widely called “The White Swan” but has recently changed its name in compliment to its owner who is the Duke of Northumberland. On further enquiry I find both names are retained.
Tate: Another old house of this period, only recently destroyed to enlarge the White Swan Inn, stood on the north side of Bondgate, not far from the tower ; possessing the characters of a pele of the border land, it must have been one of the most important houses in the town. Two stories it had, with walls of immense thickness, the under storey being vaulted with stone, and the entrance being by a low door-way with a pointed arch; long narrow openings passed diagonally through the thick walls, more like loop holes through which to annoy an enemy than windows to admit light; but larger mullioned windows were in the upper storey. Some important personage lived in this pele house in the days of yore — some warrior perhaps, ready to defend himself and the town against Scottish foes.