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Marton Peel Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Hall stede

In the civil parish of Westby with Plumptons.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Blackpool.
1974 county of Lancashire.
Medieval County of Lancashire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD356315
Latitude 53.77585° Longitude -2.97868°

Marton Peel Tower has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such, and also as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


The hamlet of Peel, situated within, but close to the Lytham border of the township, contains in a field called Hall-stede, traces of the ancient turreted manorial mansion of the Holcrofts, of Winwick and Marton, (Dodsworth's MSS., c. xiii., p. 161 {sic}. These traces which were fairly evident forty years ago, have been in a great measure obliterated in more recent days.) and the remains of a moat out of which about sixty years ago a drawbridge and two gold rings were taken. (Porter 1876)

The PEEL in Little Marton was held by the Cliftons from the Earls of Derby long before they acquired the lordship; thus in 1522 William Clifton paid £2 of old rent and £2 of increment. (Derby Rental at Lathom. William Clifton in his will (1537) desired his trustees to obtain a grant of the Peel for the benefit of his son Thomas (Wills (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 71.). (VCH)

Baines' History of Lancashire mentions an old tower, set on ground 40 feet above sea level, at the hamlet of Peel. This Pele Tower was used as a refuge in times of trouble and was in a field called “Hall-stede” - stede meant place in old English) where an old moat could be traced. He also described “the finding of two gold rings and the woodwork of a drawbridge, a generation ago”. The hall was an “ancient, turreted, manorial mansion”, which was the residence of the Holcrofts of Winwick and Marton, and in 1460 (possibly) of Thomas de Tyldesley of Pele. The largest of the local ancient lakes, Curridmere (or Cursedmere), was nearby. It was mentioned in the 12th Century Charter of Lytham Priory; “One Cursed mere was near the priory; another was in the moss. The name was given because many beasts had been drowned therein” and the remains of a boat were found here in the 18th Century.
Peel Castle was still shown on the 1932 Ordinance Survey Map, between the Kirkham family's two farms and Gillett's farm, to the west of Peel Road.
Peel Hill is thought to be the location of the area's own motte-and-bailey tower (possibly of Norman origin), and was located a couple of miles away from the Peel Hill of today, at Peel Hall Farm on Ballam Road – almost opposite the mapped site of Peel Castle. (Nick Moore 2012)

Peel Hill at Peel Corner is where the experts believe Blackpool's own motte-and-bailey originally stood. (Hughes 2008)

No mention of castle or tower in Baines first edition of 1836 or in the VCH. Hughes does not identify his 'experts' which makes checking his statement most difficult. The is nothing recorded in the National Monument Record nor is Gatehouse aware of any mention of a site here by the people generally regarded as castle studies experts (i.e. D.J.C. King; Derek Renn) nor is it listed in inventory of North West Castles in Grimsditch, B. et al, 2012, Buckton Castle and the castles of North West England (Manchester: University of Salford). The location and the tenurial history given in the VCH are not suggestive of a castle site. The history in Porter seems more authoritative, but it should be noted how different that history is from that given in the VCH, and a small moated house, possible with a pele tower, is credible although rather more evidence is required to be secure in such identification. Peel is a relatively common place-name in the North West, not always associated with pele towers; it could just apply to a place with a fenced enclosure (perhaps just a stock enclosure) which, in the time of large open fields, might be notable enough to get used as a geographic identifier.
Nothing obvious for this possible site on either modern or 1847 OS map, area of many flooded clay pits any of which could have started as a moat (or be mistaken for a moat?). Peel Castle does not appear as a place-name, in any font, in the given location on the 1932 OS maps despite the statement by Moore (a map sent to me by Mr Moore - which he initially identified as a "1940s OS map" and when questioned about this identification stated was a "from the 1939 Tithe Map" {sic - presumably 1839 was meant} does show 'Peel Castle' marked in gothic script just south of Peel on the west of the road). The given map reference is, therefore, approximate only. The 'experts' mentioned by Brian Hughes but unidentified by him are not the Lancashire County Archaeologists, who have no record of this supposed motte, nor anyone Gatehouse recognises as an expert. It may be Hughes has misread or misunderstood a record for a possible moat here (Lancs HER PRN 12822 is a record of a possible moat identified by Dr T.C. Welsh in 1989), or has been mislead by claims of expertise made by the local 'historian', Mr Moore, which, in relation to castle studies, he certainly does not have (and who's inability to identify the date and source of maps shows a worrying lack of care). On the bases of an unsupported claim in an unlikely location a timber castle here is rejected. The authoritative, if somewhat elderly, VCH may suggest a small sub-manor house. Probably there was a homestead moat and a modest house, possible with some decorative battlements, of a common sort not usually identified as fortified, although this one does seem to have been grandified with a castle or tower name in some sources.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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