North Lees Hall

Has been described as a Questionable Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameNorth Lees Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDerbyshire
Modern AuthorityDerbyshire
1974 AuthorityDerbyshire
Civil ParishOutseats

North Lees Hall is an interesting example of a tower house, uncommon in these parts. Mainly 16th century with later alterations it is possible that the core is earlier. A 3-storey stone building on a basement with stone-mullioned windows and embattled parapet. Remains of elaborate plaster decoration (restored in the 1960's) and panelling in various rooms. Moulded string courses, stone stacks and transomed windows. A 2-storey wing on the right is of ordinary domestic character. (Derbyshire HER–ref. 1963 listing report)

Tower house with lower attached domestic range. Late C16, with some C19 refashioning, and restored in 1965. Coursed rubble gritstone, rising from a chamfered plinth, with quoins, embattled ashlar parapet with moulded merlons and formerly with a lead roof, now with an asphalt covering. Tower house incorporates a taller stair tower to north east corner, to which is attached a domestic two storey range to the north east. Tower House, south east elevation; three storeys and parapet above basement. Stacked 6-light recessed hollow chamfer mullioned and transomed windows, the one to the first floor beneath a hoodmould with stops, those to the ground and second floors beneath continuous dripmoulds. C20 casements, those to ground floor openings with diamond leaded lights to upper parts. Taller stair tower projects slightly to rear of main tower with single lights within chamfered surrounds to light staircase half landings. North west elevation; projecting stack carried on corbels at height of first floor window heads, and a wide doorway to ground floor with deep chamfers to jambs and lintel. South west elevation has four 4-light hollow chamfer mullioned openings to north west end, and three 3-light hollow chamfer mullioned and transomed windows to south east, indicating a change in floor levels in the rear part of the tower. Full height stack projects between windows, now truncated at parapet level, but with base for diagonal stone chimneys

Domestic range adjoins the stair tower, and is possibly a later and lower rebuilding of an earlier range. Stone slated roof with intermediate and end stacks, and coped gables with moulded kneelers. Two storeys, three bays with advanced gabled range off-centre, to north east of doorway, which has a moulded surround with a plain planked door. 3-light chamfer mullioned windows above doorways with casements. Former C19 3-light mullioned and transomed window to gabled range, now with lower part replaced by C20 joinery. C20 casement to opening with heavy lintel to north east end. Interior; the tower is served by an oak newel stair, and has moulded stone doorcases leading into the principal rooms. The ground and first floor rooms have moulded plaster ceilings which, together with the rest of the interior, were extensively restored in 1965. The ground floor plaster work is dated 1594, with a moulded frieze and a moulded soffit to the main spine beam. The first floor plaster work is more elaborate, with moulded ceiling panels, as well as a frieze, and spine beam soffit. Both ground and first floor rooms have moulded stone surrounds to the hearths and Tudor arched heads, and carved chamfer stops to the jambs. (Derbyshire HER–ref. 1985 listing report)

Gatehouse Comments

Described as a Tower House and therefore comes up as 'fortified house' but clearly entirely domestic, despite the crenellations. The earlier core may have been a defensible tower. Gatehouse suspects if this house was in the Scottish marches it would be clearly described as starting as fortified tower by all the usual sources and authorities.

- 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 ReferenceSK235834
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  • Craven, Maxwell and Stanley, Michael, 2001, The Derbyshire Country House (Landmark Publishing) Vol. 1 p. 161-2
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 196
  • Merill, J.N., 1988, Halls and Castles of the Peak District and Derbyshire (Matlock: JNM Publications) p. 53
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus revised by Elizabeth Williamson, 1978, Buildings of England: Derbyshire (Harmondsworth) p. 291


  • Bemrose, W., 1868-1869, 'North Lees Hall, Derbyshire, and the family of Eyre, to whom it belonged' The Reliquary Vol. 9 p. 201-206