West Witton Penhill Beacon

Has been described as a Rejected Pele Tower

There are masonry footings remains

NameWest Witton Penhill Beacon
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishWest Witton

Mentioned by Leland as "the ruine of a castlet or pill in the toppe of an hill" Rejected by King as a probable beacon site.

Penhill Beacon, situated on the edge of Penhill Crags is a turf-covered flat topped mound, about 10.0m in diameter and 1.0m high. In the centre of the mound are traces of stone block walling approximately 5.0m square, which may have been the stone base for a beacon. The mound is covered in burnt debris from the 1977 Jubilee bonfire which supports the beacon tradition. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments–F1 AGM 17-AUG-77)

Gatehouse Comments

It seems possibly that the site was used as a beacon in 1588 but Leland saw something here 50 years before that date. The hill top site is one that would well suit a beacon, and little else. It may be that the beacon keeper had a small habitation, which may have taken the form of a tower, although hardly likely to be a fortification.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE054867
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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 534 (reject)
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 p. 287 online transcription
  • Bogg, 1908, Richmondshire: an account of its history and antiquities (Elliot Stock) p. 640


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 570
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 134 online copy