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High Head Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Highhead; Heyheved; Hehed; Heighheved; Heghaved; Hyghett; Highened; Highed; Highyate; Hegatcastle; Highgate

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY40274333
Latitude 54.78132° Longitude -2.93007°

High Head Castle has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.

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


High Head house was rebuilt 1748 for H Richmond Brougham incorporating C16 work. It is on the site of timber pele extant in 1317 replaced by a stone curtain wall and gatehouse in 1342 when a licence was granted to crenellate. Nothing of C14 castle survives, and there are no earthworks associated with it. A hall was built in 1550 and rebuilt in 1748. Burnt in 1956 and since a ruin. (PastScape)

Highhead Castle was founded about 1326, and a licence to crenellate was granted in 1342. In 1550 a Hall, 52' x 26', was built on the west side. From 1744 to 1748 the Castle was demolished and rebuilt, and in 1800 further restorations took place (Curwen).
Nothing of the 14th century castle survives, and there are no earthworks associated with it. Part of the Hall is incorporated into the west side of the main 18th century range, the whole of which is derelict. The gate is modern (F1 RE 03-NOV-70).
High Head Castle - building now completely derelict - the roof has fallen in but the walls still stand to roof level however the building is in a dangerous state of repair. (PastScape)

Country house in ruins, built on the site of a medieval castle. 1744-7, probably by James Gibbs for the Brougham family, partly destroyed by fire 1956. Red sandstone ashlar with string course, eaves modillions, open balustraded parapet and V-jointed quoins. Roofless but with banded ashlar sandstone chimney stacks. 2 storeys, 11 bays. Projecting pedimented 3-bay centre, with carved ornament in pediment, has central door in alternate-block surround with entablature and pediment. Stone window architraves. Return and rear walls are partly in ruins. Interior completely gutted. (Listed Building Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1342 Oct 6 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


The form of the C14 licenced house is not known but was contained within a curtain wall with a gatehouse.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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