Monday, February 27, 2006

Gamelands Stone Circle

Gamelands stone Circle
Nr Orton

Sandwiched between the villages of Orton and Raisbeck in Cumbria, Gamelands Stone Circle lays in a field hidden behind a dry stone wall on the public footpath\bridleway, Knott lane, leading to Beacon Hill.

Above. A view of the circle looking South towards the Howgills.

The stone circle is collapsed now, but the stones that make up the circle would have stood around four feet tall when originally constructed.

Above. Looking West towards Birkbeck Fell Common.

The site is a Neolithic embanked stone circle consisting of around 30 stones, of the local ‘pink’ sandstone. The circle is pretty intact, only one side seems to be missing any stones.

Above. Another view looking West towards Birkbeck Fell Common.

The embankment is very feint now, and can only be seen on the top edge. The circle was excavated in the late 19th century, and there is documentation to suggest that a burial cist was unearthed. (A cist is usually a rectangular burial chamber sometimes buried beneath the earth)

The circle is in a beautiful setting, with Kirkby Stephen to the East, and Orton to the West, and the spectacular Cumbrian fells surrounding it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Twistleton burial cairn and hut circles

Twistleton burial cairn and hut circles
North Yorkshire

I think this is probably the remains of a burial cairn. Compared with structures similar to this recently seen at Mallerstang in Cumbria, the original inclusion of this site on the blog as a hut circle is probably not correct.

The first two photos show the probable cairn just off the B road from Ingleton to Chapel le Dale, next to the river Doe. The cairn has either been robbed out or has collapsed, possibly due to flooding from the nearby river.

The next three photos show the remains of hut circles and enclosures, dating from around the same period. They are however, not so clearly marked as the first site.

There are a number of additional sites, including hut circles, enclosures and eathworks of both Roman and Iron age origin around this area near Ingleton. I'll be visiting some of these additional sites shortly and will post the photos here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cappelside Hall

Cappelside Hall
South Lakeland

The remains of Cappelside Hall are situated about 400 yards West of Beethom garden centre, just off the A6. The ruins sit in the middle of a field looking south across the valley towards the paper mill.

The site consist of substantial masonry and earthwork remains. The earliest documentary reference to the area of Cappelside is in 1336, whilst it is not until much later, 1691, before the hall is documented.

The buildings may have already have been abandoned by this time. Records from around 1760 describe the site as a large lordly residence, consisting of a central hall with two service wings to a height of three storeys. The buildings were largely destroyed during the 18th century but one of the wings was converted to a barn, but was in ruins by the 19th century.

It is a fragment of this structure that survives today, nearly 2 metres high and with walls up to a metre thick.

There is documentary evidence to suggest that the Hilton family owned and lived at the hall in its heyday. And it was this hall, owned at that time by Andrew Hilton, that King James I ordered his troops to search whilst looking for Guy Fawkes sympathisers and co-conspirators!!

It is obvious from the photos that the site is now much ruined, although the remains are certainly solid enough to suggest its defensive qualities, and the surrounding earthworks lay testament to the original size of the site. The remains are difficult to get to. From the road running alongside the garden centre at Beethom, Pool Darkin Lane, it is apparently possible to see them in the field to your left, though I parked up on Paradise Lane, and then walked across the fields to get a first hand view of the ruins.

Nether Hall, Witherslack

Nether Hall
Nr Witherslack
South Lakeland

Nether Hall lays just off the A590 as you travel from Kendal to Grange. It is a grade II listed building and is situated just outside the village of Witherslack.

The house was built in around 1400 as, possibly, a two or three storey tower. The original tower portion of the building is shown in the photo above. The small projection that can just be seen to the right rear of the house, is a 17th century kitchen, probably added by the Harringtons. The house still contains original walls that are around five foot thick, which some historians use as proof positive that this property was once used as a defensive building.

Above. Plan of Nether Hall.

There is some speculation that all references to a 'tower' in this area, are in fact relating to nearby 19th century Witherslack Hall. Whatever the true history behind this building, there are still certain aspects of its structure that need investigating.

Medieval moated site nr Farelton

Farelton Medieval moated site
Nr HornbyLancashire

Just outside the village of Hornby on the A683 to Lancaster, lies a medieval moated site. The remains lay in the field between the road and the river Lune.

Above. View into the ditch, looking West.

The site consists of a complex of a moated outworks, with interconnecting channels surviving as well defined earthworks. Some of these channels appear to link the moat with the River Lune to the West. The whole site looks great from Google Earth's aerial photos.

Above. View of the raised earthwork platform, looking North East.

The only documentation that I can find relating to the possible history of this site, is that it could be the remains of the fortified manor house and park built in 1479 by Sir James Harrington.

Above. View of the earthworks looking West.

