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Warnell Hall

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY35054135
Latitude 54.76271° Longitude -3.01091°

Warnell Hall has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House, and also as a Tower House although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Pele Tower although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Fortified house now farmhouse. Early or mid C16 incorporating part of a C14 tower with alterations, dated and inscribed over entrance T & M D 1683 with Denton coat-of-arms. Large blocks of mixed calciferous and pink sandstone with graduated greenslate roof and stone chimney stacks. 2 storeys, 5 bays with stair projection to rear making shape; originally a fortified courtyard plan. Top-glazed panelled door in alternate-block surround under cornice and voussoir frieze. 2-light stone-mullioned windows under cornices are of 1683. Confined fenestration is explained by adjoining courtyard range, that to right listed separately, but that to left now demolished, leaving blank wall. Rear 2- and 3-light stone-mullioned windows under hoodmoulds could be C16. Wall at left rear has earlier blocked window and is said to contain the remains of a newel staircase of the C14 tower, now demolished. (Listed Building Report)

The manor of Warnell was given by King Edward II. to Andrew de Hercla, after whose attainder it was granted to Ralph Lord Dacre. William Lord Dacre gave it in exchange to John Denton, Esq. of Denton-hall, in exchange for Denton, in the year 1496: his immediate descendant, of the same name, sold it in the year 1774 to Sir James Lowther, afterwards Earl of Lonsdale: it is now the property of the present Earl. The old mansion of Warnell-hall is occupied as a farm-house: it had formerly one of the large square towers common to many of the Cumberland mansions, and intended for defence against the inroads of the Scots. (Lysons)

Supposed tower, altered 16th century hall range, courtyard and gateway.
There is no eye-witness account of a tower and it seems unlikely to have existed, the spiral stair perhaps belonging to the 16th century hall. The fortified courtyard did exist and this would date from the late 16th century. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

The house was baronial (a secondary residence of Lord Dacre) until 1507 when it was exchanged for Denton Hall when it became a residence of Thomas Denton who is said to have rebuilt the house with the funds coming from the ransom of a Scottish nobleman taken at Flodden in 1513. The form of the Dacre house is not known but the lack of remains (and the fact it was exchanged) does not suggest a tower-house. The Denton house seems to have been a courtyarded hall house with the suggestion of a tower coming from a general assumption that a house of this date and status would have such a form (the 'parts' of a C14 tower incorporated into the building are not at all certain). This assumption is generally true but other courtyard houses did exist in Cumberland (i.e. Scales Hall, Skelton plus possibly up to another 20 examples of courtyard or moated houses of varying sizes)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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