Tower on the Moor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

East Lindsey (District Authority)
Woodhall Spa
National Grid Reference:
TF 21097 63984

Reasons for Designation

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers, gunports and crenellated parapets. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The medieval fortified tower at Tower on the Moor survives well as a series of standing remains and buried deposits. Tower on the Moor is one of a unique group of fortified brick buildings on the edge of the Lincolnshire fenland and as such it will preserve valuable evidence of the way in which this group of high-status sites interrelated as distinctive components of the medieval landscape. It is also a rare example of the early use of locally produced brick. As a result of archaeological investigation the remains of the tower are quite well understood, while the majority of deposits are left intact.


The monument includes the known extent of the standing and buried remains of a medieval brick fortified tower known as Tower on the Moor. The tower is believed to have been built in the mid-15th century as a hunting lodge for Ralph Lord Cromwell, whose fortified house was located 6km to the south at Tattershall Castle. Documentary sources indicate that the tower was partly dismantled in the latter part of the 15th century when bricks from the Tower on the Moor were used for repairs at Tattershall Castle. The remains of the tower survive as a buried feature, although the projecting stair turret still stands and is Listed Grade II*.

The octagonal stair turret originally projected from the north west corner of the tower. Standing four storeys high, it is built chiefly of red brick, thought to have been locally produced, laid in English bond. An arched doorway on each floor provided access between the stair turret and the tower. The stair turret is lit by three small brick arched windows and one small square window with stone dressings. Putlog holes in the turret brickwork indicate the position of former scaffolding dating from its construction.

Sections of the tower walls project from the south eastern side of the stair turret. The visible remains of the tower walls measure up to 2m in length and stand up to three storeys high with bonding scars visible on the upper storeys of the turret wall. Archaeological excavation of part of the buried foundations has indicated that the tower measured approximately 9m square. It would have provided accommodation such as storage at the first storey and domestic and private accommodation on the upper storeys. A partly exposed section of brick wall suggests that a secondary brick structure was at some time built against the north side of the tower. Tower on the Moor has close architectural parallels with the Great Tower at Tattershall Castle and with two other contemporary fortified houses near Boston, Rochford Tower and Hussey Tower. All of these are the subject of separate schedulings.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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:
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Books and journals
'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Archaeology, , Vol. 14, (1970), 191
Smith, T P, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Hussey Tower, Boston: A Late Medieval Tower-House Of Brick, , Vol. 14, (1979)
Li 43570, (1998)


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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