The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Sizergh Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Siserge; Siser

In the civil parish of Helsington.
In the historic county of Westmorland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Westmorland.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD49878787
Latitude 54.28412° Longitude -2.77151°

Sizergh Castle has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a certain Pele Tower.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The earliest remains are of c14 manor house which had a ground-floor hall, a crenellated four-storey solar tower, and a service block. This building was radically altered in the late 1550s and early 1560s by Walter Strickland who remodelled the solar tower, built a new hall with attics over at first-floor level, rebuilt the service block as a three-storey lower end tower with associated garderobe wing, and added two long wings, the south wing with a long gallery over lodgings, the north wing with a kitchen, service rooms and accommodation for upper servants. The fitting out of the interior continued after Walter's death in 1569, the later work including the Inlaid Chamber. Alterations were made throughout C18 to the circulation pattern of the house as well as to its fittings, as they were in C19 and early C20. (PastScape)

Sizergh Castle, nearly 1 m. S.E. of the church, is of two, three and four storeys; the walls are of local rubble and the roofs are covered with slates and lead. It came into the possession of the Strickland family in the 13th century. The earliest part of the building is the pele-tower at the S. end of the main block, which dates from the second half of the 14th century; there was almost certainly a building adjoining the tower on the N. and represented in part by the existing main block with its N. cross-wing; it was perhaps of one storey only, as indicated by the marks of a roof on the N. face of the tower. About 1560 the main block was reconstructed and heightened and the two long W. wings were added, the northern perhaps incorporating earlier work in the kitchen. A considerable amount of work was done at this time by Sir Walter Strickland and his widow, as is indicated by the dates of 1563, 1564, 1569 and 1575 on various overmantels. Alterations were made to the tower in 1749 and c. 1770–80 Cecilia Lady Strickland again reconstructed and heightened the main block. In 1891 the panelling and overmantel of the Inlaid Chamber were removed to the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 1898 the lowest storey of the main block was altered by the cutting of a carriage-way through it. (RCHME 1936)

Although now universally called Sizergh 'Castle', the castle honorific seems to be of recent origin, most C19 authors called it Sizergh Hall and the first use of 'castle seems to be in the late C19. In fact this is a large and impressive C14 pele tower in the sense of being a gentry status (The Sticklands were an important gentry family but not baronial) building in the form of a solar or chamber block tower attached to an unfortified hall. The additions of the C15 and C16 (another smaller tower and some wings) and a possible moat do, arguably, then make this a fortified manor house.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact