Ancient Monuments

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Crake Trees tower house

A Scheduled Monument in Crosby Ravensworth, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5339 / 54°32'1"N

Longitude: -2.5953 / 2°35'43"W

OS Eastings: 361573.520896

OS Northings: 515559.959705

OS Grid: NY615155

Mapcode National: GBR BJ90.XJ

Mapcode Global: WH934.39DM

Entry Name: Crake Trees tower house

Scheduled Date: 22 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007607

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22488

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Crosby Ravensworth

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Crosby Ravensworth St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is Crake Trees tower house. It is constructed of coursed, squared
rubble with quoins, and although ruinous and roofless the remains include a
hall block with wings at the north and south end. The tower forms the south
wing and contains architectural features including a 14th century trefoiled
ogee-head window in the south face, windows in the east and west faces and an
intact barrel vault to the ground floor. The hall retains a 16th/17th century
window in the east face and the north wing retains a window in the north face
of the ground floor and a blocked window on the first floor. Adjoining the
west side of the north wing is a square projection containing a spiral
staircase and a window in the north face. A number of fireplaces remain
in situ throughout the monument.
Crake Trees was the residence of the Lancaster family. During the 14th century
the tower was linked to a solar block by a single-storey hall. A first floor
was added to the hall in the 16th or 17th century. The monument was finally
abandoned about the turn of the 20th century, however, it remained partly
roofed until at least the mid-1930's.
The monument is a Grade II listed building.
The dry stone wall which connects the tower house to the modern barn is
excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 10 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Tower houses are a type of defensible house particularly characteristic of the
borderlands of England and Scotland. Virtually every parish had at least one
of these buildings. At many sites the tower comprised only one element of a
larger house, with at least one wing being attached to it. These wings
provided further domestic accommodation, frequently including a large hall.
If it was incorporated within a larger domestic residence, the tower itself
could retain its defensible qualities and could be shut off from the rest of
the house in times of trouble. Tower houses were being constructed and used
from at least the 13th century to the end of the 16th century. They provided
prestigious defended houses permanently occupied by the wealthier or
aristocratic members of society. As such they were important centres of
medieval life. The need for such secure buildings relates to the unsettled
and frequently war-like conditions which prevailed in the Borders throughout
much of the medieval period. Around 200 examples of tower houses have been
identified of which over half were elements of larger houses. All surviving
tower houses retaining significant medieval remains will normally be
identified as nationally important.

Despite the monument's somewhat ruinous appearance Crake Trees tower house
survives reasonably well. It was continuously occupied from the 14th century
until the early 20th century yet still retains considerable medieval fabric
and architectural details including a rare example of an intact barrel vaulted

Source: Historic England


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
To Robinson,K.D. MPPFW, Neighbour,, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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