Alnham Earls Pele

Alnham Earls Pele Details

Alnham Earls Pele, the ruins of a tower house forming a rectangular platform on top of a prominent hill

  • Closest To: Alnham, Whittingham
  • Access: No Access
  • Grid Reference: NT99181081

Alnham Earls Pele sits on high ground overlooking the church and vicars pele to the north-west. Between the two is the site of a medieval settlement, and there is extensive rig and furrow marks in the surrounding fields. The pele, sometimes called Alnham Castle, is almost entirely collapsed, the rectangular mound containing the fallen rubble is 2 metres high in places. The tower was 22 metres by 18, a sizeable structure, most likely entered through a door in the north-eastern corner which can still be seen along with some exposed masonry. The tower may haveĀ  had a barmkin, but it does not appear clearly in LIDAR imagery unless it is represented by the banks extending a short distance to east and south.

The tower was in existence in 1405, when the Earl of Northumberland ordered it to surrender to the king, and it remained in use until at least 1514. By 1541 it needed repair and in 1566 it was “ruinous and in some decay” but was still listed as a border stronghold in 1584 and an early 17th century survey. A nicely detailed note from 1586 records that the place was a “faire stronge stone Tower of Ancient tyme builded and strongly vaulted over, and the Gates and Dores be all of great stronge iron Barres and a good demayne adjoining thereto, the House is now ruinous and in some decay, by reason the Farmer useth to carry his sheep up the Stares and to lay them in the Chambers which rotteth the vaults”. It is not known when the castle was eventually abandoned, but after 1603 the union of the Crowns rendered tower houses largely irrelevant, and it was probably just left to further decay, abandoned by the Percys.

The image is from Geograph and is copyright Andrew Curtis. Reproduced under Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

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