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Dovenby Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Bridekirk.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY09483309
Latitude 54.68565° Longitude -3.40577°

Dovenby Hall has been described as a certain Pele Tower.

There are major building remains.

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


Fortified house, now disused hospital. Tower, late C13, and house, C17, remodelled as country house early C19 for the Ballentine-Dykes family. Painted stucco with hipped graduated green slate roof. Approx. 12 coped stacks, ashlar. Quoins, moulded eaves cornice. 2 storeys; L-plan. Entrance block, 5 window range, double depth plan. Central tetrastyle Ionic portico, covering C20 doors and overlight, in panelled reveal and painted architrave. On either side, 2 windows, and above, 5 windows. All these windows are 9/6 glazing bar sashes with projecting architraves. Right return has a similar window above, and below it, a slightly projecting mullioned window, 3 lights. Square tower, to right rear, has similar windows. Left return, 5 windows, has a slightly projecting central bay with a large 9/9 glazing bar sash, flanked to left by a late C19 canted bay window, 3 lights. To right, two 9/6 glazing bar sashes, and above, 5 similar windows. Left rear has irregular fenestration to the ground floor. Above, to left, a glazing bar sash with Gothick tracery, early C19, and a smaller glazing bar sash. Inset, 2 armorial plaques inscribed "1632 LD", "1652" and a sundial inscribed "R & ML 1691". Rear wing, 2 storeys, 8 window range, has to left a slightly projecting end bay, 2 windows, under a pediment. Off-centre canted bay window, 2 storeys, 4 lights, with glazing bar sashes. To left, 3 glazing bar sashes on each floor. To right, a similar sash, then a door, and above, 2 similar sashes. Inset, 3 armorial plaques and inscription referring to Warthole Hall, a former home of the Dykes family. West wing, 2 storeys, 11 window range, has irregular fenestration. Adjoining the house, a segment arched carriage entrance with keystone. To its right, an early C19 block with coped gable and 2 windows on each floor. Ground floor windows renewed, first floor windows glazing bar sashes. In the return angle to right, a square projection, roofless, with quoins and string course. Right return has a 2-light pointed arched window under a label mould, flanked to left by a chamfered pointed arched doorway and to right by a blocked doorway with flat head. These appear to be reset fragments, C13. Beyond, a single blocked window, then an external stack. To its right, 2 recessed glazing bar windows, and above, 2 coped through-eaves dormers and 4 windows. These are of various dates and only one corresponds to the dormers. Beyond again, a projecting range with 3 coped gables, C17. Central door flanked by windows, mid C20. Above, three 2-light windows with chamfered stone mullions and surrounds. Rear elevation, roughcast, has irregular fenestration and a central external stair. Interior has in the entrance passage a dentillated cornice, 2 panelled round arches, and 4 reeded doorcases with rosettes and 6-panel doors. Drawing room has foliage cornice and plain frieze, and 2 reeded round arched cupboards. Adjoining room and stair well have similar cornices. Open well wooden staircase with double stick balusters, reeded square newels, and ramped scrolled handrail. Oak room, at rear, has C19 panelling and strapwork ceiling, and Renaissance Revival fireplace flanked by shell-headed niches. Rear stair, C17, has heavy turned balusters and moulded handrail. Largely boxed in at time of survey. (Listed Building Report)

There is a Pele-tower at Dovenby Hall made of Roman stones; a manor-house has been added (Collingwood).
Norman window in vaulted tower within house (Pevsner; Renn). (PastScape)

Various authors give C12, C13, C14 or C15 dates to this tower, which is substantially intact although fine details have been lost. The 'Norman' window mentioned by Pevsner is not recorded in the listed building report where the earliest feature mentioned is a reset C13 window fragment. The tower is probably late C13 or later replacing an earlier house, but nothing suggests this earlier building was fortified.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:53

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