Bewley Castle, Crackenthorpe
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007146
Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Eden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: NY 64799 21153
Reasons for Designation
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. Solitary tower houses comprise a single square or rectangular `keep' several storeys high, with strong barrel-vaults tying together massive outer walls. Many towers had stone slab roofs, often with a parapet walk. Access could be gained through a ground floor entrance or at first floor level where a doorway would lead directly to a first floor hall. Solitary towers were normally accompanied by a small outer enclosure defined by a timber or stone wall and called a barmkin. 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 and 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 less than half are of the free- standing or solitary tower type. All surviving solitary towers retaining significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally important.
Bewley Castle is reasonably well-preserved and is representative of its period and region. Partial excavation has shown that in addition to the upstanding structural remains there will be buried archaeological deposits which relate to the construction, use and abandonment of the monument. The monument provides insight into the history of the Border region and the need for fortified residences in this area during the medieval period.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 March 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes the remains of a tower house of medieval date, situated on a gentle slope near the confluence of Teas Sike and Swinegill Sike. The remains, which are preserved as a partial shell and buried remains, include part of one range with a tower at the south east angle standing to three storeys with traces of adjoining buildings to the north and north west. The south east tower has a garderobe turret on its south east side and on its second story there are two trefoiled lights and in the south wall is a square-headed window. The tower house was built by Bishop Ross in the late 14th century as a residence for the bishops of Carlisle and was restored by Bishop Strickland in 1402.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of the monument but these have not been included as they have not been assessed. The monument is a listed building Grade II*.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: CU 331
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 13637
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing