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The Crew

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Crew Castle; Crewhead; Crewe

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY56857786
Latitude 55.09339° Longitude -2.67768°

The Crew has been described as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a certain Bastle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Crew Castle is a roofless bastle now standing to ground floor height. It is constructed of calciferous sandstone rubble and measures 7.6m by 5m internally with walls 1.6m thick and up to a maximum of 2.6m high. The building is now used as a sheep pen but survives well with architectural features such as gun loops or ventilation holes, a projecting plinth and large flush quoins. It was recorded in a document of 1583. (PastScape)

"Crew Castle has no history attached to it, but it is reputed to have been the birthplace of a moss-trooper named 'Hobbie Noble'." It comprised a tower about 30' by 21' externally, with entrances in the north and south walls. The south and west walls were pierced with port-holes, evidently only for ventilation (Graham). The remains of a peel tower measuring 10.7 m x 8.1 m externally, with walls 1.6m thick and up to 2.7m high. The building is now used as a Sheepfold. (First Ordnance Survey Archaeology Field Investigator 11/07/1972). (PastScape)

Despite being presently used as a sheep pen and being flanked by other sheep pens and a lean-to shed on two sides, Crew Castle bastle survives in fair condition and retains a number of original architectural features. It is one of a number of surviving bastles in the parishes of Bewcastle and Askerton close to the Scottish border and is a good example of this class of monument.
The monument includes Crew Castle, a roofless bastle now standing to ground floor height only, located on the hillside c.120m south of Crew Farm. It is constructed of calciferous sandstone rubble and measures approximately 7.6m by 5m internally with walls 1.6m thick and up to a maximum of 2.6m high. There is a doorway in the south wall and a blocked doorway opposite in the north wall. Two apertures, one in the south wall and the other in the west wall, each consist of a small circular hole set in the thickness of the wall which splays outwards towards both the external and internal sides of the wall; these have been interpreted as either ventilation holes or gun loops for defensive purposes. Other architectural features include a projecting plinth around the bastle's perimeter and large flush quoins at the corner. Rubble from the upper storey has fallen outwards and lies adjacent to the north east and north west sides and the western corner of the bastle, and in places forms heaps of debris as high as the adjacent bastle wall. Tradition states that Crew Castle bastle was the birthplace of Hobbie Noble, a moss-trooper or border reiver. Documentary sources indicate that Will Noble 'of the Crew was murdered by Old Whithaugh' in 1583. (Scheduling Report)

There are some difficulties with the typology of this building. It is probably a peel-house bastle of unusually form.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:47

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