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Gillalees Beacon

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Spade Adam Top; Spadeadam Top

In the civil parish of Askerton.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY57317183
Latitude 55.03916° Longitude -2.66957°

Gillalees Beacon has been described as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Bastle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry footings remains.


Supposed site of a tower or bastle.
Curwen refers to the foundations of a house.
Curwen gives no source (probably Maughan).
Cathcart King rejects this site and states 'identified as a cairn by Ordnance Survey field staff'.'
SMR record 76 reads 'Two large mounds...which may be natural. The top may have been an addition'. Also SMR record 74 'remains of 17th18th century sheep farm by the side of the Maiden Way. Probably not a fortified site. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

A list of beacons in Cumberland in the fifteenth century includes "Spadeadam Top .... Now known as Gillalees Beacon". (The trig point (and name "The Beacon") on Gillalees Beacon hill is at NY 5731 7183) (Ferguson).
Irregular traces of foundations of Beacon can be seen on the highest point of the ridge know as "The Beacon", formerly "Spade Adam Top" (Maughan).
No foundations are now visible (Field Investigators Comments F1 BHP 14-JUL-72).
The OS Triangulation Pillar is set on top of a turf-covered earth and stone mound about 7.0m diameter and 0.6m maximum height. There is not enough evidence to confirm this as the site of a beacon but it is an excellent position and the name is still known as it is most probably correct (Field Investigators Comments F2 ISS 24-APR-79). (PastScape)

Whilst it is clear that there was a beacon at, or near, the existing trig point it seems unlikely that any accommodation provided would be more than a crude hut, although probably this would have been (?dry) stone built.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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