Kentmere Hall

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameKentmere Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishKentmere

Kentmere Hall (Plate 116), 580 yards W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The ruined pele-tower at the W. end of the house dates from the 14th century; the house itself is perhaps of the end of the 14th or of the next century, but the hall is said to have been built by Hugh Herd, temp. Edward VI; this was perhaps a reconstruction of certain parts only, as the existing detail indicates an earlier date. In the 16th century the house belonged to the Gilpin family. The kitchen-wing on the N. of the hall is a modern addition.

The house is of interest as an example of a peletower and small manor-house.

The pele-tower was of four storeys with a barrel-vaulted ground storey and a modern pent roof within the building replacing the destroyed upper floors and original roof; at the N.W. angle is a garde-robe projection and in the N.E. angle a spiral staircase. The ground-storey has a loop-light in the S. wall and a former opening in the N. wall has been widened to form a doorway. The second storey has in the S. wall an original 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a moulded label and a blank panel above it. There are square-headed openings or loops in the walls of the upper storeys. The tower retains part of its plain parapet brought forward on corbels. The hall-block adjoins the tower on the E. and has a screen-passage at the E. end; this is entered by a doorway, at the S. end, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head; farther W. are two blocked or partly-blocked windows, one retaining its stone jambs and square head with a moulded label. The back wall of the hall has a small blocked square-headed window and the doorway to the screens has a roughly arched head. The cross-wing retains no ancient features

The hall-block has a 17th-century roof with cambered tie-beams and collars.

Condition—Good, but tower ruined and ivy-grown. (RCHME 1936)

Tower House and attached farmhouse and barn with hayloft over shippon. Tower house C14; farmhouse probably late C14 or early C15 with later alterations and kitchen extension to rear; barn probably C18 alteration of earlier wing. Rubble walls, house rendered, graduated greenslate roofs; single ridge chimney stack to house. Tower has C20 flat roof replacing original pitched roof but was originally 4 storeys including vaulted ground floor. House 2 storeys. Tower has slit openings with flat heads; inserted medieval window in south wall of 2 trefoiled ogee lights in square head with moulded label and blank panel over. House has C20 windows and doors, one of which retains original stone surround; passage doorway has pointed head and continuous chamfered jamb; small window with stone mullions to rear. Interior of Tower has garderobe projection to North West corner; spiral staircase and blocked doorway (probably original entrance) in North East corner. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Large solar tower of the Gilpin's manor. Approaching a tower house in scale but definitely of gentry, not baronial, status.

- 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 ReferenceNY451042
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Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

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  • Gilpin, A.J., 2006, Kentmere Hall and Beyond: The Gilpin Family and their History (Trafford Publishing)
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 352-3 (plan)
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  • RCHME, 1936, An inventory of the historical monuments in Westmorland (HMSO) p. 129-30 plan [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. 288-90
  • Taylor, M.W., 1892, Old Manorial Halls of Westmorland and Cumberland (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 8) p. 219-22 online copy
  • Hodgson, J., 1810, Topographical and Historical Description of Westmoreland p. 211 online copy
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  • Ewbank, J.M. (ed), 1963, Antiquary on Horseback (CWAAS extra series No. 19) (Thomas Machell's writings)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 481
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 46 online copy


  • Atkin, M.A., 1991, 'The medieval land use of Kentmere' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 91 p. 69- online copy
  • McIntire, W.T., 1934, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 34 p. 194 online copy
  • Cropper, J., 1901, 'Kentmere Hall' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 280-4 online copy
  • Curwen, J.F., 1901, 'Some Notes respecting Kentmere Hall' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 285-8 online copy


  • Scott, Joe, 1999, Kentmere Hall and the Gilpins 1373-1672 (The Occasional Papers of the Stavely and District History Society 12) online copy
  • Clare, T., 1982, A Report on Medieval Fortified Sites in Cumbria (Cumbria CC)