Sizergh Castle

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House, and also as a Possible Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameSizergh Castle
Alternative NamesSiserge; Siser
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishHelsington

The earliest remains are of c14 manor house which had a ground-floor hall, a crenellated four-storey solar tower, and a service block. This building was radically altered in the late 1550s and early 1560s by Walter Strickland who remodelled the solar tower, built a new hall with attics over at first-floor level, rebuilt the service block as a three-storey lower end tower with associated garderobe wing, and added two long wings, the south wing with a long gallery over lodgings, the north wing with a kitchen, service rooms and accommodation for upper servants. The fitting out of the interior continued after Walter's death in 1569, the later work including the Inlaid Chamber. Alterations were made throughout C18 to the circulation pattern of the house as well as to its fittings, as they were in C19 and early C20. (PastScape)

Sizergh Castle, nearly 1 m. S.E. of the church, is of two, three and four storeys; the walls are of local rubble and the roofs are covered with slates and lead. It came into the possession of the Strickland family in the 13th century. The earliest part of the building is the pele-tower at the S. end of the main block, which dates from the second half of the 14th century; there was almost certainly a building adjoining the tower on the N. and represented in part by the existing main block with its N. cross-wing; it was perhaps of one storey only, as indicated by the marks of a roof on the N. face of the tower. About 1560 the main block was reconstructed and heightened and the two long W. wings were added, the northern perhaps incorporating earlier work in the kitchen. A considerable amount of work was done at this time by Sir Walter Strickland and his widow, as is indicated by the dates of 1563, 1564, 1569 and 1575 on various overmantels. Alterations were made to the tower in 1749 and c. 1770–80 Cecilia Lady Strickland again reconstructed and heightened the main block

In 1891 the panelling and overmantel of the Inlaid Chamber were removed to the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 1898 the lowest storey of the main block was altered by the cutting of a carriage-way through it. (RCHME 1936)

Gatehouse Comments

Although now universally called Sizergh 'Castle', the castle honorific seems to be of recent origin, most C19 authors called it Sizergh Hall and the first use of 'castle seems to be in the late C19. In fact this is a large and impressive C14 pele tower in the sense of being a gentry status (The Sticklands were an important gentry family but not baronial) building in the form of a solar or chamber block tower attached to an unfortified hall. The additions of the C15 and C16 (another smaller tower and some wings) and a possible moat do, arguably, then make this a fortified manor house.

- 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 ReferenceSD498878
Latitude54.2841186523438
Longitude-2.77150988578796
Eastings349870
Northings487870
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 438
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 88-9
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 366-7 (plan)
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 248
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 272-3 (plan)
  • Cope, Jean, 1991, Castles in Cumbria (Cicerone Press) p. 112-14
  • Jackson, M.J.,1990, Castles of Cumbria (Carlisle: Carel Press) p. 87, 89
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 208-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 493-4
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 298
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 166-175
  • Pevsner, N., 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (London, Penguin) p. 289-91
  • RCHME, 1936, An inventory of the historical monuments in Westmorland (HMSO) p. 105-8 no. 2 plan [online transcription > http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=120760]
  • Hornyold, Henry, 1928, Strickland of Sizergh (Kendal)
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 314-6
  • Scott, Daniel, 1908, The Stricklands of Sizergh Castle (Kendal)
  • Strickland, 1898, Sizergh Castle (Kendal) (largely family history)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 292 online copy
  • Taylor, M.W., 1892, Old Manorial Halls of Westmorland and Cumberland (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 8) p. 182-98 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 209 online copy
  • Nicholson, C., 1832, The Annals of Kendal (London) p. 102-9 online copy
  • Whitaker, T.D., 1823, A History of Richmondshire in the North Riding of the County of York (London) Vol. 1 p. 333-5 online copy
  • West, T., 1822, The Antiquities Of Furness. A New Edition With Additions By William Close (Ulverston)
  • Hodgson, J., 1810, Topographical and Historical Description of Westmoreland p. 201-3 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Hughes, E. (ed), 1962, Fleming-Senhouse Papers (Carlisle: Cumberland Record Series 2) p. 11

Journals

  • Goodall, Ian, 2002, 'Privacy, display and over extension: Walter Strickland's rebuilding of Sizergh' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 82 p. 197-245
  • Musson, J., 2000 June 22, 'Back home to its castle' Country Life p. 154-7
  • Lynch, F., 1982, 'Sizergh Castle' 129th Annual Meeting, Cumbria and Lake District 1982, CAA p. 29-30
  • Hornyold-Strickland, H., 1970, 'Sizergh Castle' Archaeological Journal Vol. 127 p. 258-97
  • Hornyold-Strickland, M., 1951, 'Sizergh Castle, Westmorland, a border Pele tower' Country Life
  • Hornyold-Strickland, 1950, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 50 p. 197 online copy
  • Nares, 1949, Country Life Vol. 106 p. 1216-18
  • Washington, S.H.L., 1944, 'The Early History of the Stricklands of Sizergh' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 44 p. 26 online copy
  • Washington, S.H.L., 1942, 'The early history of the Stricklands of Sizergh' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 42 p. 188-231 online copy
  • Hornyold, 1925, 'Proceedings - Sizergh Castle' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 25 p. 355-61 online copy
  • 1906 June 30, 'Sizergh Castle' Country Life Vol. 19 p. 942-50
  • Taylor, M.W., 1889, 'Sizergh, No. 1' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 10 p. 48-65 online copy
  • Curwen, J.F., 1889, 'Sizergh, No. 2' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 10 p. 66-74 (plan) online copy
  • 1891, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London Vol. 13 p. 329 (removal of Elizabethan pannelling) online copy
  • Bellasis, E., 1889, 'Strickland of Sizergh' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 10 p. 75-94 online copy

Guide Books

  • National Trust, 2001, Sizergh Castle Guide Book (National Trust)
  • Hornyold-Strickland, Henry (rev edn), 1979, Sizergh Castle Guide Book (National Trust)

Other

  • Goodall, Ian, 2000, Sizergh Castle (Architectural survey report. Index No. 99114. National Buildings Record Index. English Heritage)
  • Clare, T., 1982, A Report on Medieval Fortified Sites in Cumbria (Cumbria CC)