Tower Brae

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

There are earthwork remains

NameTower Brae
Alternative NamesTowerbrae; Tower Brow
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishAskerton

About 1/4 mile NW of the 'The Beacon' (NY 57 SE 3) are the foundations of a tower, from which the hill gets the name 'The Tower Brow'. It was 15 x 8 yds and situated within the south side of a stone enclosure (Maughan).

There are no remains of a tower or stone enclosure around the area of Tower Brow (Field Investigators Comments–F1 BHP 14-JUL-72).

Tower Brae (NY 56917234) Referred to by Maugham in 1854 as a tower which had been taken down a few years previously. The house is 32-1/2 ft by 22 ft over 4-1/2 ft walls. Some 25 yds north are the remnants of an enclosure and scattered mounds of debris. No remains survive of the corn drying kiln noted in 1854 (Ramm et al).

NY 56827238 Set on the south end of Tower Brae at 280m OD. This whole site is now in a very poor state of preservation and barely discernible. It consists of an outline 10.0m east-west by 5.0m, between ill-defined turf banks about 1.3m wide and 0.3m maximum height. It is set against a boundary bank at its east end but is no poorly defined its exact relationship with it is not ascertainable. About 20m due north of this is a very similar rectangular banked area 13.5m east-west by 6.5m with its east end also apparently coincident with the boundary bank. There is no trace of the east end of its north side. It is now impossible to say exactly what these were but the southern one is probably the remains of the building referred to by Maughan and classified as a farmstead by Ramm et al, but if so, they have been very much robbed as there is no stone work to be seen and hardly any was found by probing. About 10m to the north of each is or rather amorphous shaped disturbed turf-covered earthern area each about 5.0m diameter and 0.5m maximum height no longer recognisable as distinct features (Field Investigators Comments–F2 ISS 15-JUN-79).

Described as the ruins of a bastle, possibly with a barmkin (Perriam and Robinson). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The Cumbria HER also records (SMR 75) 'documentary evidence of a peel tower' at NY570722, almost certainly the same building at a slightly different map reference. A pele-house not a pele-tower. (See also Wintershields)

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY568723
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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 176
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. lxviii (as doubtful bastle)
  • Ramm, H.G., McDowall, R.W. and Mercer, E., 1970, Shielings and Bastles (London: HMSO) p. 47 (listed as farmstead)
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 407


  • Dixon, P.W., 1972, 'Shielings and bastles: a reconsideration of some problems' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 50 p. 249-58
  • Maughan, J., 1854, 'The Maiden Way: survey of the Maiden Way from Birdoswald, the station Amboglanna, on the Roman wall, northward into Scotland; with a short description of some remarkable objects in the district' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 11 p. 15 online copy