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Barden Tower

In the civil parish of Barden.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE05075717
Latitude 54.01074° Longitude -1.92379°

Barden Tower has been described as a certain Tower House.

There are major building remains.

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


Located on a bluff in the narrow valley of the River Wharfe, and is bisected by the B6160 road, which is post-medieval in origin. Barden Tower was a fortified high status house located at the centre of a planned landscape which extended over a large area across the whole valley and surrounding land. The house lay within a complex of domestic and agricultural buildings and was probably surrounded by a curtain wall beyond which was an outer park containing deer parks, fishponds, warrens and barn complexes. A major structure within this complex was the chapel and connected priest's house. These buildings which survive today are substantial stone built, roofed structures, which still display many original architectural details. They are built on a terrace partly cut into the slope. The chapel and priest's house are both Grade I Listed Buildings and are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included. The monument includes the remains of the fortified house and ancillary buildings, some of the quarry areas which provided stone for construction, and the earthwork remains of gardens. Barden Tower which is Listed Grade I is a ruined building consisting of hollow shell surviving to roof height. The core of the building is a three storey rectangular tower dating to the late 15th century with a stair turret on the north wall and a projecting rectangular tower on the south wall dominated by an impressive window which opened onto a first floor great hall. In the 17th century the building was extended to the west and a further 'L' shaped tower was added to the south east angle. A further tower was added to the north west which has subsequently collapsed and is identifiable only by foundation walls and earthworks. An internal wall inserted in the 17th century which divided off the eastern third of the building still stands to roof height. Throughout the building there are architectural details including windows, fireplaces, doorways and floor and ceiling supports which illustrate the development of internal arrangements during its use. A range of ancillary buildings including kitchens, guest and senior staff lodgings lay to the west of the tower and extended as far as the valley side. The remains of these buildings are preserved below ground and are identified by a broad low mound leading westward across the road to a wide platform cut into the valley side. A further range of domestic buildings extended southwards at the edge of the valley, the remains of which are preserved as a series of low platforms on a wide terrace. To the north and east of the tower and the south of the chapel are a number of earthworks representing the remains of further ancillary buildings and gardens. The exact extent and nature of the medieval gardens is not yet fully understood but it is known from sites elsewhere that medieval gardens included functional areas such as a kitchen garden, orchards and herb gardens, as well as ornamental or formal gardens. Formal gardens included raised beds laid out on terraces often within small enclosures and linked by pathways. Within formal gardens a range of structures including galleries, walls and summer houses or pavilions, and plinths and pedestals for plant holders could be found. To the north of the tower there is a ruined rectangular building with a large arch at the north gable end which is post-medieval in date but sits on the foundations of an earlier building. In the woods at the west and north west of the monument are the earthwork remains of the quarries from which the stone to build the tower was taken. There was a considerable workforce employed over many years and the remains of their camp and quarters have been identified in this area as platforms, terraces and hollow ways. The site was originally the location of one of six lodges of the Forest of Barden. The tower was built by Sir Henry Clifford after he regained his family estates in 1484. He made Barden rather than Skipton the centre of his lordly estate and established the wider formal landscape with Barden at its heart. Further remodelling occurred under Lady Anne Clifford in the 16th century. (Scheduling Report)

Fortified house, now ruinous. Ashlar and rubblestone. Rectangular in plan, an L-shaped addition to the south-east corner. Main house: 3 storeys, 4 bays. Small chamfered four-centred arched doorway to left of bay 2 with tablet above bearing inscription "This Barden Tower was repayred by the Ladie Anne Clifforde Countesse Dowager of Pembrooke, Dorsett and Montgomery Baronesse Clifforde Westmorland and Vescie. Lady of the Honor of Skipton in Craven and High Sherriffesse by inheritance of Countie of Westmorland in the years 1658 and 1659 after it had layne ruinous ever since about 1589 when her mother then lay in itt and was greate with child with her till nowe that itt was repayred by the said Lady. Isa Chap 58 Ver 12 'Gods Home be praised.". Left-hand bay has a lancet. Bays 2 and 4 have chamfered openings of large 3-light windows with hoodmoulds and relieving arches. The bay between is flanked by remains of walls and has a large double-chamfered, four-centred arched opening. First floor: left bay has a chamfered 2-light mullioned window with four-centred arched heads to lights, hoodmould. Bays 2 and 4 have similar large 3-light windows. To bay 3 a large plain four-centred arched opening. Second floor: openings are ruinous and open at the top, except that to bay 3 which is of one light. Left return: external stack to right of chamfered 4-centred arched door. To left a squared chamfered opening, to right of stack a chamfered opening. Above 2 chamfered lancets above a 2-light chamfered mullioned window with four-centred arched lights, hoodmould. Similar window above of 3 lights. Right return: similar. Rear: ruinous with small rectangular openings. L-shaped addition: 3 storeys, bays. Left-hand bay set back, chamfered doorway, chamfered 2-light windows above, one over the other. Right-hand bay: blind. Band, parapet. Rear: large external stack. A late medieval tower house of Lord Clifford, 'the shepherd Lord'; of interest as a small fortification with domestic amenities. (Listed Building Report)
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:49

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