Workington Hall Tower House and Later Medieval Fortified House
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Cumbria County Council
Allerdale Borough Council
SJ008008 (300774, 528804)
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Fortified tower house with various additions, now in ruins. Mid 14th century with 15th and 16th century alterations and additions; late 1783-1789 additions by John Carr for the Curwen family. Mixed large blocks of red and calciferous sandstone with additions of similar rubble stone, all without roofs; oldest parts on chamfered plinth. Rectangular 3-storey tower with adjoining L-shaped medieval wing reduced to single-storey and rebuilt as 3 storeys by Carr; also adjoined by 15th century hall range of 2 storeys, 5 bays, all enclosing courtyard on 2 sides, the quadrangle completed by a medieval gatehouse tower and wing by Carr. Tower was extensively renovated by Carr but retains some original loops, internal spiral staircase and mural chambers.
Late 18th century round and flat-headed windows, all unglazed. Wing has projecting 3-storey garderobe turret and ground-floor loops; large first-floor late 18th century round-headed window openings, those above in ruins. Late 18th century canted bay window to left. Further right-angled kitchen range of similar details, with angle turret. Hall range has blocked windows and doorways of various dates; 2 ground-floor early 16th century 2-light windows and upper-floor 15th century window. Inner wall has 15th century doorways and blocked early 16th century multi-light windows.
3-storey gatehouse has flanking guardrooms with angle turret to right, showing a number of small original chamfered-surround windows; the round-headed through
archway and windows are late 18th century alterations. Adjoining late 18th century wing has similar flat-headed window openings. Ancestral home of the Curwen family who
obtained a licence to crenellate in 1380 (the foundation stone for the tower is said to have been laid 8 May 1362) and owned by them until gifted by Isobel Chance, the last Lady of the Manor, to the local council mid 20th century who allowed it to become derelict and reduced the building to a controlled ruin.
Tom Fullerton, 22 June 2011
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