A 15th century Northumberland pele tower which is said to be haunted by a mysterious “white lady” could be restored and opened to the public after a funding windfall.
The relic, which is located in Cresswell, is lying derelict and has become a popular site for vandalism and antisocial behavior.
Cresswell Pele Tower was built by the Cresswell family in the 15th century and is one of about 80 pele towers in Northumberland.
Currently the project has already received a £10,000 start-up grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but hopes to gain further funds that could stretch to £150,000.
As well as installing a replacement roof, new interiors and improving access, the investment will also seek to provide a modern twist, including electricity that will allow for exhibitions to be held within the tower walls.
According to the community project manager and local resident Barry Mead, the funding will not only return the building to its former glory but also improve many aspects of the wider community in the process.
He said: “This venture will preserve the heritage of not only the immediate area, but also Northumberland in general, attracting visitors whilst also giving local residents volunteering opportunities and heritage skills.”
Mr Mead, who is also a part-time historian and archaeologist, added that although further funding was imminent and the support for the project was widespread, reservations remained over the costs of maintaining the building after the work.
“The response has been incredibly positive from both English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund and also surrounding residents, but there are still concerns about ongoing costs once the work is complete, which we will have to address”, he added.
Enid Wild, 81, who has lived in the village for over 45 years was also supportive of the project and believes there are other social benefits to the work as well.
“It will give the tower a purpose, and a place for the village to gather. It ensures a recognisable landmark will finally have pride of place, instead of it being a popular drinking spot for youngsters from nearby holiday parks”, she said.
The decision on the extra funds is expected to be announced imminently, with the work to start as soon as possible.