Selside Hall

Has been described as a Possible Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameSelside Hall
Alternative NamesSelsat
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishWhitwell And Selside

Built late in C14 with a central hall and crosswings at N&S ends ...." an interesting example of C14 domestic building" (RCHME).

Selside Hall consisted of twin towers connected by an intervening central block. The southern tower is known to have been residence circa 1450 and the northern tower was added about 1550 when the hall was re-erected. There have been 18th century and later alterations and additions. (Curwen). The hall includes the remains of a tower built in C15, and a second tower at the north end which was rebuilt in circa 1550. he hall was divided into two storeys in C16. A chapel is documented in C17, and was demolished in 1718 (Perriam and Robinson). (PastScape)

Selside Hall (Plate 158), 180 yards S.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built late in the 14th century with a central hall and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The N. cross-wing appears to have been shortened at the W. end at some uncertain date. Early in the 16th century the hall-block was probably divided into two storeys and the fireplace inserted. The house was much altered in the 18th century and there is a modern addition at the N. end.

The house is an interesting example of a 14th-century domestic building.

The E. front of the hall-block has a 17th-century or later porch and within it is the original 14th-century doorway; it has moulded jambs and two-centred head. The N. wing has an original window, on the first floor, of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a moulded label. The S. wing has an original window of one square-headed light on the ground floor and another on the first floor similar to that in the N. wing but with a transom and with unpierced spandrels; the label has defaced head-stops. On the S

wall of the house is a 16th-century chimney-stack with tabled offsets and shortened octagonal shaft. The W. side of the house retains one stone of the N. jamb of the former original doorway to the screens. The staircase-wing has a blocked stone window, probably of the 17th century. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams. The early 16th-century inserted fireplace in the hall has a moulded bressummer across the opening of the recess (Plate 25) and a panelled screen and moulded post dividing it from the adjoining passage; the fireplace itself is an early 18th-century insertion with a corbelled head. In the S. wall of the hall is an original doorway with a shouldered head. The ground-floor of the S. wing has an elliptical barrelvault of stone and in the cross-wall is an original doorway with a shouldered head. The late 17th or early 18th-century well-staircase has turned balusters and square newels.

Condition—Good. (RCHME 1936)

Gatehouse Comments

Now a farm house but was manor house site dating back to C13. How 'fortified' the two crosswings of the hall really were may be open to some question, they have relatively thin walls, which allowed them to be modernised with relative ease, and this suggests they may have always been of two storeys (i.e. not towers). However the south wing has walls of greater thickness and is vaulted so may well have been a tower. On the other hand a manorial site may well have been dressed up with high status architectural features such as crenellations. As at some other such house the lower level of the thick walled, vaulted south 'tower' was used as a dairy. The thermal insulation and constant temperature provided by such thick walls would much benefit the dairy function although this does not mean such 'towers' were built to serve such a function.

- 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 ReferenceSD535990
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 364
  • John Burgess, 1988, The Castles of Cumbria; West, Mid and South Cumbria
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 165-6
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth) p. 286
  • Palmer, J.H., 1944, Historic Farmhouses in and around Westmorland (Kendal) p. 108
  • RCHME, 1936, An inventory of the historical monuments in Westmorland (HMSO) p. 243-4 no. 5 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. 324, 394
  • Taylor, M.W., 1892, Old Manorial Halls of Westmorland and Cumberland (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 8) p. 226-9 online copy


  • Ewbank, J.M. (ed), 1963, Antiquary on Horseback: The first publication of the collections of the Rev. Thos. Machell (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 19) p. 95


  • 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. 27 online copy


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