Le Peile, Cornforth

Has been described as a Possible Pele Tower

There are no visible remains

NameLe Peile, Cornforth
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishCornforth

There may have been a castle here, called 'Le Peile' in C15 documents. (King)

A messuage called 'le Peile,' in Cornforth, perhaps a fortified tower, is frequently mentioned in 15th-century leases (Dur. Rec. cl. 3, no. 16, fol. 263; 17, fol. 34; 18, fol. 107.) (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

Called a possible castle by King. King tended to use the term 'possible' for sites which were markedly doubtful but it is unclear if he thought this was a doubtful castle site, a doubtful pele tower site or a doubtful castle site but possible pele tower site. (although it has to be said King did not like or use the term pele tower.) The tenurial history given in the VCH would exclude a castle, or a manor house of any status, but a vicars tower or a stewards house with some defensibility are possibilities. It is also possible one of the several freeholders in the manor had a defensible house. However, the evidence does seem to be strictly placename evidence and the term 'le Peile' may have other possible origins or significance. The given map reference is for the parish church of Holy Trinity. It should be noted this is NOT a medieval parish church. This map reference is approximate and is given as a starting point only. Cornforth, as with other mining and quarrying towns, may have moved since the medieval period. However, the site of the messuage 'le Peile', whatever its nature, is likely to be within 2km of this reference. Extensive quarrying in the area means there is a high possibility the site has been destroyed.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid Reference(VCH)
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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 139 (possible)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1928, VCH Durham Vol. 3 (London) p. 205 online transcription

Primary Sources

  • Dur. Rec. cl. 3, no. 16, fol. 263; 17, fol. 34; 18, fol. 107.