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Wharton Hall

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY77080620
Latitude 54.45077° Longitude -2.35489°

Wharton Hall has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are uncertain remains.

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


Wharton Hall (Plate 156), at the N. end of the parish, is partly of two and partly of three storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The house belonged to the Wharton family down to the 18th century. The main block, consisting of a hall with two cross-wings, was built late in the 14th or early in the 15th century. A new great hall with a kitchen beyond it was added, to the S.E. of the earlier house, c. 1540, by Thomas, Lord Wharton. The gatehouse and the N.W. range were added c. 1559, though the small building adjoining this range is probably of earlier date. The original block became ruinous and was restored by Lord Lonsdale c. 1785 and with the N.W. range was converted into a farm-house. The later great hall and gatehouse range are now in ruins.
The house is an interesting example of the larger mediæval and later houses of the county.
The buildings surround an irregular courtyard (Plate 157) with the original block and later hall on the N.E. side and the gatehouse opposite. The S.W. front of the original block has an embattled parapet and the N.W. wing is of three storeys; the windows are mostly of the 16th century and of three, four and five four-centred lights in square heads with moulded labels; the middle window of the N.W. wing is probably an enlargement of the 18th century. Adjoining and of the same height as the S.E. wing is a two-storeyed porch, but the original doorway has been replaced by a 16th-century window and the upper window has been replaced by a doorway approached by an 18th-century or modern staircase. At the back of the original block, the two wings are gabled; on this side there are a number of smaller 16th-century and perhaps earlier windows and a window of c. 1700 lighting the staircase; at the S.E. end is a small annexe, perhaps a garde-robe tower. Inside the original block, the ground-floor of the S.E. wing has barrel-vaulting and is entered from the main block by two original doorways with shouldered lintels; one of these opens into a corridor crossing the wing and presumably communicating with the early kitchen; the thick wall between the main block and part of this wing may enclose a wall-staircase as is usual in houses of the period, but no signs of openings are now apparent. The ground-storey of the former porch has a barrelvault and a 16th-century flat-headed inner doorway. In the N.W. wing is a staircase of c. 1700 with turned balusters, partly modern, and square panelled newels with moulded pendants. The 16th-century Great Hall is much ruined; the hall itself appears to have stood on an undercroft presumably with a wooden floor as there is no trace of vaulting; the wall towards the court has mostly disappeared except for traces of a doorway at the S.E. end. The outer wall is better preserved and retains the moulded jamb of a large fireplace at the hall-level; further to the S.E. are remains of a projecting bay or chamber; at the lower level are remains of two loop-lights. The Great Kitchen (Plate 157) is still largely complete; it is of two storeys, the lower forming a basement, covered with a barrel-vault and lit by loops. The kitchen itself is very lofty and has two large fireplaces both of which have lost their arches but retain their relieving-arches; in the N.W. wall is a doorway with a three-centred head and traces of a second doorway. In the S.W. wall is a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch and above it are two windows each of three square-headed lights with four-centred heads below the transom. The masonry of the kitchen has a number of masons' marks. The N.W. Range of the courtyard is of mid 16th-century date and has a series of square-headed windows with moulded labels and pointed, three-centred or four-centred heads to the lights; in the outer wall are three original doorways with three-centred or four-centred heads; those in the inner wall are modern. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams. At the N.W. angle of the range is a small square building, now ruinous. It has remains of windows and a blocked fireplace in the N. wall. In the external face of the S. and W. walls is a series of eight square-headed recesses about 6 ft. above the ground. The Gatehouse Range forms the S.W. side of the courtyard; it is of mid 16th-century date and now ruinous. The gatehouse itself rises higher than the rest of the range and has inner and outer archways with jambs and segmental arches of one double-chamfered order with moulded labels; the outer archway has a draw-bar hole and above the head of the arch is a panel with a shield of the quartered arms of Wharton, the motto "Pleasur in acts darmys" and the date 1559. There are no windows, except one loop, on the outer face of the range and the windows on the inner face are mostly damaged; they are generally similar to those in the N.W. range but two have or had transoms. Inside the range are some original fireplaces, mostly damaged. The S.E. end of the range has been destroyed except for the outer wall. Beyond it the courtyard is enclosed by a curtain wall; this becomes of double thickness, near the Great Kitchen and encloses a 16th-century doorway with chamfered jambs, four-centred arch and a draw-bar hole. To the S. and S.W. of the house are some 16th-century farm-buildings, more or less altered. They retain some original windows and doorways with four-centred heads.
Condition—Of inhabited part, good; of rest, ruined. (RCHME 1936)

Originated as a tower and hall house of circa 1415, extended with a banqueting hall and kitchen circa 1540. A gatehouse, West wing (including Long Gallery and chapel) were added circa 1559. Restored in 1785 after several years as a ruin, the North-East and West ranges now form a farm, the rest is ruinous. (PastScape–ref. Perriam and Robinson)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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