Arnside – Arnside Tower

Location Arnside
Grid Ref SD 458770


Arnside Tower
Situated about a mile and a half outside of Arnside, and to the South East of Arnside Knott, Arnside tower is a spectacular and almost unique example of a Cumbrian pele tower. The oldest building in the parish, the tower was built in the late 14 or early 15th century, and was a free standing tower (most pele towers had outbuildings or were attached to a house or hall of some sort).
The tower would originally have been four and five storeys tall, however due to systematic dismantling and weathering and age, it is now both roofless and floorless. The tower was severely burned in 1602, probably through a domestic fire rather than as the result of an attack, but was repaired and then occupied. Between 1684 and 1690, the dismantling occurred, with building materials being removed to Beetham and Knowsley.
In 1884, the now already ruinous tower was subjected to a particularly severe storm, which resulted in the destruction of most of the south west angle of the cross wall, with the South wall also being damaged. The tower is now virtually split in two, with one portion containing the four storeys with domestic rooms, and the other portion containing the five storeys with the garde-robe and the taller part of the tower.
Most of the windows have had the decorative surrounds removed over the years, and are now no more than gaps in the masonry. The same can be said of all the doorways. Some of the parapet still remains on the north west wall and on the summit of the tallest part of the tower.
The turret staircase is still largely intact, although the interior of the tower is in such a state that it’s not recommended that the ruins be entered.
Good views of the remains can be seen from the footpath that runs right alongside the tower, and if you have a camera with a good zoom, some excellent landscapes can be taken with the tower in the centre framed against the trees.


Arnside Tower


Arnside Tower


Photos and words by Matthew Emmott.

Heritage Blog: Cumbria’s fortified history… – by Matthew Emmott.


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