`

Fresh dig unlocks more pele tower mysteries

The pele tower at Cresswell.
The pele tower at Cresswell.

A new archaeological dig close to the ruins of a reputedly haunted 15th Century pele tower in a Northumberland coastal village has unearthed more secrets of its past.

Work is expected to start shortly on the repair and restoration of the building, which overlooks Cresswell, thanks to a grant of £677,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Altogether, the project has received a total of £780,600 from the National Lottery as well as other backers including Northumberland County Council, local county councillor Scott Dickinson, CELL Big Local and Parkdean Resorts on whose land it is situated.

Once repair and restoration work is carried out, the Grade II-listed tower will be removed from Historic England’s At Risk register.

The work – which will include adding a new roof, re-pointing stonework, glazing over its windows, re-laying floors and creating a viewing gallery so it can be opened to the public – is being planned by Cresswell Pele Tower Charitable Trust, with support from Greater Morpeth Development Trust.

Before it begins, a second archaeological dig has been carried out by dedicated volunteers on land around the tower and they will be putting their latest finds on display on Sunday between 11am and 3.30pm.

Assistant project co-ordinator and local resident, Barry Mead, said: “We have dug down to the foundations of the tower and found a mix of other wall foundations and floor surfaces, some of which are medieval.

“It looks like one of the wall’s foundations is of a structure which pre-dates the tower itself.

“We have also found carved stonework, medieval pottery and a roof tile that probably came from the original tower (c1400) and had been re-cycled to line a later drain.

“Our next step is to hopefully excavate a possible pre-historic enclosure ditch just south of the Golden Sands Holiday Park.”

Guided tours of the tower’s excavation trenches will be led by volunteer diggers and Barry will be at Cresswell Village Hall on the open day showing visitors the latest finds.

Admission to the open day is free.