Kirkoswald College

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameKirkoswald College
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishKirkoswald

House, built 1696 AD, incorporating remains of a college of secular priests, founded circa 1523 AD, dissolved 1548. However, the house probably originated as a 15th century fortified vicarage, it containing a four-storeyed tower of 15th century date. (PastScape)

House, formerly College of Vicars. Late C15 tower house, extended 1523 for Thomas Lord Dacre (his coat of arms over a now internal door and repositioned panel of arms over fireplace in hall), alterations of c1633-1641 for Sir Timothy Fetherstonhaugh, further additions dated 1696 with initials T.F.(&)B.F. (Timothy & Bridget Fetherstonhaugh) over entrance and additions of 1838-1843 by Timothy Fetherstonhaugh. Dressed and rubble red sandstone walls, (1696 walls partly of stone from Kirkoswald Castle), with ashlar quoins to facade; graduated hipped sandstone slate roof; ashlar ridge chimney stacks to front, with C19 candlestick chimney stacks to rear. 2 storeys, 9 bays to principal facade. Front has recessed central 5 bays, with projecting flanking bays. Double 6-panel doors in moulded architrave, console bracketed cornice, swan-neck pediment with inscription and Fetherstonhaugh coat of arms. Replacement sash windows with glazing bars in moulded stone architraves; ground floor windows with moulded cornices and upper floor central bays with pulvinated friezes. Principal feature of rear is C15 tower house, centre right, of originally 4 storeys; canted bay windows 3 storeys high have replacement sash windows with glazing bars. Tower of similar proportions (but thinner walls) to left centre is probably C16, 3½ storeys; ground floor 2-light mullioned window, high round-headed attic opening, all other windows are sashes with glazing bars. Extension to right of 1½ storeys, 3 bays is dated MDCCCXLII; mullioned casement windows with hood moulds to ground floor; gabled dormer windows (below eaves)

C19 extension to left of 3 bays, was originally single storey increased to 2 storeys in mid or late C19; sash windows with glazing bars and hood moulds. Interior has mid C17 wooden panelled room, with other mid C17 woodwork. 1696 staircase, large newel staircase in tower. 1696 wood and plaster ceiling in hall with heraldic devices. Originally the Vicarage for Kirkoswald Church and converted to College of Vicars c1523; lands reverted to Crown in 1548 and let to various tenants until purchased by Henry Fetherstonhaugh in 1590; remained in the same family ever since. (Listed Building Report)

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 ReferenceNY554411
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Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

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  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 123 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 98 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 94


  • Oswald, 1928 Nov 17, Country Life Vol. 64 p. 700-707
  • Featherstonehaugh and Haswell, F., 1914, 'The College of Kirkoswald and the Family of Fetherstonhaugh' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 14 p. 196-237 online copy