Ancient Monuments

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Lynestead medieval pele tower, early post-medieval farmstead and an associated corn drying kiln

A Scheduled Monument in Bewcastle, Cumbria

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Latitude: 55.0983 / 55°5'53"N

Longitude: -2.7118 / 2°42'42"W

OS Eastings: 354674.758624

OS Northings: 578439.775325

OS Grid: NY546784

Mapcode National: GBR 99HH.P6

Mapcode Global: WH7Z7.93XX

Entry Name: Lynestead medieval pele tower, early post-medieval farmstead and an associated corn drying kiln

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016086

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27779

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Bewcastle

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bewcastle St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Lynestead medieval
pele tower, an early post-medieval farmstead and an associated corn drying
kiln. `Pele' is an alternative term to `tower' and `pele towers' are members
of the wider family of defensive buildings in the northern borderlands which
also include tower houses and bastles. It is located on relatively flat ground
immediately to the north west of the 19th-century house known as Lynestead.
The remains of the pele tower include turf-covered foundations measuring
approximately 11.5m by 11m and up to 0.5m high with walls up to 2m thick. A
short distance to the north east of the pele are the turf-covered foundations
of an early post-medieval farmstead measuring c.14m by 6m and up to 0.3m high
with its long axis aligned north east-south west. Associated with the
farmstead, and lying a short distance to the south east, is a corn drying kiln
which now survives as an irregularly shaped turf-covered mound up to 0.8m high
with maximum dimensions of 7m by 6m. The presence of the kiln indicates the
existence of small scale arable farming in the area during the early post-
medieval period. Here then is a medieval pele tower which was superseded by a
small hill farm which, in turn, was abandoned before 1854 when the present
Lynestead cottage was built.
All fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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.

Lynestead medieval pele tower, early post-medieval farmstead and associated
corn drying kiln survives in fair condition. The monument is a rare example of
the juxtaposition of a pele tower and early post-medieval farmstead, and it
will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider border
settlement and economy during the medieval and early post-medieval periods.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ramm, H G , Shielings and Bastles, (1970), 51

Source: Historic England

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