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Armathwaite Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY50574587
Latitude 54.80525° Longitude -2.77050°

Armathwaite Castle has been described as a certain Tower House.

There are major building remains.

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


Fortified house and extension. Probably mid C15 with late C17 or early C18 alterations; late C18 extension with late C19 alterations. Extremely thick red sandstone block walls, the facade of dressed calciferous sandstone, all with cornice and solid parapet. Double-span hipped graduated greenslate roof within parapet; banded red sandstone chimney stacks. Extension of dressed calciferous sandstone walls under Mansard tile roof with banded calciferous sandstone ashlar chimney stack. 2 storeys over basement, 5 bays, with 2 -storey, 5-bay, left extension. Broad stone steps to central panelled and glazed door in quoined surround under keyed lintel with plain frieze and cornice. Later coat-of-arms of the Milbourne family over the entrance. Late C19 leaded casement windows in original stone surrounds; smaller attic sash windows with glazing bars in original stone surrounds. Straight joint in right return wall; the original medieval quoin stones with various masons' marks, suggest that the front of the house has been moved forward, but this is not altogether borne out by the thickness of the front basement wall. Windows similar to facade. Extension is of 2 builds, the right 3 bays earlier. Central stone steps to C20 door and overlight in stone surround. Casement windows in stone surrounds, and gabled attic dormer windows. Rear fenestration of 4 periods: blocked small chamfered-surround medieval windows; 2-light stone-mullioned windows with mullions removed; large C18 sash windows with glazing bars, and round-headed staircase windows, all in stone surrounds; some C20 windows in cement surrounds and plain reveals. Left return wall has small chamfered-surround medieval window, beside which is an C18 sash window in stone surround under a medieval relieving arch. Interior: no medieval features visible, apart from the splays of some windows, with masons' marks, and mural recesses thought to be the remains of newel staircases. Late C17 full-height oak staircase with heavy barley-twist balusters and moulded handrail. Some early C18 ceiling beams, moulded plaster cornices and fragments of panelling, otherwise altered after the 1939-45 war into a number of flats and now in the process of conversion back to one dwelling. Originally the land was granted in 1444 to John Skelton and passed to his son in 1461, his father having carried out building at great expense. (Listed Building Report)

The Skelton's were gentry not baronial, although a particularly prominent family. However their house is an integral tower, rather than a chamber block attached to a hall, and seems to have been called a castle from an early date after it is built.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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