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Tower on the Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.1592 / 53°9'33"N

Longitude: -0.1903 / 0°11'25"W

OS Eastings: 521097.593354

OS Northings: 363983.350712

OS Grid: TF210639

Mapcode National: GBR HRM.SVR

Mapcode Global: WHHKP.1VNG

Entry Name: Tower on the Moor

Scheduled Date: 16 June 1927

Last Amended: 12 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017216

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33125

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Woodhall Spa

Built-Up Area: Woodhall Spa

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Woodhall Spa St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the known extent of the standing and buried remains of a
medieval brick fortified tower known as Tower on the Moor. The tower is
believed to have been built in the mid-15th century as a hunting lodge for
Ralph Lord Cromwell, whose fortified house was located 6km to the south at
Tattershall Castle. Documentary sources indicate that the tower was partly
dismantled in the latter part of the 15th century when bricks from the Tower
on the Moor were used for repairs at Tattershall Castle. The remains of the
tower survive as a buried feature, although the projecting stair turret still
stands and is Listed Grade II*.

The octagonal stair turret originally projected from the north west corner of
the tower. Standing four storeys high, it is built chiefly of red brick,
thought to have been locally produced, laid in English bond. An arched doorway
on each floor provided access between the stair turret and the tower. The
stair turret is lit by three small brick arched windows and one small square
window with stone dressings. Putlog holes in the turret brickwork indicate the
position of former scaffolding dating from its construction.

Sections of the tower walls project from the south eastern side of the stair
turret. The visible remains of the tower walls measure up to 2m in length and
stand up to three storeys high with bonding scars visible on the upper storeys
of the turret wall. Archaeological excavation of part of the buried
foundations has indicated that the tower measured approximately 9m square. It
would have provided accommodation such as storage at the first storey and
domestic and private accommodation on the upper storeys. A partly exposed
section of brick wall suggests that a secondary brick structure was at some
time built against the north side of the tower. Tower on the Moor has close
architectural parallels with the Great Tower at Tattershall Castle and with
two other contemporary fortified houses near Boston, Rochford Tower and Hussey
Tower. All of these are the subject of separate schedulings.

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

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most
powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic
and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic
additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military
aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with
individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture
often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification
varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers,
gunports and crenellated parapets.
Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic
and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later
houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often
receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some
fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables,
brew houses, granaries and barns were located.
Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between
the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as
the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I
and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further
back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland
areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses
which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with
fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant
surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The medieval fortified tower at Tower on the Moor survives well as a series of
standing remains and buried deposits. Tower on the Moor is one of a unique
group of fortified brick buildings on the edge of the Lincolnshire fenland and
as such it will preserve valuable evidence of the way in which this group of
high-status sites interrelated as distinctive components of the medieval
landscape. It is also a rare example of the early use of locally produced
brick. As a result of archaeological investigation the remains of the tower
are quite well understood, while the majority of deposits are left intact.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Archaeology, , Vol. 14, (1970), 191
Smith, T P, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Hussey Tower, Boston: A Late Medieval Tower-House Of Brick, , Vol. 14, (1979)
Li 43570, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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