Pele Towers

Drawing of the Whitehall Pele Tower 1844 prior to George Moore's acquisition in 1858 and subsequent restoration of Whitehall .


View historical information given to guests at Whitehall.


The Pele Tower at Harby Brow 

(page under construction)

Brief History of Pele Towers

The Border Regions have had a troubled history. Edward I wished to impose English rule on Scotland and made Carlisle a key military and political base in his campaign. The Scots resisted with several marches by armies of thirty to forty thousand men who crossed the border leaving death and destruction in their path as they plundered and burned churches and farms in the Lake District.

Determined to resist further invasions, the people of Cumberland and Westmorland built unique defensive structures, about ninety in total, known as pele towers. They were small stone buildings with walls from 3 to 10 feet thick, square or oblong in shape. Most were on the outskirts of the Lake District, but a few were within its boundaries. Designed to withstand short sieges, they usually consisted of three storeys - a tunnel-vaulted ground floor which had no windows which was used as a storage area, and which could accommodate animals. The first floor contained a hall and kitchen, and the top floor was space for living and sleeping. The battlemented roof was normally flat for look-out purposes, and to allow arrows to be fired at raiders, and missiles hurled down on unwanted visitors.

Whilst many of these pele towers are now ruins or have disappeared almost completely, the stone having been used for other buildings, others still survive, some in pretty much original form whilst others have been modified by additions or alterations.

As well as the Pele Tower at Whitehall, another survives at Harby Brow which was, in George Moore's time, part of The Whitehall Estate.


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