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Liddell Strength Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
pele of Liddel; Liddel Moat

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY40187418
Latitude 55.05849° Longitude -2.93802°

Liddell Strength Tower has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Contained within the inner ward of Liddell Strength castle are the severely reduced remains of a pele tower, surviving as a turf-covered bank, up to 0.9 m high internally, enclosing an irregular sub-rectangular area, about 8 m NW-SE by 5 m transversely. No wall faces or any structural remains are exposed; probing revealed some stone content but this was inconclusive.
The tower was last seen in the late 18th century as the foundations of a square building (Pennant; Hutchinson); Roy's plan of 1752 (Roy) shows at this position the roofless remains of a building, measuring about 13 m NE-SW by 8 m transversely within a wall some 2 m thick. The tower was probably erected some time after the destruction of the castle in 1346, and went out of use in the late 16th century (Curwen). (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments–Keith Blood/06-MAY-1992/RCHME: Liddel Strength Survey)

Recorded in Gatehouse as a separate site from the earthwork castle as this is suggested as a reuse of an old site rather than a continuation of use of the site (the castle was destroyed in 1346). PastScape also have separate record for the tower. However most authors record the two sites together and the bibliography for the castle should be consulted.
Certainly gone by time of Leland's survey. A map of the debateable Lands dated 1552 shows 'the mote of Liddall' as a mound with a tower marked 'fergus grame' to the west. 'fergus grame' is clearly The Mote (Highmoat) so it seems the tower within the old earthwork castle had gone out use well before 1552, no later primary sources suggest a dwelling in use here after that date. The later history given by Curwen (1910) actually seem to refer to the Graham tower at Highmoat (see also Graham 1909). There certainly was a rectangular masonry building within the old earthworks, although Roy's plan should be viewed with caution as should Hutchinson's account of a 'square tower of excellent masonry' which is quite a leap from his sources (Stow) description of 'the foundations of a square building'. There doesn't seem to have been any high status occupation of the site after the C14 (The castle was in royal hands but without any castellan or money spent on upkeep). The foundations may, therefore, represent a C14 or earlier building (possibly the chapel mentioned in 1282 - Roy does show it as having an east-west orientation) within the castle or a building of C15 or early C16 date of non-gentry status. Gatehouse would favour the former, although occupation and adaptation of such a building as a 'peasant/yeoman' dwelling after the abandonment of the castle by the gentry could certainly be possible. The erosion of the old earthworks by the River Liddel is apparent on the Roy plan and continued afterwards until the construction on the railway below the site and fear of sudden landslip may well have made the place unoccupiable.
Not to be confused with Liddel Tower, Nicholforest.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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