Ancroft Church of St Ann

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameAncroft Church of St Ann
Alternative NamesAncroft Vicars Pele; St Anne Church; Ancrofte
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAncroft

Built as a chapel of ease in the Norman period. A fortified tower was added to the west end of the nave in the late C13. This tower has a tunnel-vaulted ground floor and a spiral stair giving access to the two upper floors. Originally, entry was only possible via the church but a doorway giving onto the churchyard was later inserted. The church was restored in 1836 and again in 1870, when the nave was extended to the east and the chancel rebuilt. The tower was restored in 1886. (PastScape)

Parish church. Nave C12. West end raised into a tower C13. Restored 1836 and again in 1870 when the nave was extended, the chancel rebuilt and the door and windows replaced. Tower restored 1886. Squared stone; Welsh slate roof. Romanesque style. Chancel, nave and west tower. Nave south side is C12 as far as the mid-point buttress. Blocked south door with 3 orders of arches, the outer order with worn beakhead, the whole set slightly forward from wall face under a gable; an C18 sundial on the gable. Original C12 corbel table and large buttress, formerly at south-east corner of nave. Extended to east, new windows and new south doorway added in similar style in 1870. Above the corbel table the tower was raised. On the south side it has 2 lancet windows and 2 slit windows to the newel stair. On the west aide the roof mark of the gable of the original towerless church can be seen, as can the band where the corbel table was cut away. This side has 2 faucets and a C12 window with shafts. The corbel table formerly continued on the north side; one arch remains. 2-bay chancel in similar style. Interior: the tower was built to be defensible. It has a tunnel-vaulted ground floor blocking the C12 doorway, and a stone newel stair in the corner. Nave and chancel entirely C19 inside. Chancel arch quite elaborate with chevron and billet moulding. King-post roofs with arched braces resting on stone corbels with good naturalistic carving. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Often called a pele tower although clearly a fortified church tower.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceNU002451
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Copyright Lisa Jarvis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.View full Sized Image
Copyright Lisa Jarvis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.View full Sized Image
Copyright Paul Macrae and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.View full Sized Image
Copyright Paul Macrae and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.View full Sized Image

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Primary Sources


  • Kelland, C.H., 1982, Ecclesiae Incastellatae: A Documentary and Architectural Study of the Concept of 'Fortified Churches' in England and Wales (M.Phil. Thesis, 2 vols, University College, University of London)