Burton Hall, Warcop

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are no visible remains

NameBurton Hall, Warcop
Alternative Names
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishWarcop

Maps of C17, C18 and C19 date indicate that post-medieval Burton consisted of Burton Hall - which was built on the same site as the second medieval manor house and incorporated some of the features of this earlier building. It is believed that the second medieval manor house at Burton was constructed during C15. Nothing of this second medieval house along with the post-medieval Burton Hall survives above ground. (PastScape)

Burton Hall, house and fish-ponds 1¾ m. N. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It belonged to the family of Hilton but the present building is largely modern. The porch has an outer doorway with moulded jambs and square head with a narrow riband-panel above and the whole enclosed in a cable-moulding; the mouldings are of Gothic form but the doorway in its present form is presumably of 16th-century or later date. The inner doorway is of the 14th or 15th century and has moulded jambs and ogee head. The outbuilding adjoining the house on the E. is of the same age and appears to have formed part of a larger house. Inside the house is a carved head-corbel and an early 16th-century stone shield with a variation of the Hilton arms. In the garden is the head of a window of two round-headed lights; it is probably of the 13th century. Other fragments are built into the house itself and into neighbouring buildings.

The Fish-ponds, W. of the house, are three in number, set in a rectangular enclosure surrounded by a ditch and bank with an outer bank on the S.E. (RCHME 1936)

Although the date of the first settlement at Burton is unknown documentary sources indicate an early family named Burton were lords of the manor of Burton at some time prior to 1283. From 1283 until the early 18th century the de Helton or Hilton family were lords of the manor

Burton remained occupied until 1949 when the land was sold to the Ministry of Defence, after which time all the buildings were gradually destroyed as the army made use of them in training exercises. The plan of the medieval village is of a type familiar to this part of Cumbria in which two parallel lines of houses face onto a village green and central street, with crofts, or garden areas, to the rear. Behind the crofts were narrow back lanes beyond which were the open fields where crops were grown. At the western end of the village green lies the moated fishpond complex, although this is considered to have originally been the site of the earliest medieval manor house at Burton, thus giving the medieval village a highly regular layout with its apparently planned system of tofts and streets suggestive of an ordered tenurial structure, with a manorial overship. Where not covered by now demolished post-medieval buildings or disturbed by military activity, earthwork remains of the medieval village consisting of abandoned tofts, that is house plots, and their associated yards and crofts survive at the south eastern end of the monument together with the back lanes at the rear of the crofts, although the northern back lane is now utilised by a modern track. During the 15th century the moated manor house is considered to have been abandoned and a new manor house built towards the eastern end of the village on a site later occupied by the post-medieval Burton Hall. Immediately north of the site of the new manor house is a sub-rectangular enclosure with boundaries formed by a scarp up to 2.5m high. This enclosure is considered to have been associated with the rebuilt manor house and may have functioned as a paddock or orchard. This phenomenon of the 'moving manor house' is well-documented elsewhere in England during the 15th century, as a long period of economic stagnation and disruption caused by a combination of border warfare, bubonic plagues and cattle plagues led to the abandonment or shrinkage of many farmsteads and villages. At an unspecified date after the abandonment of the original manor house the platform of the moated site was remodelled and four rectangular fishponds were constructed, through which water was channelled via underground pipes, a small leat and sluice gates. This arrangement of fishponds provided a regular food source and is considered to have complemented or replaced an earlier fishpond located a short distance to the north and which is marked on present day maps as a disused reservoir. On all sides of the moat except the south east there are the earthworks of the associated medieval open field system. The most prominent earthworks occupy the hillside to the north east of the moat and consist of broad ridge and furrow aligned north east - south west interspersed by three lynchets. On the northern side of the moat there is an area of narrow ridge and furrow considered to be an attempt to improve a poorly drained patch of land. These ridges respect field banks to the west and south and are therefore contemporary with these boundaries or post-date them. Two other blocks of ridge and furrow are situated north west and west of the moat, that south of the single fishpond has straight and parallel ridges 4m wide, while that to the west of the moat has broader ridges which are more curved and uneven. A considerably mutilated area of ridge and furrow lies immediately south of the moat; the ridges average 7.5m wide and are gently curving. An earthwork headland or turning point for the oxen-drawn medieval ploughing team adjacent to the moat suggests that the ridge and furrow here post-dates the moated site. Maps of 17th, 18th and 19th century date indicate that post-medieval Burton consisted of Burton Hall - which was built on the same site as the second medieval manor house and incorporated some of the features of this earlier building, Burton Farm Homestead, also known as The White House, which lay to the south west of Burton Hall, and a cottage with an attached barn to the south of Burton Hall. The maps also show a number of outbuildings and field barns associated with Burton Hall and The White House. With the exception of fragments of a couple a barns, a byre, a sheep dip and a few lengths of walling nothing of the post-medieval buildings of Burton survive above ground level. The main track which approaches from the south west entered Burton Hall farmyard and exited from the east from where it picked up the line of the medieval back lane. A grassy track runs from the western side of Burton Hall through an enclosed field northwards while a hollow track runs from Burton Hall farmyard north eastwards to the fields beyond. Part of the post-medieval associated field system can still be traced; this includes a rectangular enclosure north of the site of Burton Hall which appears to enlarge and formalise the earlier medieval enclosure here. There is a small stock pen in the enclosure's north east corner. To the west, on the opposite side of Cringle Beck, is a sub-rectangular stone-walled enclosure created in the latter half of the 19th century and imposed on the earlier ridge and furrow. Similarly a ruined wall overlies the ridge and furrow south of the moat and appears to replace a hedge boundary between it and the moat. At its eastern end there are traces of a small stock pen considered to have been associated with The White House. On the south eastern side of the site of Burton Hall there is a small paddock or garden which was created in the early years of the 20th century. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Had moat and fishponds, possibly fortified.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY745185
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 268
  • RCHME, 1936, An inventory of the historical monuments in Westmorland (HMSO) p. 239 no. 5 online transcription
  • Curwen, J.F., 1932, 'Parishes (East Ward): All Saints', Orton' The Later Records relating to North Westmorland: or the Barony of Appleby p. 229 online transcription


  • Clare, T., 1982, A Report on Medieval Fortified Sites in Cumbria (Cumbria CC)