St Michaels Mount, Workington

Has been described as a Possible Pele Tower

There are no visible remains

NameSt Michaels Mount, Workington
Alternative NamesHow Micheal
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishWorkington

A tower 23-1/2ft. & 17ft. repaired early 19th Cent. Probably carried the beacon in 1468 and 1688 (Collingwood 1923). Destroyed in 1946 to make way for a slag tip (OS Record – H Valentine Sept 1948)

St. Michael's Mount or How Michael is a typical small pele tower. Itis built of rough masonry with narrow loophole windows except that two larger, unornamented, windows face landwards. The arched ground floor measures 23-1/2 by 17ft. and there is a narrow winding stair to the upper floor. Although called Watch Chapell (State Papers (Domestic) 1569 (PRO)) in 1569 and Holme Chapel by Pennant (1726-1798) it is quite unlike a chapel. It stands on Chapel Bank Hill 90ft above sea level, the only considerable hill in the parish. The hill is probably the Workington Hill given in a list of Mid-15th century beacon sites (Nicholson & Burn). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

A harbour beacon, for local fishing ships, rather than a warning beacon for Scottish raids although this fanciful idea has been suggested. The site appears to have now been destroyed by quarrying since being covered by a tip.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNX985283
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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 108
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 335
  • Whellan, W., 1860, The History and Topography of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmorland (Pontefract: W.Whellan and Co.) p. 464 online copy
  • Nicholson, J. and Burn, R., 1777, History of Westmorland and Cumberland (London) Vol. 1 p. xliv fn online copy


  • Collingwood, W.G., 1923, 'An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Cumberland' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 23 p. 250 online copy
  • 1900, 'Excursions' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 16 p. 52 online copy


  • English Heritage, 2006, Extensive Urban Survey - Cumbria (Cumbria County Council) Download copy