Brougham Hall

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Just a mile south of Penrith is the estate of Brougham Hall. Originally a medieval manor house, the site has been fortified since 1307 and the last battle on English soil was fought in the meadows below Brougham on 18th December 1745 – the climax of the ’45 Rebellion (Jenkins, 2003). The ruin of Brougham Hall conceals a long history. The name Brougham derives from Brocavum, celtic for home of the badgers, and was adopted by the Romans for their fort located one roman mile north east of the Hall. Brocavum Fort commanded the bridge over the River Eamont and controlled the junction of the principle roman road from York to Carlisle with the secondary roman road to Ambleside and Hardnott. Until 1237 Scotland started at Brougham and the St Andrews Cross still flies from local churches. King Alexander, Prince Charles Stuart of Scotland, King Henry II, King Richard I, King Henry III, King Richard III, King James I and King Charles I of England have all had an influence on this area. With history that can be traced back to the Late Neolithic Period, Brougham Hall has been host to many great characters. From Hadrian and his northern defences to Winston Churchill, accompanied by Eisenhower, who came to inspect his top secret C.D.I tanks. These vehicles were used in the first Rhine crossing at Remagen on 7th March 1945. Initially owned by the de Burgham family, ownership of the house was divided into three parts during the 13th century and remained this way until 1676. On the death of Lady Anne Clifford, her share was sold to James Bird, her trusted agent, which gave him full ownership of Brougham. James was responsible for extensive building work and the expansion for the Hall. Part of the estate was already owned by the Broughams prior to James Bird and it wasn’t until John Brougham of Scales bought Brougham Hall in 1726 that the Hall was returned to Brougham ownership. The Lord Chancellor of England, Lord Brougham and Vaux, also lived at Brougham Hall and after successfully defending Queen Caroline against King George IV in 1820, he went on to design the famous Brougham Carriage.

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Brougham Hall received license to crenelate in 1307 and the oldest surviving building above ground level at the Hall is the Tudor building in the courtyard. Dating to around 1480, the door, lower windows and upper west window are all original with two upper windows later installed, as is the machicolation over the door. The date of the building falls at about the most turbulent time in British history when no fewer than four monarchs came and went within a three year period. Richard III was well known in the Penrith area as ‘Lord of the North’ and his reign, between 1483-1485, was also short-lived. The fine studded panelled entrance gates (above) are made of Oak and date to the Tudor period. Still in use every day, the gates have been repaired in finest quality English Oak by a master craftsman, in memory of Brougham’s Clerk of Works, Don Mawdsley, who sadly passed away in 2003. The gateway doors are in a round chamfered arch under a machiolated parapet and originally there was an inner lock which was dated and inscribed AP 1680 (Anne Countess of Pembroke). The nails, bolts and hinges attached to the door also date from the Tudor period. History was made at 11am on 15th October 1905 when King Edward VII set off through this early 17th century gate to Raby Castle, over Stainmore, in the first motorcade in the north of England driven by a British monarch. Setting off along a 54 mile stretch of road (which had been hand-swept to ensure that the king did not get a puncture!), there was a policeman at every intersection pointing in the direction that the king should go. A 40hp plum coloured Mercedes was taken to Brougham Hall from Balmoral specially for the journey and various other motorcars joined in this historic event.

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The First Lord Brougham acquired the Hall in 1810 and under the stewardship of his younger brother William, the house was restored and improved. As Brougham Hall is en route to Balmoral Castle in Scotland, it was host to royalty on several occasions and became known as The Windsor of the North. The house remained in the Brougham family for four generations until the 4th Lord Brougham, Victor Henry Peter, accrued numerous debts and was forced to sell the estate in 1934. Purchased by his neighbour, Major Carleton Cowper, Brougham Hall was stripped and partly demolished. The site retains the fortified walls of the original enclosure and the ruins of the Hall, billiard room, coach archway and the cellars beneath. The remaining buildings are constructed from mixed sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings and the hall range has only the cellars and a few courses of stonework that still survive. The last substantial structure to be built at Brougham was the tower, Lord Chancellor’s Den (below), built by Richard Charles Hussey, Vice President of the RIBA, in 1864. The tower sits on huge foundations of a much earlier tower and incorporates an early example of a Bitumastic damp-proof course. On the ground floor there was a full sized billiard room and in the office above, Henry Peter, Lord Chancellor of England, thought out some of his famous contributions to British history – the Great Reform Bill of 1832, the establishment of the Charity Commission, the reform of the Privy Council, the establishment of the Old Bailey, the establishment (with Bentham and the Prince Consort) of London University and many other far reaching pieces of socialistic legislation. Phase I of the restoration of this tower was completed in 2012 and involved the de-vegetating, stabilising and reinforcing the upper-most part of the ground floor of what will eventually be a three floor tower. The ultimate aim is to house an extensive collection of site specific Regency State papers (an archive containing many of Lord Brougham’s more important documents, which are of national and international importance) and become a public exhibition and scholarship centre. Phase II will involve the reconstruction of the first and second floors and Phase III will involve the archiving and conservation of the aforementioned documents.

