Clifton Hall Tower

CHall1

The Tower of Clifton Hall dates from about 1500 and is all that remains of a substantial medieval manor house which was begun in about 1400. The hall was constructed by the Engayne family and was demolished in the early 19th century to make way for the existing farmhouse. Gilbert Engayne had been granted the manor, village and lands of Clifton some time before 1173. One of his descendants, Elianor Engayne, married into the Wybergh family and it was during her lifetime that the first manor house was built on this site. Following the death of Elianor, the sole Engayne heiress, in 1412 the house passed to her son from her first marriage to William Wybergh and became the property of the Wybergh family. The late medieval tower wing was occupied continuously from the late 15th century until the early 19th century and retains considerable medieval fabric and many original architectural features.

CHall4

Characteristic of the borderlands of England and Scotland, tower houses are a type of defensible house that were important centres of medieval life. Fortified towers were often added to manor houses during the troubled and unsettled northern Border regions throughout the medieval period. Not only built for defence, they were fashionable additions to the houses of ambitious local gentry like the Wyberghs and provided comfortable accommodation for the family.

CHall2

Constructed of red sandstone, the ground floor of the tower is divided into three rooms which later functioned as service rooms and a kitchen. Originally a single large room that functioned as a parlour, the ground floor would have been well furnished with a wooden decorated ceiling and painted plaster walls. The room was converted in about 1600 to serve the new hall built to the south of the tower with three new doors inserted into the south wall. The principle chamber, or solar, was a comfortable living room for the family and was originally entered at first floor level from both the old hall and an external staircase to the south.

CHall5

Ground floor 18th century fireplace

Shortly afterwards the family got into financial difficulties and in 1640, Thomas Wybergh was forced to mortgage the lands surrounding the manor. In 1652, during the Civil War, the next Thomas Wybergh had his remaining estates forcibly sold owing to his support for the Royalists. Only the manor house itself now remained in the possession of the family. Further trouble arose during the Jacobite uprising when William Wybergh was kidnapped by Scottish soldiers in 1715. The building was occupied and plundered in 1745 shortly before the Battle of Clifton Moor which was the last military engagement on English soil.

CHall6

The Upper Chamber

Access to the upper floors is by a newel or circular stair situated in the south west corner of the tower. The Upper Chamber (above) was the most private and secluded space in the house accessible only from the principle chamber on the first floor. Still retaining an original fireplace, the Upper Chamber has been subdivided in more recent centuries with the addition of 18th century windows in the east wall. When the house was altered in 1600, the two upper chambers were retained with one of them perhaps used for dining.

CHall7

The hall was demolished in the early 19th century with the tower remaining in use as a farm building until renovation during the late 1970’s. The tower was placed in the guardianship of the Secretary of State in 1973.

CHall8

The present roof is a 17th century replacement

The present roof (above) is a 17th century replacement of an earlier roof and was raised at the same time that the tower’s crenellated parapets and south west corner were built. Clifton Hall Tower is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

CHall3

Remaining fabric of the old hall

Advertisements

Keld Chapel

Keld3

In the small hamlet of Keld stands a medieval stone chapel. The Chapel at Keld is widely believed to have initially been a chantry owned by the monks of Shap Abbey. The monks, belonging to the Premonstatension foundation, dedicated Shap Abbey and the whole valley to God and St. Mary Magdalene. During the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene was the patron saint of mistresses and it has been suggested that the Abbey was endowed to commemorate a mistress of very high standing. The custom of saying Mass for the repose of the souls of those who had died became increasingly common in the Middle Ages and some very wealthy individuals left money for Mass and prayers to be said in perpetuity for this purpose. By the early part of the 12th century, religious houses were becoming overwhelmed by such bequests and there is evidence that they were interfering with their other day to day activities. One solution to this problem, which would not upset the families of influential patrons, was to build special chapels where these obligations could be fulfilled. These chapels were called chantries.

Keld2

Chantries were initially part of the main church but separate buildings were later constructed for the purpose of commemorating the dead. These separate chantry chapels were not common until the mid 14th century. All of the exterior walls of Keld Chapel appear to have been built at the same time and the architecture of the windows would suggest that the building was constructed in the later years of the 15th century. The windows could have been brought from Shap Abbey and the stones used in the doorway are thought likely to have been carved in Roman times.

