Tower on the Moor

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameTower on the Moor
Alternative NamesWoodhall; Tour of the Moore
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishWoodhall Spa

The medieval fortified tower at Tower on the Moor survives well as a series of standing remains and buried deposits. Tower on the Moor is one of a unique group of fortified brick buildings on the edge of the Lincolnshire fenland and as such it will preserve valuable evidence of the way in which this group of high-status sites interrelated as distinctive components of the medieval landscape. It is also a rare example of the early use of locally produced brick. As a result of archaeological investigation the remains of the tower are quite well understood, while the majority of deposits are left intact.

The monument includes the known extent of the standing and buried remains of a medieval brick fortified tower known as Tower on the Moor. The tower is believed to have been built in the mid-15th century as a hunting lodge for Ralph Lord Cromwell, whose fortified house was located 6km to the south at Tattershall Castle. Documentary sources indicate that the tower was partly dismantled in the latter part of the 15th century when bricks from the Tower on the Moor were used for repairs at Tattershall Castle. The remains of the tower survive as a buried feature, although the projecting stair turret still stands and is Listed Grade II star.

The octagonal stair turret originally projected from the north west corner of the tower. Standing four storeys high, it is built chiefly of red brick, thought to have been locally produced, laid in English bond. An arched doorway on each floor provided access between the stair turret and the tower. The stair turret is lit by three small brick arched windows and one small square window with stone dressings. Putlog holes in the turret brickwork indicate the position of former scaffolding dating from its construction.

Sections of the tower walls project from the south eastern side of the stair turret

The visible remains of the tower walls measure up to 2m in length and stand up to three storeys high with bonding scars visible on the upper storeys of the turret wall. Archaeological excavation of part of the buried foundations has indicated that the tower measured approximately 9m square. It would have provided accommodation such as storage at the first storey and domestic and private accommodation on the upper storeys. A partly exposed section of brick wall suggests that a secondary brick structure was at some time built against the north side of the tower. Tower on the Moor has close architectural parallels with the Great Tower at Tattershall Castle and with two other contemporary fortified houses near Boston, Rochford Tower and Hussey Tower. (Scheduling Report)

Fragmentary ruin of a tower, only the north west stair tower remains relatively intact. C15, built by the Cromwells of Tattershall Castle. Red brick, originally of 4 storeys, the standing octagonal stair tower is 60 feet high. No details remain but a window opening with semi-circular head can be seen at the top of the tower, some worn stone string courses remain, and the putlog holes are clearly visible. (Listed Building Report)

One of the Cromwelles buildid a preaty turret caullid the Tour of the Moore. And thereby he made a faire great ponde or lake brikid about. The lake is communely caullid the Synkker. (Leland)

Gatehouse Comments

Where was the brick revetted pond called the Sinker? There is now little evidence for the park which once spread from Tattershall Castle to this hunting lodge.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTF210639
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

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Latitude 53° 9' 33.18" Longitude 0° 11' 25.53"

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  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 73
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 68
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 323
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 148
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 265 (possible)
  • Marquis Curzon and Tipping, H.A., 1929, Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire (London) p. 182, plate 26
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
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  • Weir, G., 1820, ‪Historical and descriptive sketches of the town and soke of Horncastle‬ (London) p. 97-8
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 173


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 300
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (Bell and Sons; London) Vol. 4 p. 115 online copy
  • Hearne, T. (ed) 1769, (3edn), The itinerary of John Leland the Antiquary Vol4. part 2 p. 58 online copy


  • Hurst, D. Gillian, 1970, 'Medieval Britain in 1969, II, Post-Conquest' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 14 p. 191 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Simpson, W.D. (ed), 1960, The building accounts of Tattershall Castle, 1434-1472 (Lincoln Record Society 55) p. 39, 78 and note


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 25 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 26 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 26 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 26 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 39 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 37 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 17 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 40 online copy
  • English Heritage. 2000. Revised scheduling document 33125. MPP 23