Summer Walk No 11, Cresswell & Cresswell Tower - Tuesday 16th August 2016.

On Tuesday 16th August 2016, the penultimate walk on the Morpeth Camera Club Summer Programme was held at
the small coastal village of Cresswell. On a warm and sunny evening sixteen members met outside Cresswell Ices
before heading west across the designated village green that is known as "the links". Passing a Pant in the field wall,
we made our way to Cresswell Tower where Barry Mead, a local historian and archaeologist had agreed to give the
club a guided tour of the 15th Century Pele Tower that lies in private woodland adjacent to the holiday park.
Pele Towers are fortified houses that were built as a defence against the Border Reivers and the tower at Cresswell
is an outstanding example of such buildings. Although now standing alone it was once joined to a mansion house that
was demolished in the mid 19th century.
Barry led the group to the north side of the tower and after unlocking the large metal gate that secures the building
we entered the dark basement area. Once our eyes had become accustomed to the gloom the thickness of the walls
could be appreciated and our guide explained that this room would be used for storage and a place to protect the
livestock if an attack was imminent.
Leaving this room we climbed a stone staircase that spiraled clockwise that was purportedly a deliberate design to
afford an advantage to those defending the tower who had room to swing their weapons at the attackers who in turn
had little room and were impeded by the central column of the stairs. (It is believed that most people were right
handed at this time). Another feature was different height steps to force those going upstairs off balance.
The next floor was the main room with stone floors, fireplace, walled recesses and " the garderobe " or toilet. The
second floor was no longer in place but recesses in the walls and two large corbels indicated its presence. Members
then continued up the winding staircase to the roof walk. Standing fifty feet above sea level with views in all directions
the location was well chosen and standing on the 18th century battlements gave members a unique opportunity to
photograph the village and coastline.
Leaving the tower, we continued to the nearby St Bartholomew's church that serves the villages of Cresswell & Ellington.
This grade II listed stone church was built in 1836 by the Baker Cresswell Family and members were attracted to the
strange stone figures on the church entrance and several headstones in the churchyard. To end the evening the group
had a short look around the site of Cresswell Hall and the ruinous stable block and arcade before returning to our start
Morpeth Camera Club would like to thank Mr Barry Mead for sharing his amazing knowledge of Cresswell Tower and
the surrounding area, making it an interesting evening for the club and wish the " Friends of Cresswell Tower " every
success in their quest to restore this historic listed building.