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Winston Churchill commandeered Brougham Hall, Lowther Castle and Greystoke Castle in 1942 for the development of an extraordinary weapon. The Canal Defence Light was a top secret weapon devised between the two great wars and a development and testing site was set up in and around Brougham Hall. The tank was equipped with a 13 million candlepower white arc light which had a strobe operating at a frequency that had the effect of temporarily blinding the enemy. These tanks were without any other offensive weaponry and the intention was to move forward in a V formation of 150 tanks which comprised three squadrons of 50 tanks. On 5th May 1942 Winston Churchill drove through the 17th century gateway arch to inspect the Canal Defence Light Tanks and in December of the same year, he returned to watch the trials of this secret weapon. Although the tanks were never used as intended, they were used to illuminate the Rhine for the Remagen crossing on 5th March 1945 and for operations in Mesopotamia and north Eastern India. A plaque under the staircase in the courtyard has been erected, unveiled by Brigadier Ewan Morrison on 16th July 1992, dedicated to the memory of the officers and men who served at Brougham Hall between July 1942 and June 1944. These men were drawn from the 1st and 35th Tank Brigades of the 79th Armoured Division and were supported by the R.E.M.E. who left in 1945. After the war, the army camp at Brougham was used as a displaced persons camp until the early 1950’s and thereafter, it was used by the Ministry of Supply as a petrol dump.

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Over the next couple of decades Brougham Hall became a neglected ruin despite being purchased by two companies who had intended to make commercial gain from the land. Christopher Terry had fallen in love with the dilapidated Hall during the 1960’s and after hearing of plans to build on the land, he acquired Brougham in 1985. The Brougham Hall Charitable Trust was founded in 1986 and for one peppercorn, Christopher Terry transferred the Hall to the Trust on 8th October of the same year. Committed to conservation, Christopher has intended to restore Brougham as it was externally and having been rescued from dereliction, restoration work also commenced in 1986. Now home to an array of arts and crafts workshops and businesses, the Hall has a restored Tudor Block, Brewery and Stable Block. Priority is given to the parts of the building that are in most urgent need of attention and original building materials are being re-used wherever possible. Brougham Hall has its own skilled craftsmen and thankfully, there are sufficient drawings, photographs and paintings to be certain of the external appearance of the building.

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While the tracery of the ornate windows looks delicate, it actually weighs well over a ton. One of the windows in the Lord Chancellor’s Den was repaired by master craftsmen in May 2005 and it took three men to lift the larger pieces of stone. The sculpture of Christ (below) is the work of Josefina de Vasconcellos who continued to visit Brougham long after her 100th birthday. Helen Beatrix Potter was also a frequent visitor to Brougham Hall as her brother in law, the Reverend Arthur John Heelis, was the Rector of Brougham from 1900-1922. The Rev Heelis had a Phoenix three-wheeled car, which is still in existence and this was the sixth car to be registered in Westmorland. Beatrix Potter complained often about having to push this car to a start every time she came to Brougham! On one of her visits, she gave a copy of ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ to Eileen Brougham for her birthday and signed the flyleaf: “to Princess Eileen, on Peace Day, Brougham, August 23rd 1919”. Peace Day was chosen to celebrate the official end of the War. Beatrix Potter’s husband, William Heelis, was a solicitor and he chaired a Coroner’s inquest after James Maughan from Byker in Northumberland was killed by falling masonry in the Lord Chancellor’s Den. Maughan was 22 years old and his demise was pronounced “accidental death” in the days before Health & Safety. The co founder of the National Trust Canon Rawnsley was also a frequent visitor to Brougham Hall.

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In November 2010, Brougham obtained full planning consent and listed building consent to proceed with one of the very few specially built political archive centres in the country. This consent was expanded in October 2013 to include the greater part of the remainder of the Hall. Of British Library calibre, the best of Brougham’s papers, of which many are hand illuminated on vellum, are to be mounted in a rotating exhibition in the Lord Chancellor’s actual office at Brougham. The display will be on two levels – a public exhibition and a separate static one for students of Politics and Economics and scholars. One of the buildings in the courtyard is devoted to the preservation of parts of the history and heritage of Brougham Hall and the encouragement of vernacular skills. NADFAS are currently engaged on a three year programme to clean and restore a 1675 Flemish Oak screen which once adorned the Brougham Armour Hall until the sale of the 1930’s. It was then removed to a church in Ayrshire, the roof of which collapsed onto the screen causing considerable damage which is now being rectified. Other projects involve workshops and the restoration of a Brougham Carriage, made in Paris in 1894, the restoration of two mid 18th century sphinx and the restoration of a stained glass window for the Lord Chancellor’s Den.

