Middleton Hall

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameMiddleton Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishMiddleton

Now a farmhouse, originally a manor house and tower house of late 14th century date, (tower documented 1327-77 and destroyed in 1450). The house was extended in the early to mid 15th century, altered in the 16th and 17th centuries and further extended in the 18th and 19th centuries. Originally an H-plan hall house, the north wing has since been demolished. A 16th century barn stands north west of the house. It was extended circa 1850. An outer defensive wall was added to the site in the mid 15th century. (PastScape)

Most of wall reduced in height but part retains corbelling to parapet to south side, with recessed upper part for wall passage to north side. (Listed Building Report)

Middleton Hall (Plate 142), over ¾ m. N.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The house was built probably late in the 14th century on the usual mediæval plan, with a hall and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. In the 15th century the two E. extensions of the wings were added, the curtain-wall built for greater security and additional windows inserted in the hall. In the first half of the 16th century the chimney-stack was inserted in the hall and the outbuilding added against the N. curtain. The hall-roof was reconstructed probably in 1647, the date remaining on the W. front. A former kitchen N. of the house is said to have been pulled down c. 1850 and before that date part of the house had become ruinous. It belonged to the Middleton family at least till the 17th century.

The house is an interesting example of a mediæval manor house with an outer defensive wall.

The W

side of the Hall-block (Plate 143) has an original doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with a blank shield at the apex and defaced headstops; of the two windows on this side the first is original and of two trefoiled and transomed lights in a square head with a moulded label; the second window is of the 15th century and of two trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head with a label. The altered top of the wall has a stone with the initials and date I.M. 1647. The E. side of the hall-block has an original doorway with hollow-chamfered jambs, two-centred head and moulded label; the windows are similar to those in the W. wall but in reverse order and set close together. The S. or Solar-wing has, at the W. end, a modern window, with an original window above, of two lights in a square head with a label; the former cusps have been cut away. The N. or Buttery-wing has been largely pulled down, the S.W. angle, however, is standing to some height, and the E. end forms part of the later extension to the wing; this extension retains no ancient features. The corresponding extension of the S. wing has in the E. wall a 15th-century window of one trefoiled light and in the N. wall a doorway of the same period, with a pointed head. The S. side of the S. wing has a large chimney-stack and to the W. of it two 16th-century two-light windows, the lights of the upper window are four-centred and those below rounded; both windows have moulded labels; E. of the chimney-stack is a 17th-century window.

Inside the building the Hall has the screens-passage at the N. end and in the N. wall are three original doorways with chamfered jambs and two-centred arches; the middle doorway no doubt communicated by a central passage through the N. wing with the kitchen beyond. The inserted 16th-century chimney-stack has a doorway of the same age, to the W. of it; the fireplace had a segmental arch, now filled in. In the S. wall of the hall is an original doorway with a shouldered lintel; near it in the E. wall was a doorway opening into a staircase. In the S.W. window are four roundels of late 15th-century painted glass—sun, star, MR monogram and the initials ihc. The main room in the S. wing (now used as a Methodist Chapel) is lined with 17th-century panelling of two periods, with enriched frieze-panels; over the fireplace is an overmantel made up of 17th-century carved woodwork including enriched panels and cresting, turned pendants and a rail with the initials and date I.M. 1670; above the E. doorway is a board with the inscription "Venturum exhoresco diem." The upper floor of the wing has a mid 16th-century fireplace (Plate 41) with moulded jambs, flat four-centred arch with enriched spandrels carried up as square panels at the sides; these panels have shields-of-arms of (a) Middleton and (b) Middleton impaling Tunstall. In the E. wall is a doorway with a shouldered arch.

The Curtain Wall encloses a large courtyard on the W. side of the house. The W. wall had a parapet of which the corbelling still remains; near the middle is a wide gateway (Plate 74) with chamfered 15th-century jambs and a later segmental arch; above it are two 15th-century windows each of one trefoiled light in a square head with a moulded label; they indicate the former existence of a two-storeyed gatehouse at the back of the curtain; a fireplace of this building still remains in the rear face of the curtain-wall. At the S.W. angle of the curtain was a square tower, now destroyed. The corbelling at the N.W. angle of the curtain indicates that here the wall was carried up as a turret; probably in the 16th century the existing building was added in the N.W. angle of the curtain. It contains some windows of this period. There is a further length of ruined curtain connecting the two extended wings on the E. side of the house and forming a small courtyard.

Condition—Of inhabited parts, good. (RCHME 1936)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceSD627874
Latitude54.2812309265137
Longitude-2.57451009750366
Eastings362700
Northings487450
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

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Books

  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 209
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 357 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 73
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 271
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 495
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 132-3
  • Palmer, J.H., 1944, Historic Farmhouses in and around Westmorland (Kendal) p. 88
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth) p. 276
  • RCHME, 1936, An inventory of the historical monuments in Westmorland (HMSO) p. 170-2 no. 4 plan [online transcription > http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=120789]
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 383-4
  • Taylor, M.W., 1892, Old Manorial Halls of Westmorland and Cumberland (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 8) p. 232-8 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 208-9 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Ewbank, J.M. (ed), 1963, Antiquary on Horseback (CWAAS extra series No. 19) (Thomas Machell's writings) online transcription

Journals

  • 1958, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 58 p. 200 online copy
  • McIntire, W.T., 1938, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 38 p. 294-6 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. 36 online copy
  • Curwen, J.F., 1912, 'Middleton Hall, Westmorland' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 12 p. 107-12 (plan) online copy
  • Taylor, M.W., 1884, 'On Middleton Hall' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 7 p. 96-102 online copy

Other

  • Clare, T., 1982, A Report on Medieval Fortified Sites in Cumbria (Cumbria CC)