Braystones Memorial Tower
The Braystones Memorial tower was erected 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. A First World War memorial was added in 1920.
The original commemorative tablet records the names of local worthies present at its unveiling (June 1897); another tablet records the names of those men of Braystone who served in the Great War. Braystone Tower is a prominent landmark from both the countryside around and the sea.
It is of sandstone rubble construction with roughly dressed quoins and tooled dressings. The tower was formerly floored though it has now been gutted internally and has three stages with a battlemented parapet and corner turret.
The tower is located on a distinct rise, which is possibly a medieval motte, on the south bank of a meander of the Rive Ehen, to the east of Braystones village. It overlooks the agricultural land of the River Ehen floodplain area to the south and east of the tower, with Home Farm also to the south.
The form of the tower and its position on a distinct rise in relation to the adjoining low-lying floodplain ensures that it is a prominent landmark locally and can be seen from the area surrounding the floodplain and on the approach from Beckermet.
This local prominence reflects its origins as a memorial tower. As it originally had floors, it is presumed that there was ready access to the upper parts of the tower and it may have served as a viewpoint, though this is no longer the case.
The tower was built by local squire William Henry Watson to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Watson had inherited his wealth from his father, William Hough Watson, who invented Sunlight Soap, the world’s first packaged, branded laundry soap.
Following its opening in 1897 an annual sports day was held at the tower each year on Empire Day, May 24, and in subsequent years, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling competitions were also held there.
The 1920 war memorial commemorates ten local men who died in the First World War. It also honours local soldier Harry Christian, recipient of a Victoria Cross for the rescue of three comrades from a crater at the height of a ferocious bombardment at Cuinchy, France, in 1915.
As a Grade II listed building, the tower is of national importance and is therefore of High Heritage Importance, primarily for its historical value and through its association with a prominent local family.