Liddell Strength Tower

Has been described as a Possible Pele Tower

There are masonry footings remains

NameLiddell Strength Tower
Alternative Namespele of Liddel; Liddel Moat
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishKirkandrews

Contained within the inner ward of Liddell Strength castle are the severely reduced remains of a pele tower, surviving as a turf-covered bank, up to 0.9 m high internally, enclosing an irregular sub-rectangular area, about 8 m NW-SE by 5 m transversely. No wall faces or any structural remains are exposed; probing revealed some stone content but this was inconclusive.

The tower was last seen in the late 18th century as the foundations of a square building (Pennant; Hutchinson); Roy's plan of 1752 (Roy) shows at this position the roofless remains of a building, measuring about 13 m NE-SW by 8 m transversely within a wall some 2 m thick. The tower was probably erected some time after the destruction of the castle in 1346, and went out of use in the late 16th century (Curwen). (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments–Keith Blood/06-MAY-1992/RCHME: Liddel Strength Survey)

Gatehouse Comments

Recorded in Gatehouse as a separate site from the earthwork castle as this is suggested as a reuse of an old site rather than a continuation of use of the site (the castle was destroyed in 1346). PastScape also have separate record for the tower. However most authors record the two sites together and the bibliography for the castle should be consulted. Certainly gone by time of Leland's survey. A map of the debateable Lands dated 1552 shows 'the mote of Liddall' as a mound with a tower marked 'fergus grame' to the west. 'fergus grame' is clearly The Mote (Highmoat) so it seems the tower within the old earthwork castle had gone out use well before 1552, no later primary sources suggest a dwelling in use here after that date. The later history given by Curwen (1910) actually seem to refer to the Graham tower at Highmoat (see also Graham 1909). There certainly was a rectangular masonry building within the old earthworks, although Roy's plan should be viewed with caution as should Hutchinson's account of a 'square tower of excellent masonry' which is quite a leap from his sources (Stow) description of 'the foundations of a square building'. There doesn't seem to have been any high status occupation of the site after the C14 (The castle was in royal hands but without any castellan or money spent on upkeep). The foundations may, therefore, represent a C14 or earlier building (possibly the chapel mentioned in 1282 - Roy does show it as having an east-west orientation) within the castle or a building of C15 or early C16 date of non-gentry status

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY401741
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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 71
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 44
  • Jackson, M.J.,1990, Castles of Cumbria (Carlisle: Carel Press) p. 70-2
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 88, 93
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 121-122
  • Hutchinson, 1794, The history of the county of Cumberland Vol. 2 p. 529 online copy
  • Roy, W., 1794, Military Antiquities of the Romans in Britain (London: W. Bulmer and Co) plate XXIII online copy
  • Pennant, T. (3rd edn), 1774, A Tour of Scotland (Warrington)


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 93
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 50 online copy


  • Graham, T.H.B., 1914, 'The Debatable Land Part II' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 14 facing p. 148 online copy [online copy of 1607 platt >] [online copy of 1552 map >]
  • Curwen, J.F., 1910, 'Liddel Mote' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 10 p. 90-101 online copy
  • Graham, T.H.B., 1909, 'Six Extinct Cumberland Castles' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 9 p. 212-6 online copy