Ulpha Old Hall

Has been described as a Questionable Pele Tower, and also as a Questionable Bastle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameUlpha Old Hall
Alternative NamesUlfhay
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishUlpha

Ulpha Old Hall, first referred to in a document of 1666, has crude masonry and is probably a late C15 hall-farm house, and is unlikely to have been a Pele tower (Fair). The south & east walls of this ruin are 20ft. high and in good condition - No traces of north and west walls, but a small wall has been built on the site of the old walls (SS Reviser 26.1.51). The Hall is in a ruinous condition and is due for total demolition. Only the core of its walls are standing from which little can be inferred concerning its original state. It appears unlikely, however, to have been anything other than a farmhouse of minor interest (Field Investigators Comments–F1 RE 10-JUL-72). (PastScape)

The only remains of Ulpha Old Hall, purported to be C16, are a tower on the edge of a ravine. The NW and SW corners have been totally removed. According to Barker, Old Hall farmhouse has 2 parts of a date lintel from Old Hall used as quoins. The inscription reads "ID 1747" which may suggest that part of Old Hall at least is younger than previously thought. According to L Cantor, Alice de Hudeleston had a park at Ulpha as early as 1337. The present Ulpha Park, centred at SD1991 is probably connected with the earlier park. (Lake District HER)

Gatehouse Comments

The building was of sufficient interest to be described by Collingwood in 1899. He hoped 'that no further destruction will take place'. but the existing remains are less than those he described. Despite the rather dismissive comments in the PastScape record the building hasn't been demolished but, as far as I am aware, remains unprotected. However, despite Collingwood's assertion that the 'place was was evidently built as a a peel' it does seem this was not a fortified house, although the existence of Ulpha park implies that a high status house must have stood here at an earlier date and this is likely to have been built in a fortified style even, to quote Collingwood, "though, in this quiet spot, with no records of raids or wars, it is hard to see why such a fortress was wanted, unless to emulate the grandeur of Millom Castle." The ground floor was residential and the building seems to have had only two storeys, so while much of this building might just fit within the superior bastle type, it is probably best though of as a purely domestic house, with thick walls and small windows having as much, or more, to do with retaining heat rather than defence.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSD181924
Latitude54.3212013244629
Longitude-3.25911998748779
Eastings318190
Northings492460
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

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Books

  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 116 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 91
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 48 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 91
  • Pevsner, N., 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth: Penguin) p. 195
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 400

Journals

  • Fair, M.C., 1950, 'Notes on the history of Ulpha' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 50 p. 101-2 online copy
  • Collingwood, W.G., 1899, 'Ulpha Old Hall' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 15 p. 315-20 online copy