Monday, November 02, 2009

The Old Castle, Lindale

The Old Castle\Dixon Heights Tower
Lindale Nr Levens Cumbria

These illusive remains are to be found perched precariously at the summit of Eller How, high above the A590, some six miles West of Levens. The larger area is known as Newton area of South Lakeland that gives its name to two hamlets less than a mile apart...High and Low Newton. The heights are also known as Dixon Heights, with a right of way passing a few yards to the West of the tower's now sorry remains. According to the Cumbria Action Group, the ruins can be attributed to George Webster of Kendal, the town's famous architect and marble cutter, who owned land at Eller How a few hundred feet below Dixon Heights. He built the house at Eller How in 1827, so it's likely that the folly was built soon after this, probably as a summer house or a 'quiet' retreat. From here, the Webster family would have had excellent and unspoilt views across to Witherslack to the North East, Grange to the South and Hampsfell to the South West. The ruins are not linked in any historical way to the area a few hundred yards to the North, shown on maps dated 1851, as The Old Castle, but it may have been on George's mind to build the folly here, on or near the site of the Old Castle....whatever that name may have once applied to. Interestingly....also shown on this map, to the North of the Summer House, there is another site, clearly labelled as Tower. Obviously some more research of this whole area is needed, including a field take some more photos and to take a good look at the remains of the tower.

Philip Davis rejects this as a fortification, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. All documentation (what little there is) point to these ruins being the remains of a summer house or folly. The area to the North of the tower (Dixon Heights) is still called the Bishop's Tithe Allotments on ordnance survey maps. More research is needed to find out what this area referred to, although my best guess is that it was connected with nearby Cartmel Priory in some way....possibly Furness abbey even!!

I think the next step is to visit the ruins here at High Newton, and to confirm the type of building that can just be seen from the nearby main road. There are a couple of photos of the ruins here....but they don't really tell us much.


Philip Davis said...

Presumably the name bishops tithe is a post reformation name dating from the creation of the bishopric of Chester -before the reformation this was the see of of the archbishop of York so may well be land originally in the hands of a abbey.

Philip Davis said...

I mean 'an' abbey. I better get this right or the spelling gestapo will be down me neck.

Bill Lloyd said...

According to local custom, the ruins on Dixon Heights and the hill on which they stand are known locally as 'Colour Pole' The name derives from the Napoleonic Wars, when the site was a lookout station, manned my local militia, who hoised their colours when they were on watch. The site has been used since Roman times - a Roman ravestone, now in Lancaster Museum, was found about 200 yards from the ruin. Bill Lloyd