Scaleby Church of All Saints

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site, and also as a Possible Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameScaleby Church of All Saints
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishScaleby

Church. Probably early C13 with tower of early C14 and restorations of 1827-28 and 1860-62. Large blocks of dressed red sandstone, probably from the nearby Roman Wall; graduated green slate roof with coped gables and cross finial. 3 storey square west tower, 5 bay nave/chancel. Fortified tower has walls 1.3 metres thick, with slit windows and chamfered plinth, rebuilt above string course before 1790, with battlemented parapet of 1827 and corner pinnacles of 1828: square bell chamber openings, existed before 1790. Nave/chancel has buttressed walls with pointed lancets. Recessed C19 east window, suggests an infilled arch of the demolished chancel. C19 porch and vestry cover original north and south entrances: porch has stone slate roof with coped gable and cross finials: original entrance has round arch with 2 continuous chamfers and hood mould projecting to either side of porch. Interior: C19 vaulted pine ceiling. C19 pews have panels of carved Gothic tracery with lectern and pulpit of similar details. White marble wall plaques to members of the Fawcett and Farrer families of Scaleby Castle and Scaleby Hall, all early C19. 3 early C20 stained glass windows. Bowl and stem font is dated 1707 with inscription MH, NB, WB, CG, CHURCH WARDENS. Free standing inscribed Roman Altar, probably from Birdoswald, has been reused in C14 with carvings on back and side of clerics (heads missing). Interior of round arch east entrance to tower has draw-bar hole. There is a bench mark on the south-west corner of the tower. (Listed Building Report)

The strength of the lower part of the tower suggests that it almost certainly originated as a vicar's pele, but there is now little external evidence of this. (PastScape ref. Field Investigators Comments F1 BHP 13-MAR-72)

Gatehouse Comments

The west tower is separated from the nave by a narrow door with draw bar and is suggested as a 'pele tower' in some sources (Does this mean it was considered as a residence for the priest?). The upper chamber is a bell chamber, the ground floor is lit by loops. Gatehouse considers this unlikely as a residential tower and the fortification there is may be that needed to make the tower a strong rooms for the storage of deeds and monies of the village and church.

- 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 ReferenceNY447631
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  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 268-71
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 85 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 97
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth) p. 185


  • Graham, T.H.B., 1921, 'Scaleby' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 21 p. 139-51 online copy
  • Whitehead, H., 1884, 'Church Bells of the Border - Scaleby' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 7 p. 230-4 online copy

Guide Books

  • Palmer, Mrs J., 1972, Guide Book to All Saints Church Scaleby


  • Carlisle Diocese Church Buildings Audit 2007
  • 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) p. 207