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Kirkby Thore Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Kirkby Thore.
In the historic county of Westmorland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Westmorland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY64152562
Latitude 54.62448° Longitude -2.55674°

Kirkby Thore Hall has been described as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Uncertain although is doubtful that it was such.

There are major building remains.

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


Hall block with solar wing, now farmhouse; C14 with later additions and alterations. Wet-dashed rubble. Graduated slate roofs; hall of 30° pitch with outshut to front, solar of 45° pitch with stone-flagged eaves. Brick chimneys to east end and junction of hall and solar. Hall was single-storey with 3-bay front, but upper floor was added in C17. Central part-glazed door replaced a C16 mullioned window (the lintel has been retained). 3-light C17 window to left; C16 bay window to right has 5 leaded lights to front and 2 to side, all mullioned and transomed under hoodmould. Three C19 sashes to east wall; no remains of any earlier wing at this end. Solar wing has 3-light C16 mullioned window under hoodmould to ground floor north; pointed C14 mullioned window of 2 trefoil-headed lights with blind quatrefoil between to 1st floor. west side of wing has 2 small original windows to 1st floor and two C19 sashes to each floor. Panel in south gable of solar wing bears the Wharton arms. Lower C19 extension and C20 barn conversion to rear are not included. (Listed Building Report)

Kirkby Thore Hall, 500 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built in the 14th century and the hall-block, formerly of one storey, with the solar-wing still remain. There is no evidence of a corresponding buttery-wing but the N.E. end of the hall-block, which it presumably adjoined, may have been partly reconstructed. A bay-window was added to the hall in the 16th century and the upper floor was inserted in the 17th century. There are later additions on the S.E. side.
The house formerly belonged to the Wharton family and is an interesting example of a 14th-century building.
The N.W. Front (Plate 15) of the solar-wing has an original window, at the first-floor level, of two trefoiled and transomed lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; it is now blocked but retains an iron grate; below it is a 16th-century window of three lights with a square head and a moulded label. The hall-block has a 16th-century bay-window of five transomed lights on the front and two on the return; further N.E. is an 18th-century doorway set in the blocking of a 16th-century window and above it is a 17th-century window of three lights. The S.E. side has, in the gable of the solar-wing, a panel with the arms of Wharton; the hallblock retains an original window of two transomed and trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a moulded label and blank shields in the spandrels. Inside the building, the hall (25 ft. by 21 ft.) has an inserted ceiling with exposed beams; in the S.W. wall is an original doorway with a shouldered head and adjoining it is a wall-staircase to the upper floor of the wing. The roof of the hall is of three bays with two original trusses of collar-beam type with curved braces below the collar-beams and a shaped cutting of the beams above the collar. The original roof of the solar-wing is of three bays with four trusses; these have curved principals below the collars and short king-posts above. (RCHME 1936)

The old manor-house Kirkby Thore Hall stands on a low level to the E. of the plateau of higher ground now covered by the village which contains the site of the Roman camp of Brovonacae. This latter seems to have been the position occupied by what Machell in his MSS. refers to as the ruins of Whelp Castle. It does not appear certain that these remains were representative of any mediaeval structure, for even in Machell's time there was scarcely a vestige above ground, and his account of the foundations, pavements, and walling applies more conspicuously to Roman work, than to any pre-existing strong-hold raised by the Whelps. The present hall now occupied as a farm house presents an excellent example of the style and arrangements of a fifteenth century manor-house, built all at one time on its present lines on the L shaped plan simply as a domestic residence. There is no trace of keep-tower or battlements, nor any characteristics of a fortified place of the old type. It was built probably in the reign of Hen. VII. in the tranquil times which succeeded the years of havoc and desolation of the Wars of the Roses. (Taylor 1892)

Delightfully well preserved C14 hall house with no defensive features.
Presumably included by Perriam and Robinson in their gazetteer of medieval fortified buildings, because of its architectural importance only. The form of the building is a hall with an attached solar block but that solar block is only two storeys and has no roof walk, crenellations or anything else that would make it it a tower.
There may have been a fortified earlier manor house, called Whelp Castle, within the bounds of the nearby Roman fort.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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