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The Gatehouse website record of

bracke'hill (added) (Brackenhill)

a location shown on a 1590 map of the West Marches of Scotland (The Aglionby Platt)

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as; Braconhill

In the civil parish of Arthuret.
In the historic county of Cumberland, England.
Modern Authority of Cumbria, England.
1974 county of Cumbria, England.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY44576948
Latitude 55.01677° Longitude -2.86838°

This is certain as the location of bracke'hill (added) shown on the Aglionby Platt.

There are major building remains.

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

The likely form(s) of this building in 1590 are;

  • Tower House (gentry).

A section of the 1590 Aglionby Platt. Image reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland
Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Brackenhill Tower is a fortified Border tower house, its importance stemming from the fact that it is a unique example of a Scottish-style tower sitting on English soil. It was built in 1584, for the Graham family, replacing an earlier tower which may have dated to C13 or earlier. Constructed from large blocks of red sandstone rubble, the external elevations are virtually unaltered from its original state. The walls are five ft thick and rise to forty ft in height and there is a double gabled slated roof which is surrounded by a corbelled and battlemented parapet. In 1717, the fifth Richard Graham constructed a brick cottage to the south east of the tower. These are the earliest signs of the site being consolidated. There is no evidence of the sort of alterations which would have been expected such as the enlargement of windows, when what was essentially a medieval tower continued in use as a Georgian house. One alteration was the insertion of the present west doorway of the basement and possibly the superstructure of the tower at attic level as the two end chimneys look to be of this date. It remains uncertain whether the roof trusses are contemporary with the stacks or were later alterations in 1860. Towards the end of C18 the property was sold to the Stephenson family, (the family name later changed to Standish), who built a new dining room and kitchen. In 1860 the tower and the cottage seem to have adjoined corner-to-corner, with a physical internal link, and a porch was added at the front of the original tower. It appears that the tower and cottage were linked together to form a hunting lodge. The ground of Brackenhill contains a planned hunting landscape which was commissioned by the Standish family specifically for recreational hunting. By the end of World War II the Carlyle family were the tenants and in 1946, when the Standish Estate was put up for sale, the Carlyle's acquired the Brackenhill Estate. (PastScape)
The resident householder c. 1590.

1602 - Richie Grame (Scrope List 1602 - Richard Bell's manuscript History of the Borders, ff. 211-215)
- see Spence, R.T., 1980, 'The Graham Clans and Lands on the eve of the Jacobean Pacification' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 80 p. 92 online copy
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record created on 31/07/2015 10:40:26; This record last updated on 17/09/2015 11:26:59

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