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Thornthwaite Hall, Bampton

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY51281629
Latitude 54.53956° Longitude -2.75417°

Thornthwaite Hall, Bampton has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Thornthwaite Hall was built in the second half of the 16th century and is an L-shaped two storey rubble built house with slate roof. The block at the south east angle was formerly a pele tower but is now used as a staircase wing. (PastScape–ref. RCHME)

Thornthwaite Hall, house and outbuilding about 1 m. S.S.W. of the church. The House is partly of two storeys and partly of two with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably in the second half of the 16th century when it belonged to the Curwen family. The block at the S.E. angle formed a tower and has a small wing on the N. and a long wing extending towards the W. There are modern additions on the N. side. The tower has ashlar quoins and an original six-light window in the S. wall, with a moulded label; it is now blocked. There is a three-light window above and some restored original windows in the E. wall. The tower is said to have been embattled, but it is now gabled. There are a number of original windows, with moulded labels, surviving in whole or in part, elsewhere in the house and there is the jamb of a doorway adjoining the N.E. angle of the wing N. of the tower, indicating a destroyed wall extending to the E. The upper floor of the W. part of the W. range is now approached by a long ramp, perhaps of the 17th century. At the W. end of the S. wall is a projection enclosing a garde-robe. Inside the building is an original fireplace with a four-centred head. (RCHME 1936)

Probably late C13 with later alterations. Stone rubble, part roughcast, some dressed quoins and ashlar dressings, slate roof. South elevation of 3 bays, 1st 4 bays form barn, originally part of house, rest roughcast, the end bay projects under gable. 1st bay breaks forward with set off to right, forming garderobe; buttress between 3rd and 4th bays. Ground floor to barn has 2 inserted windows; house has blocked light, paired-sashed window and small sashed window; gabled wing has 6-light double-chamfered- mullioned window, now blocked, the inner return with part to angle breaking forward, sash in chamfered reveal to right. 1st floor has 3-light double- chamfered-mullioned window with label, now blocked to 2nd bay; 3rd bay has similar window, one mullion missing; 4th bay has traces of window, 4th bay has label mould over later paired sash; wing has 3-light window, inner return with window to projection, skewed recess with small-pane fixed glazing. Cross-axial stack, and gable-end stack to wing. Garderobe opens into slab-covered stream. Elevation of 2 irregular bays with later recessed and lower bay to north. Sand- stone dressings. Ground floor has small-panel casement under label mould to 1st bay; 2nd bay recessed with angle canted above ground floor 2-light single- chamfered-mullioned window with small-paned glazing. 1st floor has 2 horizon- tally sliding sashes with glazing bars, that to 1st bay has label mould and narrow sashed light to right. 2nd bay attic light. Later bay has sashed windows and gable-end stack. North elevation has 2-bay outshut under catslide roof with small-paned casements, gabled dormers and entrance. To west, a stone ramp to inserted barn entrance. 4th bay has entrance in former 2-light window with label, similar window above, no mullion. End bay has later lean-to outshut and blocked 3-light window over. Interior of barn has 2 segmental-headed fire- places, remains of moulded plaster head to window, opening to garderobe, tie beam and strut trusses. (Listed Building Report)

In the Court of Requests there is a curious petition, dated 25 May, 1576, as follows:—Thomas Langhorne and others showing that whereas they and their ancestors time out of memory of man have quietly had and enjoyed possession of certain tenements according to ancient custom, in consideration of their service to be in readiness with horse, harness and other furniture to serve her majesty the Queen at their own cost and charges in defense of the realm against the Scots; but so it is that Sir Henry Curwen, lord of the lordship of Thornthwaite hath expelled twelve tenants and taken their land from them and hath enclosed it into his demesne and hath surrendered over the same lordship to Nicholas Curwen his son and heir." Have we not in this petition the first record of Thornthwaite Hall? Sir Henry providing an estate for his son whereon he could build for himself a home in imitation of a Border Pele. Nicholas was then 25 years of age and about to take to wife Anne, the daughter of Sir Simon Musgrave of Hartley Castle. Sir Nicholas died in 1604 and his son Sir Henry sold Thornthwaite to Lord William Howard, before 1612. Lord William used the Hall for convenience when hunting and he it was who built the banquetting hall. Francis Howard, who died in 1702, left the manor to his three daughters, the eldest of whom bought out the other two shares after marrying John Warwick, and their son Francis Warwick sold the manor to Edward Hasell of Dalemain, reserving to himself the Hall of which he died seised in the year 1772. The battlements were taken down last century and the tower, 31 by 27 feet, roofed over. (Curwen 1932)

Curwen appears to be suggesting this is an Elizabethan house built with some deliberate architectural references to an older 'border pele' style rather than rebuilding of an older pele tower, although the history he gives may be suggestive of a small house held by a tenant who did some military service.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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