Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007154
Date first listed: 04-Dec-1924
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Lakeland (District Authority)
Parish: Lower Allithwaite
National Grid Reference: SD 38325 75421
Reasons for Designation
Tower houses, including pele towers, 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.
Wraysholme Tower is reasonably well-preserved as an upstanding building and is representative of its period and region. As the tower was never reused as a domestic dwelling a significant number of it original architectural features survive. The monument provides insight into the character of fortified residences in the borders region during the later medieval and earlier post-medieval periods and will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment.
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 pele tower of 15th century date, situated at the end of a slight rise on low lying ground. The tower is sub-rectangular in plan, is built from limestone rubble with dressed quoins and stands to three storeys with a slight projecting parapet corbelled out from the 1.2m thick main wall. The tower has three corner turrets with a staircase and projecting garderobe turret at the south west corner and a projection contained small chambers rising the full height of the tower at the south east corner. Inside the tower are fireplaces at each floor level, one of which has a flat Tudor-style lintel. There are a number of original windows with two lights and trefoil cusped heads as well as a number of square lights with chamfered surrounds. The original entrance to the tower was through a pointed arch on the north end of the west wall. Documentary records indicate that the tower was built at the end of the 15th century. The tower is a listed building Grade II*.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: CU 355
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 39545
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