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Coniston Hall

In the civil parish of Coniston.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Lancashire North of the Sands.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD30449634
Latitude 54.35783° Longitude -3.07186°

Coniston Hall has been described as a probable Pele Tower, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Large, two storeyed, T-shaped building of late 16th century date, partially restored in 1815. The south east wing may be earlier than the remainder of the house. Part of the original house is used as a barn while the house itself is used as a farmhouse and sailing club. At the north west corner are the foundations of a building which has been interpreted as a possible pele tower. Earthworks north west of the house may represent the remains of two fishponds. (PastScape)

In the field northwest of the house is a rectangular marshy depression 15 metres x 4 metres bounded by a bank 4.5 metres to 6.5 metres wide with a maximum height of 0.9 metres. A few stones on the inner side of the bank suggests a revetment. This feature is evidently that referred to in Collingwood as the foundations of a rectangular building 'north of west wing' but the present state of the remains suggest a medieval fishpond. A vague depression immediately west may be the remains of a similar feature. The exact limits of the deer park could not be ascertained. The hollows within the area, referred to by Collingwood as fishponds are all natural depressions or the result of surface quarrying. Immediately south of the hall, surface irregularities and vague platforms possibly indicate the site of buildings associated with the hall. (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments F1 EG 21-AUG-57)

Richard le Fleming acquired the Manor of Coniston in 1250 as a dowry on his marriage with Elizebeth de Urswick,and soon after established the first Coniston Hall. Richard's son, John le Fleming, was shortly afterwards granted a hunting park or chase within the boundaries of the manor. The creation of the hunting park was to have a great effect on the development of the surrounding landscape. These farms expanded their holding until they abutted the park wall, while the pattern of intakes crept up the fellside, eventually enclosing the deer park within a patchwork of small fields. On the lower slopes to the north of the park the medieval town field expanded as the number of farmholdings increased and sought to maximise the amount of arable land. Around 1580 William Fleming began work on the present hall, although the le Flemings were to forsake Coniston Hall for a new residence in Rydal during the late-seventeenth century, with the hall being maintained as a hunting lodge until the park finally fell out of use around 1710. (Maxwell and Lund)

The south east wing is, probably incorrectly, also described as a tower in some sources. However it is probably the earliest surviving part of the building and it is described in several sources as 'fortified' but without a clear idea of what form that 'fortification' took. The later changes to the building are complex and seem to include turning the lower part of the middle (hall) range into a brye although the building cannot be described as a pele-house bastle.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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