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Scales Hall, Skelton

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
le Scales

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY426400
Latitude 54.75163° Longitude -2.89317°

Scales Hall, Skelton has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Bastle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are major building remains.

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


Partly fortified house with extensions and barn. Late C15 or early C16 with C17 and C19 additions and alterations. Late C16 barn. Thick walls of large blocks of pink sandstone, with extensions of similar sandstone rubble. Graduated greenslate roofs with coped gables and ball finials; large C17 dressed sandstone ridge chimney stacks. Barn of similar sandstone rubble under red sandstone slate roof. 2 storeys, 4 bays with flanking single-bay gabled cross wings and left rear 2-storey, 4-bay barn. H-shape. Central C20 door in C17 chamfered stone surround. Left early C16 2-light stone-mullioned windows, with rounded heads, under continuous hoodmould; and small chamfered-surround firewindow beyond a sloping buttress. Right sash windows in C19 stone surrounds and further right blocked window. Upper-floor sash windows in C17 stone architraves with the central stone mullions removed. Small firewindow over entrance and a central roof crease, suggesting an extension or porch which would have covered the firewindow. The left kitchen wing is earlier than the right and has C17 alterations to balance the facade. Former 2-light window, with mullion removed, under hoodmould; upper-floor large C17 2-light window with dripmould and oval gable vent. The return wall has 2-light chamfered stone-mullioned windows, partly blocked and 2 replaced by C19 sashes; small central kitchen firewindow. Right wing has former 2-light window, with mullion removed, under large C17 mullioned-and-transomed window with dripmould. Return wall has partly-blocked 2-light windows under hoodmoulds, the upper-floor blocked C17 cross-mullioned window flanked by 3-light similar windows. Rear of original house has a central C20 studded oak door in C17 quoined surround with keyed lintel under cornice. Small left casement window in stone surround and upper-floor 2-light flat stone-mullioned windows. A similar doorway under a sash window in C19 stone surround to side of kitchen wing. The right wing has a rear 2-bay double gable with C17 3- and 4-light mullioned windows, those on upper-floor also with transomes, all under dripmoulds. Oval gable window in pediment and similar window in return wall. 2-light C17 cellar windows. Barn has the appearance of a bastle house with extremely thick walls, an off-centre upper-floor chamfered- surround doorway and 2-light stone mullioned windows. Ground-floor blocked C19 doorway and 2-light flat stone-mullioned windows. Further right casement in C19 surround and left loft doorway. Rear covered by C19 outshut. A reused lintel dated 1591 in an adjoining barn is a suggested date for this barn. Interior of original house has a formerly external early C16 gable doorway with studded oak door, the rear drawbar in its original tunnel. Principal room has large stone segmental-arched fireplace and a complete Tudor beamed ceiling. Small C17 staircase in right extension. Kitchen wing has late C16 large stone segmental-arched fireplace and had another, now removed. (Listed Building Report)

Scales Hall, a fortified Manor House, with extensive farm buildings. The manor house was built in the late 15th century or early 16th century and a gatehouse and barn (possibly a bastle derivative) were added in the 1580/90s. It also has 17th and 19th century additions and alterations including a service wing.
The manor house is in a very good condition and part of the curtain wall and the gatehouse remain of its fortifications. It is built of large blocks of pink sandstone, with extensions of similar sandstone rubble. It has graduated greenslate roofs with coped gables and ball finials and large 17th century dressed sandstone ridge chimney stacks. It is two storeys and has four bays with flanking single-bay gabled cross wings. To the rear left, and forming an H-shape, is a two storey, four bay barn. This is also built of similar sandstone rubble and has a red sandstone slate roof. The gatehouse, also built of pink sandstone rubble with a greenslate roof, forms part of the fortified additions to Scales Hall. It probably dates to the 1580s/90s and was built for the Southaik family.
Scales Hall with its curtain wall and gatehouse is an early and rare example of this type of fortified manor house in Cumbria. (PastScape)

May have been moated. The suggestion the 'barn', which forms the west side of a quadrangle, is a 'bastle deriviative' seems both weak and rather an abuse of terminology. It is suggested the east end of the house range may have been the site of a pele tower; this is not unreasonable on the bases of analogue with other houses of this status in this area but is not proven.
There is possibly some confusion in some sources between this Scales Hall and Scales Hall, Kirkoswald.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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