Licence to crenellate the buildings was granted and the site was strengthened and a park created. Both the fortified site and the park had reputedly fallen into disrepair by the 16th century.

Above. Full view of the earthwork platform looking North.

There are the remains of some masonry on the highest end of the earthworks, possibly the remains of a wall. Other masonry was visible when the site was excavated in 1978, when a narrow hollow way was discovered, linking the site with the nearby main road. The earthworks are just and so visible from the main road, but are not accessible.

The site was excavated in over 1964 and 1965, producing evidence that there was activity here during the 13th and 14th centuries. A number of finds were removed from trenches dug on the platform, including coins of Edward I, iron nails, bronze pins, an iron arrow head, a number of bronze rings, some window glass and an array of pottery sherds. A hundred years away to the North, a small, 10 meter by 10 meter platform was noticed, probably representing the remains of a dog kennel.

Above. Plan of the masonry found on the main platform.

The masonry on the main platform was substantial, and thought to represent the external walls of a large building. There was not enough of this building left for the excavators to even make a guess as to its use though.

Above. Photo of the masonry.

Above. Plan of the site made during the 1965 excavations.

This additional information comes from a report by A.J.White, and offers us only what is already available on the internet now. He summarises that, in his opinion, the site was built as a hunting lodge with the smaller platform built for dog kennels. The site may therefore have been built originally as the seat of the Harrington family's local interests and fortified to reflect their local importance, abandoned, possibly unfinished, and later turned into a hunting lodge or keeper's lodge. Documentary evidence is sparse.

If any further information regarding this great sites comes to light, I'll make sure this post is updated.

Yarlsber camp Ingleton

Yarlsber camp
North Yorkshire

Yarlsber camp sits at the foot of Ingleborough, sandwiched between Easegill force and the B6480 to Clapham.

Above. A view across the top of the earthworks, looking North.

The site is thought to be an Iron Age defended enclosure. It covers about an acre and a half, and is surrounded by earthworks. At the lower end of the site, the earthworks are worn and low, whilst at the top, they are very well defined and up to a foot high. The defences at the top of the site are also double ditched with shallow ramparts…possibly the remains of entrances.

Above. View towards Ingleborough, looking North East.

The site has been excavated and investigated, but no signs of habitation were found within the earthworks. Stone was discovered beneath the earth ramparts, but was not datable.

Above. Looking across the earthworks towards Ingleton.

It is assumed that this site is similar in age to the fort on top of Ingleborough, ie Brigantian, although where this assumption came from, I'm not sure.

Above. View across the earthworks looking North West.

Above. Another view across the earthworks looking towards Ingelborough.

The site is very near to various medieval field systems surviving as earthworks and iron age\roman hut circles and enclosures.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wharton Hall

Wharton Hall
Near Kirkby Stephen

Wharton Hall sits on the Eastern side of Mallerstang, about two miles outside Kirkby Stephen. Built by the Wharton family, the fortified residence overlooks the River Eden before it descends into the valley of Mallerstang.

The hall is a lightly fortified site, built around a courtyard with a spectacular gatehouse, and probably dates from the early 1400's. At this time a hall house was erected, with a tower house soon being added to the range of buildings. The tower house now stands in ruins at the other end of the site, and was not seen on my visit.

Sometime around 1520, the banqueting hall was built, the great hall and the kitchens were added, and the whole site began to take on the shape of a high status manorial centre. In 1569 a domestic chapel and a cross wing house were built, and the gatehouse was added. The whole site was no surrounded by a 'curtain-wall' with the gatehouse providing secure entry and exit from the courtyard.

Some of the buildings incorporated into this site are grade I listed, and have undergone some renovation and repair to a very high standard.

The house (shown above) has been beautifully restored, with many of the original mullioned windows still in place. The gatehouse, although roof less, is in good condition.

The Wharton coat of arms remains in good condition in a carved panel above the doorway in the gatehouse.

Postcard (from personal collection) showing the Northwest range of buildings (to the left) dating from around 1559. The gatehouse can be seen at the right of the photo.

Postcard (from personal collection) showing a view of the interior of the courtyard, with a range of buildings, including the three storey Main Hall at the far left of the picture, dating from around 1415, study, bedchambers and butter, with the kitchen at the far right hand of the picture.

Postcard (from personal collection) showing the 'pele' tower at the corner of the courtyard. Periam and Robinson agree that this building was a solar tower, and is one of the earliest parts of the whole site.

Postcard (from personal collection) showing the kitchen tower at the North East of the site. This building is now roofless and not used.

The photo above, shows the kitchen tower as it appears today.

It is fortunate that a public footpath runs right past the farmyard, affording great views of the gatehouse and other buildings on the outer edge of the site. Please be aware, that the public footpath does not provide access to the gatehouse....from this point, the farm yard is private property.