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Frith Hall, Upper Holker

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Fryth Hall

In the civil parish of Lower Allithwaite.
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: SD33827975
Latitude 54.20974° Longitude -3.01620°

Frith Hall, Upper Holker has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


" in Upper Holker was held by customary tenants of the priors of Cartmel or by the canons themselves in demesne. To the latter division probably belonged Frith Hall, which after the Suppression was granted out with Holker Hall ..... In the grant to Sir Thomas Holcroft in 1545-6 it is called Frith Hall Grange, which indicates its purpose (Pat 37 Henry VIII pt. iii.)" (VCH).

The remains of the hall consist mainly of a huge fireplace. It is constructed of rubble masonry with bonding courses of slate at intervals. The fireplace takes the form of a large pointed vault terminating in a square opening. Viewed from the exterior the upper part of the chimney stack is round and the lower part a square 'stepped' structure. The springing of the fireplace arch is visible in each of the side walls. Mutilated openings in each sided of the fireplace were probably originally recesses. The only traces of the building adjoining the fireplace to the S.E. is a small fragment of wall projecting from the S.W. corner and traces of its continuation under the turf. On the upper part of the S.E. wall of the fireplace is a course of slates representing the lines of a pitched roof. N.W. of the fireplace but not bonded to it are the remains of a small lean-to hut and yard, presumably modern.
The remains are in fair condition (F1 EG 05-SEP-57). (PastScape)

Frith Hall seems to have been a large place, and was the first residence the ancient family of Preston, of Preston Patrick and Levens, had in the Cartmel district. Nothing now remains of the old Frith Hall but the lower part of a very old and very thick wall, in which the huge kitchen fireplace, ovens, &c., once were, now covered in by the low roof of an outhouse (calf hull). Very probably the old hall had been pulled down long ago, to build the present modem hall and farm buildings. (Stockdale)

The different versions of the history of the house given in the VCH and Stockdale are troubling. Perriam and Robinson used Stockdale as their source. Does this mean they read and dismissed the VCH? Regardless the evidence for a fortified building is gentry status inhabitants in the C16 (and, possibly, earlier) and a small piece of thick walling with a huge fireplace. Early chimneys were subject to a number of problems, such as fires and collapse due to thermal stress, and solutions to those problems included thick walls so the actual evidence for fortification is slight. Not moated and no 'tower' is mentioned.
The is possibility of confusion with Frith Hall, Ulpha another ruinous supposedly fortified house in Cumbria, although that house was in Cumberland.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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