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Lorton Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Winder House

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY152257
Latitude 54.61968° Longitude -3.31341°

Lorton Hall has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are uncertain remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Square 3-storey, 2-bay tower with rear C19 2-storey 3-bay extension in similar style and lower 2-storey, 7-bay wing now Winder House. Tower has C19 fenestration; irregular 2- and 3-light windows, some in Tudor style under hoodmoulds, the others without hoods; and ground-floor mullioned and transomed windows. Winder House has C17 fenestration with extensive C19 alterations; centre 3-light window was originally entrance under hoodmould and pediment; enlarged 2-light ground-floor windows under 3-light stone-mullioned windows with continuous hoodmould and individual pediments. Rear of tower has Tudor-style doorway and 2-light windows. Rear of Winder House similar,with C19 2-, 3- and 4-light windows. Interior of tower is completely late C19 and early C20 panelled woodwork, with moulded plaster ceilings. Other features claimed by a previous owner to be original, such as a concrete vault and spiral staircase in the tower (see Pevsner) and dated plasterwork in Winder House, are extremely dubious. The same owner painted C16 and C17 portraits of his ancestors to hang on the walls of his house and opened the building to the public. (Listed Building Report)

Possible tower; could be 19th century.
Previously listed building report says '14th century pele tower'.
Pevsner illustrates and says 'a pele tower originally with tunnel vaulting at ground level and spiral staircase'. Exaggerated claims for the house on a 1970s guide-sheet raise suspicions over the thin-walled tower.
'Present owner reports finding foundations of a possible second tower in his cellar' (Listed Building Report). Needs closer examination. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

THe Winders held a third of the vill of Lorton in 1398 and this is likely as the site of their manor house but the actual form of that medieval house is not clear; a chamber block tower attached to a hall is likely by analogue with other gentry status houses but the present building needs careful and critical examination to see if it actually contains medieval remains. The current 'pele tower' is C19.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:53

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