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Peel Crag

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Peel on the Wall, Peel Gap; Steel Rig

In the civil parish of Henshaw.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY75226755
Latitude 55.00189° Longitude -2.38879°

Peel Crag has been described as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Bastle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The remains of a medieval building lie buried next to Hadrian's Wall. It was excavated in 1911 and revealed a square building built of reused Roman stones. The excavations also found medieval pottery. Today, the site of the building is just a slight platform up to 0.4m high, still with its 1911 excavation trenches and spoil heaps visible. The building has often been described as a tower, but its walls do not really seem to be substantial enough for it to have been such a building and it is now thought more likely to have been a farmhouse. (Keys to the Past)

A medieval tower is located in Peel Gap abutting Hadrian's Wall. It was probably part of the original pele tower which gave its name to the modern farmhouse and adjacent crag. It survives as a slight platform with excavation trenches and spoil heaps, up to 0.4m high. It was excavated by Simpson in 1911 who recovered medieval green glazed pottery from the interior. (Scheduling Report)

The site of a small, 14th/15th-century, border pele. Excavated 1911 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book 1920).
There are no structural remains of the tower. Its site is visible as a slight platform, at NY 7522 6755, with traces of foundations (F1 RWE 23-SEP-66).
Slight platform with excavation trenches and spoilheaps up to 0.4m high. It should be noted that Authority 2a gives no context for the medieval pottery, which is the only dating evidence for this feature. The tower is adjacent to the south face of Hadrian's Wall (Mark Bowden/17-FEB-1988/RCHME: Hadrian's Wall Project).
There are no surviving documentary references to this pele (Simpson 1976).
Some fragmentary banks, visible on air photographs, were mapped as part of the Hadrian's Wall National Mapping Project in the location of the tower. It is not certain whether these features represent remains of the tower itself or the excavation trenches/spoil (NMR NY 7567/17 (16653/52) 18-MAY-1999). (PastScape)

Site suggested as a 'pele tower' based on placename and some ill described finds of 'medieval' pottery (described as Green-glazed which can be early modern in this area). It should be noted that 'Peel' is a term used for several different forms of buildings and structures. In this case the 'peel' may have been a pele-house (a simple bastle) inhabited by a tenant farmer and of C16/C17 date. It seems unlikely it was a gentry status pele-tower.
Part of the 'Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Hadrian's Wall)' World Heritage site 430.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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