Keld5

There are no records relating to the chapel building in the early years after the dissolution of the Abbey and the first recorded reference details the christening of Ann Burdey, a child of a traveller, on 16th June 1672. Prior to 1698, the chapel had ceased to be used for any religious purpose and had become used as a private dwelling.

Keld4

The chapel is constructed of coursed rubble limestone with a single ridge chimney and features a Westmorland slate roof covering. The simple interior has unplastered stonework and the roof has exposed rafters and purlins (above). The inner dividing wall, fireplace and chimney (below) are 19th century additions and while the roof has been restored on a number of occasions, many of the slates are thought to be original.

Keld6

Keld Chapel is Grade II Listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Keld1

Caerlaverock Castle

Caerl8

On the south coast of Scotland, where the swift flowing River Nith enters the salt marshes of the Solway Firth, stands the medieval stronghold of Caerlaverock Castle. During the Middle Ages, the castle guarded an important gateway into the kingdom of Scotland. The lands of Caerlaverock (meaning fort of the skylark or elm fort) were ruled by British lords of Nithsdale after the Romans abandoned their hold on southern Scotland around 400AD. By 950AD, the Nithsdale lords had built a fort on the site that would later become the old castle. In around 1220, Alexander II of Scotland granted the lands to an incomer from the eastern Borders, Sir John de Maccuswell (Maxwell).

Caerl4

The Maxwell coat of arms was added above the entrance gate in the 1600s.

The Maxwells built the first castle (old castle) around 1220 but as it proved too small and prone to flooding, they built a new castle in around 1270. The castle is uniquely triangular in shape with three tall towers built integrally at each point of the triangle. As a result of the close proximity to England, Caerlaverock Castle was frequently brought into conflict during the Middle Ages. The castle walls were rebuilt in the 1370s after the War of Independence and further alterations were made to make the fortress more suited for lordly living. The siege of 1640 however, during the Civil War between Charles I and his Socttish subjects, proved to be the castle’s last, and after the Royalist garrison surrendered to the Covenanters, Caerlaverock fell into disuse.

Caerl3

Surrounding the castle are two moats (outer moat is now dry) and following archaeological excavations in 1958, three phases of medieval bridge construction was discovered in the outer moat. The courtyard (above) was the heart of the castle and when first built, the curtain walls were lined with timber buildings. Over the course of time, the Maxwells replaced them with stone buildings and a 15th century stone stair tower was added giving access both to the gatehouse and the west range.

Caerl6         Caerl1

The plain front of the west range (above left & right) contrasts to the grand facade of the Nithsdale Lodging. Built after 1450, the two-storey block has three rooms on the ground floor, each entered separately from the courtyard. Each room had a decorated fireplace with a larger room on the upper floor believed to have been used as a great hall or banqueting room.

Caerl7

Murdoch’s Tower viewed from the east range overlooking the courtyard

At either end of the south range was a round tower. The south west tower, known as Murdoch’s Tower, still stands to full height. The tower takes its name from Murdoch the Duke of Albany, a cousin of James I, who is recorded as being confined there in 1425 shortly before his execution.

Caerl2

In 1603, James VI’s accession to the English throne as James I brought peace to the Border country for the first time in centuries. The new found confidence led to Robert Maxwell overseeing more building works within Caerlaverock and he was created Earl of Nithsdale in 1620. As they were built by Robert, the ranges along the east and south sides of the courtyard are known as the Nithsdale Lodging. The lodging was completed in 1634 and as security was no longer a priority, Robert had large windows installed in the east curtain wall. The Renaissance mansion had a richly decorated symmetrical facade with stone carving. The pedimented windows are adorned with figures from classical myths and legends.

Caerl5

17th Century fireplace

The east range consists of two roomed apartments on each of the three floors and all featured a fireplace and toilet closets. After the siege of 1640, the castle was partially dismantled by the Covenanters to render it incapable of further defence. The castle was left to fall into decay until 1946 when the 16th Duke placed Caerlaverock in state care.

Caerl9

Egglestone Abbey

Egglestone6

East range with Chapter House

On the southern bank of the River Tees stand the ruins of Egglestone Premonstratensian Abbey. The church and cloister was a small narrow building and was first constructed in 1195-1225. In circa 1250, the presbytery was rebuilt and the nave enlarged. The north and west walls of the nave are the only surviving parts of the original church.

