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Name:Hellifield Pele, Hellifield
NY SMR Number:MNY21886
Type of record:Building
Last edited:May 18 2022 3:05PM

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument () NY1118: Hellifield Peel
Grid Reference:SD 859 555
Parish:Hellifield [5042]; Craven; YDNP

Monument Type(s):

Other References/Statuses

    Full description

    Hellifield Pele Tower is included in a dissertation. A solar tower and tower house, the earliest phase probably 14th century when a tower solar was added to an aisled hall. The Hall was later removed probably in the 15th century and the tower extended to form a tower house. There was a licence to crenellate in 1440. Further altered in the 17th and 18th C. (Degnan, S) (1).

    Hellifield appears in Domesday as Helgefeld, meaning 'Helgi's' open land in Old Norse. Hellifield Peel has been associated with the Hamerton family for over 800 years. The history of the tower is sparsley recorded in documented history. A report in 1983 by Ryder and Birch identified at least four building periods of a piecemeal nature. Briefly Phase 1 was late 13th-early 14th century, probably the eastern end may date from this period. Built as a rectangular block 14.8m x 7.8m and may have been a tower solar to an existing or contemporary aisled hall of whcih ni trace remains. Phase 2 were 15th century modifications including the abandonment of the aisled hall and conversion of the solar tower into a tower-house with projecting turrets, an addition to its south and a walled-round well, found under the flags of a coal cellar in the 19th century. Phase 3 was the conversion to a 17th century house by extending the addition of a west wing, a three storied gabled block, 8.5m x 8.5m, probably replacing a small lean to structure between two turrets.The main tower was refurbished. Phase 4 was 18th century re modelling of windows, a new block infilled between west wing and north turret, a servants wing on the west end whcih is no longer extant. A further extension was built just before WW1 on the eastern side. Local residents remembered the Peel was used for POW during the second world war.(Berg, D) (2)

    A short history of Hellifield Peel is in Northern Vernacular Buildings Journal. The owner Stephen Hamerton was involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 tried for treason and the house taken by the Crown until 1561. The Hamerton line died out after the last heir in 1865 afterwhich no male heir was born. The house stayed in private hands into the 1940's when it became a POW camp. After this it was a home for displaced persons. Between the 1950's and 70's it was left to decay. (3)

    A structural Survey report from 1992 is missing(4)

    A short update of work to restore of Hellifield Peel is in Northern Vernacular Buildings Journal in 2006. The project was to be shown on Grand Designs.(5)

    An article in Post Medieval Archaeology reports a programme of works at Hellifield Peel. The work included documentary and cartographic research, earthwork survey, building recording and arcaheological trenching, also see MNY31765, 39636, 39367, 39641, 39968. The earliest fabric of the Peel Tower dates to the alte 13th or early 14th century, with remodelling and renovation in the 15th, early 17th, late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Peel sits within a D shaped enclosure and modest 18th century parkland. (6)

    An article discussing the licences granted to crenellate in Yorkshire was included in Medieval Yorkshire in 2017. Hellifield Peel is listed in the gazeteer with the date of the licence as 13th October 1440. (Davis, P) (7)

    Further information can be found on the website for the Gatehouse Gazeteer. The Tower was restored in 2005 but the oldest part of the building had collapsed.This was originally a chamber block attached to a Hall built by Sir John Harcourt and reconstructed as a self contained tower house by Laurence Hamerton. (Davis, P) (8)

    <1> University of York, 1993, DISSERTATION: Yorkshire Pele Towers, p 48 (Manuscript). SNY7152.

    <2> Archaeological Services WYAS, 04/2003, Hellifield Peel and Homestead Hellifield Documentary Research, Field Survey and Archaeological Evaluation (Report). SNY8481.

    <3> Northern Vernacular Buildings, 01/2004, Hellifield Peel (Article). SNY8521.

    <4> English Heritage, 12/1992, Hellifield Peel, North Yorkshire Structural Condition Report (Report). SNY9832.

    <5> Northern Vernacular Buildings, 2006, Hellifield Peel Update (March 2006) (Article). SNY11006.

    <6> Post Medieval Archaeology, 2003, Post Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2002 (Serial). SNY21713.

    <7> Medieval Yorkshire, 2017, Yorkshire Licences to Crenellate, p39 (Article). SNY22629.

    <8> Philip Davis, The Gatehouse Gazeteer (Webpage). SNY22630.

    Sources and further reading

    <1>SNY7152 - Manuscript: University of York. 1993. DISSERTATION: Yorkshire Pele Towers. Degnan, S. p 48.
    <2>SNY8481 - Report: Archaeological Services WYAS. 04/2003. Hellifield Peel and Homestead Hellifield Documentary Research, Field Survey and Archaeological Evaluation. Berg, D. 2003/04/22.
    <3>SNY8521 - Article: Northern Vernacular Buildings. 01/2004. Hellifield Peel.
    <4>SNY9832 - Report: English Heritage. 12/1992. Hellifield Peel, North Yorkshire Structural Condition Report. Hume, I. Photocopy.
    <5>SNY11006 - Article: Northern Vernacular Buildings. 2006. Hellifield Peel Update (March 2006). Hudson, P.
    <6>SNY21713 - Serial: Post Medieval Archaeology. 2003. Post Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2002. Michael Ponsford.
    <7>SNY22629 - Article: Medieval Yorkshire. 2017. Yorkshire Licences to Crenellate. Davis, P. p39.
    <8>SNY22630 - Webpage: Philip Davis. The Gatehouse Gazeteer. Davis, P.

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