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24 September 2014

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July 2003
Restoration - Cumbria
Brackenhill Tower
Brackenhill Tower

This summer, BBC TWO features a new call to action in the fight to save our architectural heritage, and offers the viewers a chance to join the Restoration campaign.


Brackenhill Tower
What it is and why it's important.
Information about the project from BBC Cumbria.
BBC Restoration
Homepage featuring all the buildings in the series.
The Grahams
Original owners of Brackenhill and feared throughout the Borders.
The Border Reivers
Who they were and what they did.
Lowther Castle
Cumbria's very own fairytale castle.
Newland blast furnace
Part of Cumbria's industrial heritage.
151 Queen Street
A piece of 18th Century luxury in the heart of modern town.


The Border Reivers - who they are, what they did and when they did it!

Tullie House museum ant Art gallery - one of the main archives for the Border Reivers.


Brackenhill Tower was built in 1584/6 by the Graham clan.

The architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner commented on Brackenhill Tower in his guide to the buildings of England. He said:
"... yet still a pele tower of medieval type, with the vaulted ground stage and the spiral stair in the corner. Corbelled-out battlements and a pitched roof with stepped gables-Scottish rather than North English. "


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With comedian and active conservationist, Griff Rhys Jones, at the helm, viewers will be asked to vote for and then help save one of 30 of our most endangered buildings.

The chimney at Brackenhill Tower
The chimmney at Brackenhill Tower.

Brackenhill Tower
Brackenhill Tower at Longtown near Carlisle is one of the 30 buildings. It's an exceptional example of a fortified Border tower house. Experts say that what makes it even rarer is that it's a Scottish-style tower sitting on English soil and is pretty much intact - even if it is in a precarious position.

With five feet thick walls of Cumbrian sandstone and 19th Century additions, it now sits rather forlornly among prefab buildings on a dairy farm.

Restoration of the tower is an opportunity to highlight the fascinating history of these cattle thieves and mercenaries who terrorised the border country after years of bloody conflict left it in a state of lawlessness.

Brackenhill tower is a type of building known as a 'pele tower'. This is a small defensive building about 10m x 15m and of two or three floors height. The ground floor of a pele would be used for the storage of goods and livestock whilst the upper floors were the living accomodations.

During the many border conflicts, the pele towers were a place of refuge for when the Reivers were abroad.

The tower in (much) more detail »

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