Egglestone1

The Abbey was founded between 1195 – 1198, by the de Multon family, for Premonstratensian canons and was constructed of squared stone and rubble. The cruciform plan church almost lost its Abbey status as a result of the poverty suffered by the canons throughout their history. Known as ‘white monks’, the Canons undertook preaching and pastoral work in the region but followed the Cistercian rule of austerity.

Egglestone7

East end of the 13th century church

The five light east window (above) consists of four tall straight moulded mullions with no tracery.

Egglestone4

After the Dissolution in 1538, the north and east ranges were converted to a manorial hall by Robert Strelley. Dating to the mid 16th century, the east range of the cloister (above) was of three storeys and features a first floor fireplace with a flat pointed head with the remains of a warming house fireplace on the ground floor.

Egglestone5

East range groin-vaulted rere-dorter undercroft

The Abbey was sold in 1770 to John Morritt of Rokeby Hall with his descendant placing the ruins in state guardianship in 1925.

Egglestone8

The ruins of Egglestone Abbey are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I Listed.

Egglestone2

Kirkby Stephen: Church of St Stephen

Kirkby4

Located on the north side of Market Square in Kirkby Stephen is the parish church of St Stephen. Rebuilt in the early 13th century, the church is constructed of coursed squared rubble and ashlar. The 16th century west tower is of three stages and features an embattled parapet with pinnacles.

Kirkby5

The church features a clerestory detailing double and triple mullioned windows which date to the 19th century.

Kirkby7

The church features a seven bay nave with much of the interior stonework replaced or reworked during the 19th century.

Kirkby1

The aisles have 15th century windows with tracery which dates to the 19th century.

Kirkby2

The ornately decorated pulpit is constructed of various coloured marble and dates to c1871. The Church of St Stephen is Grade II* Listed.

Brough Castle

Brough2

Situated in an elevated position above Swindall Beck is Brough Castle. Constructed on the site of the Roman fort of Verteris, the oldest parts of the castle dates to circa 1100AD. With the constant threat of attack from the kings of Scotland during the 12th century, Brough Castle underwent several rebuilds and strengthening of its defences during its history.

The 13th century Clifford’s Tower (above) was built by Roger de Clifford with the addition of Tudor windows which were inserted by Lady Anne Clifford. The tower structure is D shaped with three storeys which stands upon a plinth. Much of the outer wall of the tower was rebuilt in 1660 by Lady Anne Clifford.

Brough1

What remains of the gatehouse (above) which dates to 1200AD and was the work of Robert de Vieuxpont. The gatehouse was originally three storeys high and was added to the castle following damage sustained by the Scots in 1174.

Brough7

The hall range lies in the south east corner of the courtyard and is thought to have been first built by Roger de Clifford. Above a series of vaulted ground floor rooms a first floor hall was added.

Brough3

The 14th century outer walls survive relatively intact whereas the courtyard rooms survive only at ground floor level.

Brough8

The south east view of the keep (above) which was built on the site of a former tower. The tower is thought likely to date to the late 12th century and built by Theobald de Valoines during the period when Brough was in royal ownership.

Brough5         Brough6

The interior of the keep (above left) shows some of the surviving 17th century wall plaster. The basement was used as a store room, a hall was on the first floor with the top floor partitioned to form two chambers.

Brough4

View across the courtyard shows the cobbled surface which was excavated in the 1920’s. What remains of the stables, built by Lady Anne Clifford, can be seen on the right. The stables were positioned between the gatehouse and the keep and stood along the south wall. Brough Castle and what remains of the Roman Fort Verteris are a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Cesis Medieval Castle

CesCast4

The medieval castle in Cesis dates back to the 13th century when the ancient hillfort was home to the Livonian Brothers of Sword. Constructed of dolostone, the castle suffered serious damage during the Livonian Wars. The castle was besieged by Russians in 1577 during which time the western part of the castle was blown up.

CesCast1

Surrounded by a moat on its south side, the castle was naturally protected by the steep slopes formed by the Gauja River valley. The fortifications have undergone a series of rebuilds and expansion over the course of its history with most of the surviving structure dating to the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

CesCast3     CesCast2

The rounded tower dates to the latter half of the 15th century. Three of five such towers survive today with the loss of a tower in both the north and south corners. The castle has been undergoing restoration since 1952.

CesCast

A surviving corner tower of two stages adorned with hanging arches