Posted by: travelrat | May 13, 2015

Wraysholme Tower

Wraysholme Tower_copy

Allithwaite: 21st April 2015

With a little time on our hands, we drove down a narrow, single-track road to Humphrey Head. This is a limestone outcrop jutting out into Morecambe Bay, and mainly noted for the (disputed) fact that the last wolf in England was slain here in the way-back-when.

On the way there, we passed Wraysholme Tower.

Regular readers of these chronicles may remember my visit to Kirkhead Tower earlier this year (https://travelrat.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/kirkhead-tower/ ), having been wrongly informed it was Wraysholme Tower.

Kirkhead, however, is a ‘folly’, built sometime in the 18th Century. Wraysholme is much older, a pele tower dating back to the 15th Century. Pele towers can be found all over northern England and southern Scotland, and exist because of the Border Rievers.

The Rievers existed from the late Middle Ages right up to Stuart times, and generally consisted of feuding clans and families on both sides of the border, and they usually feuded by rustling each other’s cattle and sheep … although a little plunder and pillage on the way may have been conducted as well.

The best defence was to build a ‘pele tower’, usually, animals would be kept on the ground floor, which might have been used as a storage barn in quieter times, and accommodation would be on the upper storeys. On being warned of the approach of the Rievers, you’d simply herd your livestock into the tower, lock the door, and hope your feed held out until they decided to go rieving somewhere else.

Although it’s a Listed Building, and English Heritage have recently done some repairs to the roof, it’s not really possible to visit the Tower, as it’s on private land, and part of a working farm.

But, there is a convenient layby close to hand, from which a reasonable photo might be taken.

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