In the village of Dacre stands the parish Church of St Andrew. Constructed of sandstone rubble walls, the church dates to the late 12th century. With 13th century additions, the building was rebuilt in 1810 and features battlemented parapets which date to the 19th century. The church has a west tower of three storeys with an inscription above the entrance noting that the steeple was rebuilt in 1810.
The church has an open timber roof which dates to the 17th century
The three bay chancel retains 12th century narrow round-headed windows and has a late 17th century communion rail with twisted balusters.
The nave features the original 12th century unmoulded round-headed tower arch and has two light clerestory windows. The four bay arcades date from the early 13th century and differ from one another. The north arcade is earlier having arches with slight chamfers and piers that are mostly round while the south arcade arches have normal chamfers and octagonal piers.
Engraved window memorial to Sylvia McCosh of Dalemain
In the chancel of the church is an engraved window (above) by Sir Laurence Whistler as a memorial to Sylvia McCosh. Whistler was a poet, writer and glass engraver who revived the technique of line engraving on both sides of the glass. This intricate engraving creates an illusion of perspective in his depiction of landscapes and was a popular technique during the 17th and 18th centuries. Sylvia McCosh of Dalemain was instrumental in bringing the gardens of Dalemain House back to life following the war. She had successfully nurtured small plants and seedlings since childhood and faced with the task of bringing a dormant garden to life again, she introduced many plants which flourished in her garden in Lanarkshire, including Meconopsis grandis, and over one hundred varieties of old-fashioned roses. Before her death in 1991, Sylvia started a campaign for a pipe organ in the church to replace the 19th century organ that had been removed in the 1970’s. Following extensive fundraising, the new organ was finally installed in 2002.
The Church of St Andrew is Grade I Listed.
In the chancel of St Andrews Church is a sculpted wall plaque dedicated to the memory of Edward Hasell of Dalemain. The plaque depicts a mourning woman beside an urn decorated with a coat of arms. Born in 1765, Edward was the son of Christopher Hasell and grandson of Edward Hasell (known as Blackcap) who died possessor of Dalemain in 1781. Aged sixty years old, Edward died on 24th December 1826 and the monument was erected by his surviving children who were united in describing their father as “one of the best and most affectionate parents.” The monument dates to 1830 and is the work of the 19th century British sculptor Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey. Having made his name in 1811 with a plaster model of a bust of the politician Horne Tooke, Chantrey was a well known sculptor of celebrated figures of Georgian England.
Situated 1km to the south of the village of Stainton is the large country house estate of Dalemain. Meaning ‘Manor in the Valley’, there has been a settlement on the site since Saxon times. The first recorded mention is of a fortified pele tower in the reign of Henry II, one of a line of towers built to protect the country against the marauding Scots Reivers. A manor hall was added in the 14th century with a second tower and in the 16th century, two wings were added housing the kitchen and living quarters on either side of the main building. The impressive Georgian front was completed in 1744 and built to enclose the old house within a central courtyard. Originally, the medieval hall would have been a barn like building open to the beams in the roof where trusses are supported by arched braces that rise from corbels.
The earliest parts of the building are constructed of calciferous sandstone rubble with pink sandstone rubble extensions and flush quoins. The two storey building features a nine bay facade with sandstone ashlar chimney stacks and an open balustraded parapet. The facade has central panelled doors with a pedimented doorcase supported by fluted Ionic pilasters (above).
The courtyard was evolved over the centuries from a medieval hamlet, built for defensive reasons, immediately surrounding the pele tower. As times became less turbulent, a more recognisable set of farm buildings took shape including one of the largest loft barns in the north of England.
Wild flower spiral garden
When Sir Edward Hasell bought Dalemain, the garden principally provided plants for culinary and medicinal purposes. By the 1680’s, work was being carried out to create a more fashionable garden. A terrace wall was built in 1688 creating a wide grass walk with a sundial as a central feature. Work progressed throughout the 18th century creating landscaped parkland.
Dalemain House is Grade I Listed.
In the courtyard at Dalemain House is a 16th century Great Barn. Built in the 1500’s, the large loft barn is constructed of mixed sandstone and rubble walls with flush quoins. The two storey building features parallel stable ranges, casement windows and slit vents on two levels.
Flat headed under loft doorways of the Great Barn
The height of the roof was raised in 1685 and the upper floor of the building is now home to a Fell Pony Museum.
The Fell Pony Museum
The museum features an extraordinary collection of agricultural implements which chart the history of a bygone country life. Much of the equipment and tools have only become outdated over the last seventy years as a result of mechanisation.
Exposed roof timbers in the museum
The breed of ponies that have worked and travelled through the history of the Lake District have been known for over a century as ‘the Fell’. Native to the north of England, the breed are mostly found in the old counties of Westmorland and Cumberland and are known locally as galloways.
The cloisters under the Great Barn in the courtyard
Sylvia McCosh (born a Hasell of Dalemain) was involved in the revival of the breed during the post war years and she bred many prize winning Fell ponies that were exported all over the world. Some of her prizes and equipment are on display as part of the collection within the museum.
The enclosed castellated courtyard
The Great Barn and Stables are Grade II Listed.
Left stable range with segmental arched doorways
Located on a spur of high ground between Dacre Beck to the south and a small ravine to the north is Dacre Castle. The castle stands on the eastern side of a moated sub-rectangular island and was built soon after the licence to crenellate was granted to William de Dacre by Edward II in 1307. Moated sites were built throughout the Medieval period with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The fortified tower house is constructed of mixed sandstone with battlemented parapets concealing the roof. The east tower was built by Humphrey de Dacre some time before 1485. The castle remained in the Dacre family until after the death of Lord Dacre, Earl of Sussex, who lived an extravagant life at Court having married an illegitimate daughter of Charles II. The castle and extensive lands were purchased in 1715 from his Trustees by Sir Christopher Musgrave when he transferred the Dacre lands to his son in law Edward Hasell. Since this time the castle has remained part of the Dalemain Estates.
Dacre Castle is Grade I Listed and the ground beneath is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.