Alnham Vicars Pele

Alnham Vicars Pele Details

Alnham Vicars Pele, an occupied and much extended tower house adjacent to the church

  • Closest To: Alnham, Whittingham
  • Access: No Access
  • Grid Reference: NT99031098

Alnham Vicars Pele is a small tower house adjacent to the parish church that has been restored and can be seen from the public road. The tower is rectangular in plan, and was clearly intended to provide a degree of defence for the vicar of Alnham when cross border raiders were in the area. It was first mentioned in 1541, by which point it was in need of maintenance, so had presumably fallen into disrepair or else been damaged by such an attack. By 1663 it was ruined, suggesting that if any repairs were actually carried out, they were minor in scope, and had not prevented a collapse recorded in 1651. A century later the vicar of Alnham was resident in Ilderton, several miles to the north, and this was still the case in 1828. At some point between then and 1844, the Church took the decision to bring the ruined tower back into use, and restored it, with a resident vicar at the latter date.

At the same time that the building was restored, or soon afterwards, a sizable residential extension was added, wrapping around the north and east sides of the tower, and the restoration was deliberately martial, with battlements, machicolation and turrets being added to the roofline. The building today is three storeys tall, with a notable break in the masonry above the first floor windows, indicating that the top floor has almost entirely been rebuilt. The basement is vaulted, and entered at ground floor level, with walls nearly three metres thick according to the listed building report. This entrance is now an internal door between the tower and later house. All the windows are 19th century in origin. After the Church ceased to use the vicarage, it was used as a Youth Hostel for some time, but was sold off and now remains a private home, and not open to the public.

The image is taken from Geograph and reused under Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Copyright Russel Wills

Become a supporter of my work to access a more detailed history