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From 1837 Brougham Hall has had a fascinating and varied vehicular history. Designed by the first Lord Brougham, the Brougham Carriage was the veritable Volkswagen of horse drawn vehicles. In 1837 Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, Whig Politician, and Lord Chancellor to William IV, perceived a need which would make his mark on the carriage world forever. With coachmen and grooms waiting into the small hours for debates to finish in the Palace of Westminster, his usual form of transport was cumbersome and labour intensive. Brougham thought there was a need for “a refined and glorified street cab that would make a convenient carriage for a gentleman, and especially for a man of such independence of ideas as one who carried his own carpet bag on occasions when time was important and his own servants otherwise employed!” (Furnival, 1999). This carriage was the first to have elliptical springs and his revolutionary design included the necessity of being light and compact and needing only one horse and coachman. Lord Brougham’s coach builders, Messrs Sharp and Bland of South Audley Street, advised him that his designs would never find popular appeal. To their eternal discredit, they completely failed to recognise the potential of Lord Brougham’s design. Lord Brougham duly took his design round the corner to the Mount Street premises of a neighbouring firm, Robinson and Cook (later to become Cook and Holdway of Halkin Place, London), and on 15th May 1838 the first Brougham Carriage rolled off the production line. Thousands of this carriage were eventually produced in factories all around the world. The original 1838 Brougham Carriage, which was used by Lord Brougham, Gladstone and Disraeli, was restored in 1977 by the company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Markers to commemorate HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. It was exhibited that year at Ascot and the Guildhall and then presented to the Science Museum in South Kensington.

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1838 Brougham Carriage (Ragley Hall Collection)

 In 1995 the fourth Lord Brougham purchased two eight litre Bentleys, of which only 100 of these vehicles were ever made, and both cars are still in existence. Wolfie Benarto, the Chairman and owner of Bentley Motors, was a regular visitor to house parties at Brougham Hall. In 1931 Rolls Royce bought Bentley Motors and on 16th May 2004, Brougham Hall played host to the Rolls Royce & Bentley Enthusiasts Club who were celebrating the centenary of Mr Royce meeting Mr Rolls. Cumbria Classic Cars makes an annual visit to Brougham Hall with numerous other arts festivals and events held throughout the year.

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Courtyard Door Knocker Brougham Hall

There are only four known examples of the 12th century design of the door knocker (above) in existence – two are in Durham and two from Brougham. Both of the Durham rings were bronze and the sanctuary ring on the north door of Durham Cathedral (below) is considered to be “one of the most striking achievements of Romanesque bronze casting” (Archaeologia, Vol 107 1982). During the medieval period, Durham Cathedral offered St Cuthbert’s protection to fugitives who had committed a great offence. Those claiming sanctuary held onto the ring of the Sanctuary Knocker, which dates to 1172, until a monk admitted them into the Cathedral. Sanctuary seekers were given a black robe to wear and offered 37 days of sanctuary in the Cathedral, after which they either chose to stand trial or were taken to the coast and sent into exile. The right of sanctuary was abolished in 1623. Concern was expressed for the safety of the Sanctuary Knocker at Durham Cathedral in 1977 and eventually the decision was taken to remove it and replace it with a copy. There was no evidence to suggest that the ring had been removed previously and for the first time, it was possible to thoroughly examine the ring in laboratory conditions. The Victoria and Albert Museum carried out metallurgical tests and the British Museum made a cast (Archaeologia, Vol 107 1982). The original Sanctuary Knocker is displayed in the Durham Cathedral Treasury with the copy now hanging on the north door. The Brougham ring was made of iron and similar to the one at Durham Cathedral, it faced due north, on the courtyard gate. The Brougham ring was stolen and in an attempt to replace it, the Brougham Hall Charitable Trust asked the Bishop of Durham for consent to use the mould cast by the British Museum. Although the Bishop was amenable, the Dean and Chapter were not so the long task of drawing another from the monster’s head began. Carved in wood, a sand mould, in seven pieces, was taken from the wooden head and finally cast in bronze by Collier’s Foundry in Sussex in 1993. This copy now graces the courtyard door at Brougham Hall.

Brougham Hall is Grade II* Listed.

