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Hermitage Hill, Conishead Priory

In the civil parish of Ulverston .
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: SD30127609
Latitude 54.17587° Longitude -3.07204°

Hermitage Hill, Conishead Priory has been described as a Masonry Castle but is rejected as such, and also as a Uncertain although is doubtful that it was such.

There are uncertain remains.

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


"On top of the wooded hill to the north (of Conishead Priory) ... are the ruins of a castle, &c., partly modern: a small circular tower is, however, covered with ivy which must have been the growth of centuries" (Jopling).
The south-west tower is in perfect condition. The other one is only just visible above ground level (S.S. Reviser 2.3.51).
The tower stands upon a 150 foot high hill top in a very prominent position overlooking Conishead Priory. It appears to have been constructed purely as a decorative feature within the ornamental grounds belonging to the Priory, and to have been used at a later time as a vantage point, a circular stone stairway having been constructed within, to give access to the wooden roof top. There are no traces of antiquity. The walls are constructed of stone, slate and brick. The tower has eight sides and is in 'Gothick' style. Loopholes are without any splaying. On the NE side are remains of a wall which probably connected with a second tower, remains of which consist of a circular mound of grass covered stones, 4.0m. in diameter, 0.3m high, hollowed at the centre. Another scatter of stones lies further to the north. The two towers are 12.0m. apart, and they possibly contained an ornamental gateway originally.
They probably belong to the late C18 or early C19. "The towers are 'shams', built by the BRADYLLS in the C18" (Field Investigators Comments-F1 ASP 04-JUN-58). (PastScape)

Summerhouse. Early C19, restored 1980s. Rubble, covered with cement slurry. Roof not visible. Octagonal plan. 2 storeys, with storey band and with corbel table below parapet. A corbelled turret projects at parapet level on the south side. The joinery is late C20 stained hardwood. On the ground floor there are 3 openings with plain reveals and pointed arches, now with glazed doors. A 4th opening is blocked. On the 1st floor there are 4 windows with plain reveals and segmental heads. Below the turret there is a narrow blind recess. (Listed Building Report)

Definitely a folly but just possibly based on site of defensive building, lookout tower or navigation marker of Conishead Priory. If so was the hermit charged with its maintenance.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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