Denton Hall

Has been described as a Rejected Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Rejected Fortified Manor House, and also as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameDenton Hall
Alternative NamesDenton Tower; Turris de Denton juxta Hawtwisill
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishNether Denton

Farmhouse, formerly tower house and hall. C14 tower for Denton family, with extensions dated 1829 over entrance, as part of the Earl of Carlisle's estate. Tower has walls over 2 metres thick of large blocks of calciferous sandstone rubble; extensions of mixed calciferous and red sandstone rubble with ashlar quoins; graduated green slate roof with coped gables and kneelers, cream brick chimney stacks on ashlar bases. Extended front, 2 storeys, 3 bays. 6-panel door with radial fanlight has alternate block surround and round arch with dated keystone. Sash windows with glazing bars have plain raised stone surrounds. Original tower still stands 3 storeys high, walls partly reduced in height when gabled roof added; walls now partly internal but part of rear wall and side wall of the extended house are the tower walls. Rear has gabled C19 porch and C19 2-light mullioned windows. Left of porch is C19, but large footing stones suggest this is on the earlier foundations of the hall. Interior of tower is in an unaltered condition and has many features not visible from the outside and now covered by later buildings. Ground floor is not vaulted; splayed window in north wall has been enlarged. Newel staircase has ground floor entrance in south angle of east wall. First floor room has filled 2-light mullioned window in south wall with shouldered rear arch, splayed and with 2 step window seat; flanking narrow entrances have shouldered arches, that to left leads to stair and right is garderobe with small square filled window. Similar splayed window in west wall has also been filled; enlarged splayed window in north wall. Filled fireplace in east wall, retains its hearth stone. Corbel stones for original ceiling are still in place, with later ceiling on a similar level, supported on beams sunk into wall. Second floor is now in roof space; stair continues up for 4-5 steps and stops

Adjoining barn/stables of 2 storeys, 4 bays, have whitewashed walls, plank doors and similar mullioned windows to rear of house. Encircling dry moat and earthworks remain in part. (Listed Building Report)

A 14th c Pele Tower, 31' x 27-1/2', height lost as it is now gabled over, standing near Denton Hall which was built in 1829. A deep moat is still visible on the south and east sides (Curwen).

The peel tower forms the NW angle to the 19th century Denton Hall. Externally the tower is not apparent, but internally, its walls are found to be 2.0m thick, with a newel staircase at the SE angle. Splayed window openings, blocked externally, survive at first floor level, together with massive corbels just below the present ceiling which would indicate that originally the tower was probably of three stories. Only parts of the E and S arms of the moat survive, consisting of a ditch 2.0m deep with an external bank up to 1.0m high. A water course has eroded and deepened the line of the W arm. The feature described as 'Moat' on the published survey is in fact a very fine series of five fishponds, varying in depth from 0.8m to 1.2m, with a deep hollow to the NW, probably largely natural, acting as a drain-off to the complex. Moat and fishponds resurveyed at 1:2500. Pevsner (giving Curwen as his authority) lists Denton Hall as a motte and bailey. This is clearly an error (F1 DS 25-NOV-71). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Although rejected as a motte and bailey Perriam and Robinson report earthworks nearby and record that Clare (1982) writes 'there are good reasons for believing the moats at Millom and Nether Denton to be earlier than the towers...' and comment "In that he recognised them as moated manor sites." Tower mentioned in 1415 list of towers in Northumberland; this Denton was part of Northumberland during the middle ages but moved into Cumberland at some uncertain date.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceNY578630
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 48
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 149 (plan)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 48 (slight)
  • Jackson, M.J.,1990, Castles of Cumbria (Carlisle: Carel Press) p. 98
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 85
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 82-3
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth) p. 121
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 22, 28, 276-7
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1901, 'Remains of the pre-Norman Period' in H.Arthur Doubleday (ed), VCH Cumberland Vol. 1 p. 292-3 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, Border Holds of Northumberland (London and Newcastle: Andrew Reid) p. 18 (Also published as the whole of volume 14 (series 2) of Archaeologia Aeliana view online)


  • Hedley, W.P., 1959, 'Denton in Cumberland and Denton in Northumberland' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 59 p. 151-2 online copy
  • Graham, T.H.B., 1926, 'Brampton and Denton' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 26 p. 288-94 online copy
  • Bates, C.J., 1891, 'Border Holds of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 14 p. 18 online copy
  • Ferguson, R.S., 1882, 'Earthworks in Cumberland' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 6 p. 194 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1415 Nomina Castrorum et Fortaliciorum infra Comitatum Northumbrie online transcription
  • Graham, T. H. B. (ed.). 1934, The barony of Gilsland. Lord William Howard's survey, taken in 1603 (Feild-Booke yt explaines all the Map Booke for Gilsland taken in 1603) (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 16) p. 49
  • Denton, J., 1610 in Ferguson, R.S. (ed), 1887, An Accompt of the Estates and Families in the County of Cumberland (Kendal: CWAAS Tract Series 2) p. 139- online copy


  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk North West Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 18 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 19 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 19 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 33 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 31 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 28 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 38 online copy
  • Clare, T., 1982, A Report on Medieval Fortified Sites in Cumbria (Cumbria CC)