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Sanctuary Knocker Durham Cathedral

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Mallerstang: Pendragon Castle

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Located to the north of Outhgill in the Vale of Mallerstang are the remains of Pendragon Castle. Reputedly founded by Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, the castle was built next to the river Eden in the 12th century. The fortified tower house is important as a Late Norman pele tower and apparently built to stand on its own.

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Originally built by Hugh de Morville in 1173, the castle passed into the ownership of the Clifford family who obtained a licence to crenelate in 1309. The castle was destroyed by the Scots in 1341 and subsequently rebuilt in 1360. The Clifford’s continued to live in the castle until 1541 when it was again destroyed by fire. Lady Anne Clifford restored the castle in 1660 and following her death, the building gradually fell into ruin.

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Fallen masonry has revealed a north entrance with a spiral stair either side of the passage which was closed by a portcullis and Pevsner records vaulted mural chambers in the walls. The castle was eventually dismantled in circa 1685. Pendragon Castle is set in the stunning landscape of Mallerstang and is both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I Listed.

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Gilsland: Birdoswald Farmhouse

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West Tower

The west gate of Birdoswald leads straight down the former main street of the Roman fort, the via principalis. The intervallum road ran around the inside of the fort walls and adjacent to the archaeological site stands a 17th century farmhouse. Now providing accommodation for visitors, the earliest section of the farmhouse (east of the porch) dates from the late 17th century. The central part, excluding the tower and porch, was built in the mid 18th century by Anthony and Margaret Bowman. The tower and porch were added in 1858 by the then owner Henry Norman, giving the building its current form. Constructed of coursed rubble masonry, the rendered building features a castellated gabled central porch and a two storey tower with battlements in the form of a tower house.

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South west elevation

The 16th century was the age of the reivers, the border robbers and bandits who made cattle rustling and theft a major industry on both the Scottish and English sides. Special Border laws and customs evolved in the area to deal with the common feuds and troubles. By the late 16th century, the Birdoswald farms were tenanted by members of the local Tweedle clan and bastle houses, such as at Birdoswald, were typical of the type of defensive building constructed as protection from such attacks. Steps were taken to suppress the reivers after James I became king. In 1599, Birdoswald received its first known antiquarian visitor, Reginald Bainbrigg, a schoolmaster from Appleby. In 1603 landowner William Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle and known as Belted Will, commissioned a survey of the Barony of Gilsland which recorded the bastle house at Birdoswald.

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By the mid 18th century, the tenant farmers of the Barony of Gilsland had become freeholders. Anthony and Margaret Bowman added the main part of the house in 1745, the year of the Jacobite Rebellion. During the 1840’s, the Birdoswald Estate was purchased by Henry Norman who developed a strong interest in the fort and its history. He was the first person to employ archaeologists to conduct excavations on site. Henry Norman added a tower and a porch to the farmhouse, giving it the appearance of an imposing medieval building as it was fashionable at the time. Norman loved the place so much that he named his son Oswald and in 1901, Oswald auctioned off the estate and sold his father’s collection of sculpture and inscriptions to Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. The farmhouse is Grade II Listed.

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Clifton Hall Tower

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Remaining fabric of the old hall

Treviso: Opera Glass Mosaic

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Located in Piazza Matteotti is a cell tower named Opera Glass Mosaic. The cell tower supports transmitters and receivers for cellular networks. The vertical obelisk is the design of the Italian architect Roberto Pamio and was erected in 2007. The steel cell tower is covered with shatterproof glass panels with Murano glass mosaic tile inserts and is thirty meters tall.

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Bury St Edmunds: Norman Tower

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Located off Crown Street is the Norman Tower of the former Abbey of St Edmund. Built between 1120 and 1148 under Abbot Anselm, the Tower is constructed of Barnack stone and consists of four stages.

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The Romanesque tower features tall blank arches with colonnettes dividing the window openings.

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The tower was restored by the British architect Lewis Nockalls Cottingham between 1846-1847.

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The interior timber roof beams

The Norman Tower is Grade I Listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Dubrovnik: Gradski zvonik

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Built in 1444, the Bell Tower with clock is right in the axis of the Placa. Standing 31 metres high, it is one of the symbols of the free city state. It was built by the local masters Grubacevic, Utisenovic and Radoncic. Prior to its construction, the clock was on the Rector’s Palace. The coloured brass face of the new clock with the hand showing the phases of the moon and the two human figures which strike the bell, were made by Luka, son of admiral Miho Zugrovic. A new plate with ciphers was made at a later date by the painter MAtko Juncic. The wooden figures were replaced by horses. In 1509, the noted bell-founder Ivan of Rab cast another bell with an epigraph by Ilija Lampridije Crijevic. Sadly hit by an earthquake and losing its stability, it leaned and became in danger of falling. It was therefore rebuilt in 1929 after the original drawings.