Northumberland Border raiders at Ancroft
13th April, 2015
When spending time visiting the beautiful Northumberland countryside, take a look at the ancient church of St Annes in the little village of Ancroft, Nothumberland. It was built by the monks of Holy Island just at the time of the Norman Conquest and lies six miles from Berwick upon Tweed. Holy Island is visible from the top of the tower.
Close to the border with Scotland from the late 13th Century to the 16th Century, Ancroft was subject to border raiding parties. The church’s tower is a Pele tower and was constructed at the start of this period, over the western end of the nave. Pele towers were intended to be watch towers, where signal fires could be lit to warn of approaching danger. It is
unusual to have this style of defensive tower as a part of a church.
Other unusual features are to be found In the churchyard. A little to the west of the tower is the headstone marking the grave of eight Poor Clare sisters who escaped from Rouen during the French Revolution and who lived at nearby Haggerstone Castle.
Just inside the churchyard gate are some steps known as ‘louping on stane’ by which a lady who was going to ride behind a horseman could mount in a dignified manner!