Corby Castle, Great Corby

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry footings remains

NameCorby Castle, Great Corby
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishWetheral

In 1323 the manor of Corby was granted to Sir Richard de Salkeld, whose son is said to have resided here; few if any traces of this early fortress are left. In 1630 the bastle was converted into a more convenient building; other alterations were made in 1671. The castle was rebuilt in 1813 in the form of a square, but Curwen implies that some of the older fabric may have been retained, under a new casing of stone in the Grecian Doric Style.

The present house incorporates many internal features of the 17th c structure, and includes the staircase of what was probably the original pele tower. (R W Emsley/14-APR-1966/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator)

The entrance side of the house and the two right-hand bays represent the original pele tower. The Howards, to whom the property passed in 1611 and 1624, added a long range to the tower, and it received its present form in the early 19th century. (Pevsner)

Corby Castle. C13 tower house encased in later buildings: additions c1630 and c1690, with present facade built between April 1812 and September 1817, by Peter Nicholson for Henry Howard. Red sandstone ashlar, slate roofs. 3 storeys, 5 bays to south front, which has tetrastyle Greek Doric porch, flanked by arcaded loggia above which is a central tripartite window and a Diocletian window on 2nd floor. West face of 3 storeys, 7 bays, has open Greek Doric loggia connected to central recessed bays: both facades have cornice surmounted by the Corby lion (heraldic device of the Howard family). Interior includes; Grecian entrance hall with moulded plasterwork to ceilings and niches; 1720's main staircase of 3 flights, with twisted balusters and ramped handrail; medieval spiral staircase in original tower; mural paintings of Alpine scenes by Matthew Nutter of Carlisle,in bedrooms. Set in grounds laid-out between 1708 and 1729 by Thomas Howard, incorporating many buildings and features listed separately (Listed Building Report ref

Nares 1954). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The original form was a large chamber block attached to a hall. The builders, the Salkelds, were gentry in status rather than baronial, although wealthy and important. This make this a 'pele tower' in the classifications used in Gatehouse although at the top end of the continuum of such buildings. At what date is this first called a 'castle'? Is the castle name and the C19 descriptions of the mansion occupying the site of an ancient castle all part of the aggrandisement of the site by Howards (either when they brought the house in the early C17 or connected with rebuilding in the early C19)?

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceNY470541
Latitude54.8797607421875
Longitude-2.82598996162415
Eastings347080
Northings554190
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 142-3 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 43
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 203
  • 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. 48, 50
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 84
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 73-76
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth) p. 110-112
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 266-7
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 308 online copy
  • Gibson, W.S., 1854, Northumbrian Castles, Churches and Antiquities Part 3 p. 160-68 online copy
  • Jefferson, S., 1838, The History and Antiquities of Carlisle (Carlisle) p. 387-92 online copy
  • Parson, W. and White, W., History, directory and gazetteer of the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland (Leeds) p. 388-90 online copy
  • Britton, J. and Brayley, E.W., 1803, The Beauties of England; Topographical, Historical and Descriptive Delineation of Cumberland (London) p. 132-7 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Levin, H., 1958, 'Corby Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 115 p. 251-2 online copy
  • Nares, 1954 Jan 7 and 14, Country Life Vol. 1 p. 32-5, 92-5
  • Graham, T.H.B., 1914, 'The Manor of Corby' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 14 p. 238-55 online copy