The Cresswell Pele Tower Community Archaeology Project is well underway with both geophysics surveys and fieldwalking exercises having already been completed. The fieldwork will be taking place in mid-February.
Cresswell Tower, a 15th century pele tower, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a Grade II* Listed Building and it is also on Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' Register. Pele towers are peculiar to Northumberland, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders and are miniature castles built in response to raids by the Border Reivers. Cresswell Pele Tower is a relatively well preserved but roofless structure, probably built in the 15th century, and is the only surviving structure of the Medieval seat of the Cresswell family. In the mid 18th century it became part of a mansion house. This house itself was demolished in the 19th century and by the late 1960s the tower was derelict.
The tower has been the focal point of the village for over 500 years, but it is inaccessible in its current state. The wish of the local community is for the tower to be restored and made accessible so that it can become a valued and appreciated heritage asset for current and future generations. In 2014 Cresswell Parish Council was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Start Up Grant to carry out preliminary work on the tower. This work inspired the council to seek funding to fully restore, interpret and open the tower while using the opportunity to broaden community involvement, including local schools, through a community archaeology and archive project.
Please check the ARS Ltd website News section for regular updates as to how the project is progressing.