Warnell Hall

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameWarnell Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishSebergham

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)

Gatehouse Comments

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)

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceNY350413
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  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 99 (slight)
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 222
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 91
  • Lysons, Daniel and Samuel, 1816, 'Parishes: Renwick - Stapleton' Magna Britannia Vol. 4: Cumberland p. 153-4 online transcription
  • Hutchinson, W., 1794, The History of the County of Cumberland (Carlisle) Vol. 2 p. 412 online copy


  • 1948, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 48 p. 200 online copy
  • McIntyre, W.T., 1934 Aug 4, 'Warnell Hall' Cumberland News
  • Martindale, J.H., 1920, Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 20 p. 238-9 online copy
  • Graham, T.H.B., 1916, 'Pedigree of de Denton' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 16 p. 51 online copy