Pele Towers Of The Eden Valley
Pele towers on either side of the Scottish border are, like Hadrian’s Wall, visible relics of fifteen centuries of conflict between kingdoms united only for the last three.
These rectangular towers, often with surrounding walls, date from the early fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, and stand on sites formerly occupied by stockaded defensive enclosures. Many Cumbrian peles are distinguished by their size from additions made over the centuries, and because they were the family homes of their builders as well as providing shelter for population and livestock.
The frequency of peles in the Eden Valley is due to the presence of the great Roman causeway running parallel to the Eden from Hadrian’s Wall to Brough, where it bifurcates for York or Lancaster. This stone highway, with its tributaries, gave invading armies fast access to farms, villages and towns for plundering and burning. A thick-walled stone tower was often the only, and necessary, defence.
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