Crake Trees tower house


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Eden (District Authority)
Crosby Ravensworth
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 61574 15560

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. At many sites the tower comprised only one element of a larger house, with at least one wing being attached to it. These wings provided further domestic accommodation, frequently including a large hall. If it was incorporated within a larger domestic residence, the tower itself could retain its defensible qualities and could be shut off from the rest of the house in times of trouble. 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 or 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 over half were elements of larger houses. All surviving tower houses retaining significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally important.

Despite the monument's somewhat ruinous appearance Crake Trees tower house survives reasonably well. It was continuously occupied from the 14th century until the early 20th century yet still retains considerable medieval fabric and architectural details including a rare example of an intact barrel vaulted roof.


The monument is Crake Trees tower house. It is constructed of coursed, squared rubble with quoins, and although ruinous and roofless the remains include a hall block with wings at the north and south end. The tower forms the south wing and contains architectural features including a 14th century trefoiled ogee-head window in the south face, windows in the east and west faces and an intact barrel vault to the ground floor. The hall retains a 16th/17th century window in the east face and the north wing retains a window in the north face of the ground floor and a blocked window on the first floor. Adjoining the west side of the north wing is a square projection containing a spiral staircase and a window in the north face. A number of fireplaces remain in situ throughout the monument. Crake Trees was the residence of the Lancaster family. During the 14th century the tower was linked to a solar block by a single-storey hall. A first floor was added to the hall in the 16th or 17th century. The monument was finally abandoned about the turn of the 20th century, however, it remained partly roofed until at least the mid-1930's. The monument is a Grade II listed building. The dry stone wall which connects the tower house to the modern barn is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
To Robinson,K.D. MPPFW, Neighbour,, (1992)


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

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