Carlisle Bishops Tower

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are no visible remains

NameCarlisle Bishops Tower
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishCarlisle

The Bishop's Tower was thought to have stood at the West side of the Cathedral precincts, and was built sometime in the 14th century. There were a number of Bishops of Carlisle during the 14th century: John de Halton, William Ayremyn, John Ross, John Kirkby, John Horncastle, Gilbert Welton, Thomas Appleby, Robert Reed and Thomas Merke.....any one of which could have been responsible for the building of the tower.

The tower was still standing in 1620, but was definitely gone by 1640, possibly demolished along with other redundant priory buildings. An inventory of Cathedral buildings dating from 1571, lists "for the Busshopp In the the Kytching and larder", a mention that Perriam and Robinson state, shows that the tower was in use at this time.

No archaeological investigations in the Cathedral precincts have located the exact position of this long lost tower. (Matthew Emmott 2014)

Gatehouse Comments

C14 tower probably demolished in 1640 with most of Carlisle Priory buildings, probably stood in western range of cloisters. Sometimes confused with Priors tower and assumed to be same.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY398559
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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 77
  • Wilson, J., 1912, Rose Castle (Carlisle) p. 22, appendix xv


  • Perriam, D.R., 1987, 'The demolition of the Priory of St Mary, Carlisle' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 87 p. 127-58 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Prescott, J.E. (ed), 1879, The statutes of the cathedral church of Carlisle p. 107 (Inventory of 1571 mentions tower)