Craster Tower

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameCraster Tower
Alternative NamesCraucester; Crawster; Craister
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishCraster

Craster Tower now forms part of a modern building. Rectangular in plan with external measurements of 35feet N-S by 29ft 2 ins E-W. The entrance is in the east wall, and is now approached from the offices in the hall. There is an outer doorway and an inner one which opens into a vaulted basement. In the passage between these doors, on the left on entering, is the door of the wheel stair that went up in the wall, here 6'5" thick, near the SE angle of the tower. None of the steps are visible although it is believed that they exist behind the blocking. The three doors mentioned are all of late 14th cent character with slightly pointed heads formed out of two stones. The basement is vaulted and measures 27'7" x 16'5". It contains the remains of two slit windows and a blocked fireplace. The sash windows in the west wall of the first and second floors, and the battlements of the tower are modern (Hodgson 1820; Bates 1891; Bateson 1895).

At the time of investigation the occupants of Craster Tower were not available and the interior was not inspected. The exterior is devoid of architecture save in the SW wall where the windows in the 1st and 2nd floors are modern. The walls are built of squared ashlar and are in a good state of preservation (F1 JHO 17-MAR-55).

Craster Tower. Medieval tower, probably built in the 14th century, now incorporated into a house built in 1769. The east wing was added in the 19th century. L-shaped in plan, with the tower set at the junction between the 1769 south block and the east wing. Listed Grade 2 star (Listed Building Report). (PastScape)

Craster Tower. Built before 1415, owned by Edmund Craster (Long 1967).

The tower is a rectangular structure, 10.7m by 8.9m externally, its longer axis north-south. The walls are externally of squared ashlar, around 2m thick at basement level

Later buildings adjoin the south and east faces of the tower and an embattled screen wall, probably of late 18th century date, almost the full height of the tower, extends northwards from close to the west end of the north wall. The west front shows a chamfered plinth, tripartite Gothick windows to first and second floors and a moulded string below the embattled parapet. The only medieval opening is an apparent blocked loop to the south of the first floor window. On the north there is even less detail, simply a 20th century basement window, the string and the parapet. Internally, the tower has a basement 6.9m by 4.9m with a segmental barrel vault, entered by a lobby at the south end of the east wall. The lobby has an outer doorway with a two-centred arch carrying a simple broad chamfer and a doorway of similar form, unchamfered, into the basement. Whilst on the south side is a doorway with a segmental-pointed head, again chamfered, opening into a newel stair well. The stair itself has been removed and the well capped off by a domical brick vault at around first floor level, probably when a doorway (now blocked) was cut through its south side. The basement has a plain fireplace on the east, a late insertion (the external face of the wall, visible from within the adjacent building, shows a slightly projecting stack of rubble masonry). In the centre of the north wall is the modern window, set in the splayed recess of an earlier opening and flanked by two small wall cupboards, the eastern rebated for a door; at the south end is a similar recess, presumably housing a loop or window, now blocked by the adjacent building. The upper floors of the tower are said to display no pre-18th century features.

The wing on the east side of the tower, although extensively remodelled in the 19th century, incorporates older fabric. No dateable features survive from the earlier phase (said to be Tudor). Walling 1.15m thick and one heavy square ceiling beam suggest a 16th century or earlier date. In 1769 what was in effect a new house was built on to the south side of the tower, a block four bays deep by five wide, facing south. No architect is recorded but the style is very similar to that of some houses by William Newton. The upper floors of the tower were probably remodelled at the same time, in a Gothick rather than a Classical style and the present parapet built (Ryder 1994-5). (Northumberland HER)

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 ReferenceNU251195
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 55° 33' 23.63" Longitude -1° 38' 17.56"

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  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 66
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 132
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 40
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 181
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 27-8
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 331
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 216
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 124
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 89
  • Pevsner, N., 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 135
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 83
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Bateson, Edward (ed), 1895, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 2 p. 167-8 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 12, 19 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)
  • Hodgson, J., 1820, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Part 3 Vol. 1 p. 39 online copy


  • Craster, J., 1962-4, 'Craster Tower' History of the Berwickshire Naturalist Club Vol. 36 p. 136-42 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 12, 19 online copy

Primary Sources


  • Ryder, P.F., 1994-5, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland Part 1 Alnwick District p. 13-14