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 

Gresgarth Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Greagarth; Grassyard

In the civil parish of Caton With Littledale.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Lancashire.
1974 county of Lancashire.
Medieval County of Lancashire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD53256332
Latitude 54.06369° Longitude -2.71575°

Gresgarth Hall has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


House, assumed to be built for Thomas Edmondson in 1802, but stylistically possibly a little later, with some medieval remains. Sandstone rubble with slate roof. Main facade is a balanced composition with one bay on each side of a 3-storey porch and a one-bay wing projecting at the left. These have embattled parapets except for the bay to the left of the porch, which is gabled, and string courses. The windows have hoods, outer casement mouldings, inner hollow chamfers, and 2 cinquefoiled lights separated by a mullion, containing sashed windows with glazing bars. The porch has a corner turret and a wide moulded outer doorway with Tudor-arched head. To the right of the facade is a projecting gabled wing of chapel-like appearance. It has angle buttresses and a single tall window of 3 cusped lights and outer casement moulding under a Tudor-arched head. The left-hand return wall of the house (at the north-east) contains a doorway, possibly C16th, with hollow chamfer and pointed head. Adjoining the front wall at the left-hand side of the facade is a short wall containing a moulded door surround with Tudor-arched head and a re-set datestone inscribed: 'CG 1650'. The wall terminates with a buttress, where it abuts a garden wall not included in the item. The garden facade, facing south-west, is of 5 bays, the 2 right-hand bays forming a gabled projection with angle buttresses. The window openings rise through 2 storeys, with casement mouldings, Tudor-arched heads, and hoods. Within these openings are moulded timber window frames with 2 cusped lights on each floor, and glazing bars. Between the 2 storeys is a band of tracery decoration. The 3rd bay has a ground-floor door with tracery decoration and Tudor-arched head. The rear, south-east, facade has a plain central block with a ground-floor bow window, thought to be the remains of an 18th century house which was re-modelled: this could be the house of 1802. Interior. The ground-floor ceiling of part of the north-east wing is formed by a wide plastered stone barrel vault, now partly cut through by a passageway. This is probably the remains of a medieval defensive building. The rear wall contained until recently a 2-light hollow-chamfered mullioned window of late C16th type, now re-set in a rear wing. The vaulted wing contains a moulded shouldered fireplace of early C18th type, re-set from another building. The rear room of the central block, with a bow window, contains a plaster cornice of early C19th type. The open-string stair has square newels, a ramped handrail, and cast iron tracery infill. The south-west wing contains 2 ground-floor marble fireplaces, the rear one in a Gothic style. (Listed Building Report)

The Gresgarth tower may have been begun in 1330 following Curwens arrival. John Curwen would have felt particularly vulnerable in view of the families participation in the Scottish wars. He would also have been familiar with the architecture of the tower house whose evolution began in the border region with the troubles of the early fourteenth century ...
The oldest surviving portions of Gresgarth Hall consist of a two storey building, 48' long and 27', wide, with a tunnel vault on the ground floor. This building is embedded in later additions but the end walls can be recognised externally by their massive, rougher masonry. It is not to be confused with the Gothick Revival tower visible from the road. The side walls which carry the vault are 4' thick and the end walls 3'6". The central portion of the vault has been removed, probably when Gresgarth was remodeled early in the nineteenth century and various doorways and windows have been inserted on the ground floor in later, more secure, times. Such tunnel vaulted ground floors were usually lit only by narrow slits in the end walls and one of these survives at A where it now illuminates the larder. The southwest wall has been removed at first floor level but the north east wall and parts of the adjacent end walls survive up to the height of the eaves at about 22'. The southern quoins are exposed externally at E where they form a vertical joint to the height of 14' . The quoins consist of large roughly trimmed blocks of quartzite and slabs of red-brown finely bedded sandstone up to 2' 6" long. The foundation course of the south east wall consist of massive irregular earth-fast boulders up to 3' long.
During repairs in 1980 four treads of a stone stair descending and turning to the right were discovered at first floor level in the southern corner. These may have been the original and at one time the only access to the ground floor. If the spiral had continued downwards the stairs would have emerged through the vault rather inconveniently several feet above the ground but traces of a wall passage suggest that the stairs continued down the line of the wall for some distance before turning again to enter at ground level. The treads exposed were roughly trimmed and did not overlap at the centre of the spiral as in a spiral staircase. (Potts 1984)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape           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 09:21:29

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