Isel Hall

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House, and also as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameIsel Hall
Alternative NamesIshall; Yshale; Isehale
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishBlindcrake

Tower house and hall wing. Late C14 or early C15 with late C15 hall and C16 extension with C19 alterations. Tower of extremely thick calciferous sandstone rubble walls with flush quoins, under battlemented parapet; gabled greenslate roof within parapets. Hall and wing of mixed calciferous and red sandstone walls, under graduated greenslate roof with C19 yellow brick chimney stacks. Rectangular tower of vaulted basement and 3 storeys over. Hall adjoins north angle of tower almost at right-angles: 2 storeys, 5 bays with 3-storey, 6-bay extension under common roof. Tower has some original loops but mostly irregular 2-light C16 windows under hoodmoulds. Hall and extension have 2- and 3-light Tudor windows and doorway, the parapet with shaped finials. Rear has irregular Tudor doorways and windows. The rear wall of the hall has 2 buttresses. Interior of tower has newel and straight stairs in thickness of walls. Garderobe chamber. Interior of hall has Tudor panelling with traces of contemporary painting. (Listed Building Report)

The situation of the hall is most picturesque, in the midst of a charming, undulating, and well-wooded country. It stands on a considerably sloping bank, close to the deep and rapid waters of the Derwent, which here bend round its southern face; and it is bounded on the west by a mountain beck, which falls into the river. The position was no doubt originally chosen for defence, and the old keep, which still remains in its entirety, presents a good example of a border pele tower still in a habitable condition.

The defences of the rudimental fortalice were strengthened by a moat on the land side. The depression formed by the ditch is fairly traceable on the east side of the tower, and on the north side the line would be continued through the bell, which afterwards came to be converted into a pleasaunce and terraced garden. It is supposed that the mediaeval approach to the place was by a drawbridge over the moat at this part

On the west side all vestiges of the ditch have been obliterated by the carriage drive and avenue from the high road, and by later improvements. So far as can be made out of the scarp of the moat was distant by several yards from the tower. (Taylor 1893)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY158336
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  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 22, 209
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 16-17
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 63
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 215
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 42
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 87
  • Hudleston, C.R., Boumphrey, R.S. and Hughes, J., 1978, Cumberland Families and Heraldry (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 23) p. 199-200, 203-4
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 101-103
  • Pevsner, N., 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth: Penguin) p. 143-4
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 377
  • Taylor, M.W., 1892, Old Manorial Halls of Westmorland and Cumberland (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 8) p. 327-31 online copy


  • Collingwood, W.G., 1923, 'An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Cumberland' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 23 p. 247-8 online copy
  • Curwen, J.F., 1911, 'Isel Hall' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 11 p. 122-8 online copy
  • Taylor, M.W., 1893, 'Manorial Halls in the Vale of Derwent' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 12 p. 157-8 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1904, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I Vol. 3 p. 446 No. 594 view online copy