Coniston Hall

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameConiston Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishConiston

Large, two storeyed, T-shaped building of late 16th century date, partially restored in 1815. The south east wing may be earlier than the remainder of the house. Part of the original house is used as a barn while the house itself is used as a farmhouse and sailing club. At the north west corner are the foundations of a building which has been interpreted as a possible pele tower. Earthworks north west of the house may represent the remains of two fishponds. (PastScape)

In the field northwest of the house is a rectangular marshy depression 15 metres x 4 metres bounded by a bank 4.5 metres to 6.5 metres wide with a maximum height of 0.9 metres. A few stones on the inner side of the bank suggests a revetment. This feature is evidently that referred to in Collingwood as the foundations of a rectangular building 'north of west wing' but the present state of the remains suggest a medieval fishpond. A vague depression immediately west may be the remains of a similar feature. The exact limits of the deer park could not be ascertained. The hollows within the area, referred to by Collingwood as fishponds are all natural depressions or the result of surface quarrying. Immediately south of the hall, surface irregularities and vague platforms possibly indicate the site of buildings associated with the hall. (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments F1 EG 21-AUG-57)

Richard le Fleming acquired the Manor of Coniston in 1250 as a dowry on his marriage with Elizebeth de Urswick,and soon after established the first Coniston Hall. Richard's son, John le Fleming, was shortly afterwards granted a hunting park or chase within the boundaries of the manor. The creation of the hunting park was to have a great effect on the development of the surrounding landscape. These farms expanded their holding until they abutted the park wall, while the pattern of intakes crept up the fellside, eventually enclosing the deer park within a patchwork of small fields

On the lower slopes to the north of the park the medieval town field expanded as the number of farmholdings increased and sought to maximise the amount of arable land. Around 1580 William Fleming began work on the present hall, although the le Flemings were to forsake Coniston Hall for a new residence in Rydal during the late-seventeenth century, with the hall being maintained as a hunting lodge until the park finally fell out of use around 1710. (Maxwell and Lund)

Gatehouse Comments

The south east wing is, probably incorrectly, also described as a tower in some sources. However it is probably the earliest surviving part of the building and it is described in several sources as 'fortified' but without a clear idea of what form that 'fortification' took. The later changes to the building are complex and seem to include turning the lower part of the middle (hall) range into a brye although the building cannot be described as a pele-house bastle.

- 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 ReferenceSD304963
Latitude54.3578300476074
Longitude-3.07186007499695
Eastings330440
Northings496340
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Alan Hilditch All Rights Reserved
Copyright Alan Hilditch All Rights Reserved
Copyright Alan Hilditch All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 43
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 378-9 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 249 (possible)
  • Armitt, M.L., 1916, Rydal (Kendal) p. 475 (C19 drawings)
  • Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1914, VCH Lancashire Vol. 8 p. 367-8 online transcription
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 21, 361, 433
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 213 online copy
  • Green, Wm, 1819, The tourist's new guide, containing a description of the lakes, mountains, and scenery, in Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire Vol. 1 p. 65 online copy
  • West, T., 1805, Antiquites of Furness (Ulverston) p. 278-92 online copy

Journals

  • Maxwell, R and Lund, J., 2001-02, 'Historic Landscape Survey of Coniston Hall Estate' NT Annual Archaeological Review North West online copy
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1926, 'An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Westmorland and Lancashire North-of-the-Sands' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 26 p. 43 online copy
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1910, 'Coniston Hall' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 10 p. 354-68 online copy
  • Cooper, H. Swainson, 1888, 'Coniston Hall' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 9.2 p. 439-47 online copy