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Castle Dairy, Kendal

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SD51939306
Latitude 54.33086° Longitude -2.74063°

Castle Dairy, Kendal has been described as a Fortified Town House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are major building remains.

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


Farmhouse; the name implies an association with Kendal Castle but 'Dairy' may be a corruption of 'Dowry'. Now a restaurant. Probably C14; extensively remodelled c1560 for Anthony Garnett (numerous dated features have survived). Later additions and alterations. Coursed rubble with quoins. Graduated stone-flag roofs; stone chimneys (corbelled to west wing and projecting to east wing). Central Hall with 2-storey cross-wing to either end. For detailed description (including exceptionally well-preserved interior) see R.C.H.M. Westmorland (1936), with the following amendments: multi-light windows, to Hall front and to west wing 1st floor, were renewed in 1983/4 (all in facsimile except for heads carved on label-stops to Hall window). On the interior, 2 more original doorways (with pointed heads) have been opened up on the left-hand side of the cross-passage; the ground floor, east wing, fireplace and some of the original windows have also been unblocked. The extension to the rear of the west wing has been demolished. (Listed Building Report)

The building recording confirmed many details found by Curwen, though he had not examined every part of it. The earliest section is the main hall, essentially a single storey and probably originally open to the roof, with a cross-passage linking a probable service wing through three doors (not all exposed in Curwen's time). Defence was evidently a consideration in this earlier building, with draw bar slots, one still housing its bar, associated with two of the doorways from the passage. The two slightly irregular wings at either end were probably both added at a later date in the medieval period or perhaps by the Garnetts, specifically Antony Garnett, around 1560. These have potentially defensive features like several small windows, little more than the size of a gun loop, that give remarkably good views along Wildman Street. (Elsworth 2011)

The suggestion this building has defensive features rest somewhat on what is meant by 'defensive'. A draw bar is a somewhat expensive way to secure a door but is it really that more than just the ordinary domestic security any house would have? The suggestion small windows are defensive, in the context of the other ground floor windows being large, is odd. Of course one can fire a pistol from any window but ports specifically designed for such purposes are clearly different than these small windows which are best explained for the economic reasons of larger windows costing more (the larger the lintel, the large the cost) and comfort (large windows let the cold in).
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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