Has been described as a Questionable Pele Tower, and also as a Questionable Bastle

There are uncertain remains

Alternative NamesSkinburgh
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishSilloth On Solway

Tower or stonehouse site.

Shown as a tower symbol on the 1590 map.

Further work necessary to establish the site. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

Gatehouse Comments

It is difficult to really known what the symbols on the 1590 map actually meant. They mainly refer to sites that are now lost and which were never gentry status sites. This suggests these were not pele towers. It is more likely they were some form of bastle or stonehouse. The lack of survival of such houses in this area, as opposed to their fairly frequent survival in the higher Pennine lands, may reflect the good agricultural quality of this land producing wealth (once the area was politically stabilised and decriminalised) which allowed for the building of brand new farmhouses and farmbuildings in the C18/C19. Presumably this was at or near to the borough of Skinburgh which was swept out to sea in 1305, though some earthworks of that town may remain. The 'tower' post-dated the town. PastScape records 'Air photographs reveal earthworks that may be the remains of substantial walls (centred at NY 1358 5634), which may be part of the port described above. There is also evidence of possible building foundations (NY 1362 5639) and it is uncertain whether these are associated with the Grange or port. (Oblique aerial photograph reference number NMR NY1356/25 (17339/10) 27-JUL-1999)' Are any of these possible buried walls related to this lost building? Either of the features seen on an air photograph may have been this tower. The 'tower' is not mentioned in the online NMR record or listed, as a defensible building, in the Cumbria HER mapping data. It may be recorded in the paper versions of these records.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY135563
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Calculate Print


  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 99 (slight)
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 23


  • Bellhouse, R., 1962, 'Moricambe in Roman times and Roman sites on the Cumberland coast' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 62 p. 64-5 online copy
  • Ellis, H., 1829, 'Copy of a manuscript tract addressed to Lord Burghley, illustrative of the Border topography of Scotland, AD 1590, with a platt or map of the Borders taken in the same year' Archaeologia Vol. 22 p. 161-71 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1590, A Platt of the opposete Borders of Scotland to ye west marches of England (The Aglionby Platt) British Library online Gallery and [Old Cumbria Gazetteer >] (see also [Gatehouse Essay 'The Aglionby Platt' >])