The tower's walls are up to a metre thick, and with its position high above the surrounding countryside, it's not hard to imagine this building as a defensive structure. I think the lack of an external door, and the thin slit like windows also adds strength to this idea. However...there doesn't seem to be any definitive description of the original use of this part of the building. More information as it comes to hand!
The Hall can be viewed from the footpath that runs around the base of the church yard. The church especially the tower can be freely viewed at any time.
The moat can be viewed from the graveyard behind the church, although the undergrowth is very thick.
The second site is a barn that lays about a mile and a half to the South, in a field above the A5824 that runs from Plumgarth's roundabout into Windermere Road above Kendal. This barn was probably built in the late 16th century, was definiately inhabited at some point, and is still intact and used by the farm for storage. This building has the original windows with moulded labels, now blocked and thick walls, and may have represented the original hall with its light fortifications.
I haven't visited the 'barn' yet, but as soon as I have photos of it, they will be posted here.
The third site, and marked on late 17th century, and early 18th century maps as Helsfell, is at the top of Windermere Road and at the foot of Kendal Fell. There are no original buildings here now, but the site has been redeveloped recently and is now occupied.
Helsfell Hall (wherever it may originally have been) was home to the Phillipson family, a locally landed family. It's possible that the only remains of the original building, are some original re-set mullioned windows (relating to the present Helsfell Hall) Probably the most famous (local) son of the Phillipson family, was Robin Phillipson, known as Robin the Devil....so called after he rode into Kendal Church on horseback, whilst chasing an adversary, Colonel Briggs, and losing his helmet and sword on the way out as he was set upon by the church congregation (so legend has it!!) The sword and helmet are still to be seen today, mounted high up on the church walls.
The Remains of John Briggs, published in 1825, describes Grayrigg Hall as "now in ruins, was a strong manor house, of a quadrangular form, belonging to the Duckets". It was also described as "adapted more for defence than for convenience".....indicating that it wasn't just a house or a home to the Duckets, but a possible place of refuge for them. In 1777, it was described as "totally in ruins, most of the lead and timber thereof, being removed to Lowther". It seems that, in 1670, Anthony Ducket sold the hall and the Grayrigg estates, to Sir John Lowther, and upon his death, the Ducket family name became extinct in the Westmorland area....the hall soon falling into disrepair.
I haven't visited Benson Hall yet...but as usual, as soon as I have, I'll post the photos here.
The motte stands to nearly 30 feet, and is still surrounded by a well defined ditch which measures around 20 feet at the widest points. The ditch ceases on the South side of the motte, with the natural defences of the steep cliff face taking over.
The motte’s summit measures around 9metres by 7 metres. The summit is slightly dished shaped, probably caused by the building of a WWII lookout outpost (with concrete remains also in the bailey below) The bailey laying to the West of the motte, is around 30 metres by 20 metres.
The castle may have been erected by Robert to Mowbray in around 1092, possibly the same time that Castle Howe in Kendal was also being built.
There is a well marked footpath that leads right to the remains.