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Catterlen Hall tower house

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Catterlen Hall tower house

List entry Number: 1012829


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Catterlen

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 26-Oct-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Sep-1995

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 23776

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Tower houses are a type of defensible house particularly characteristic of the borderlands of England and Scotland. Virtually every parish had at least one of these buildings. Solitary tower houses comprise a single square or rectangular `keep' several storeys high, with strong barrel-vaults tying together massive outer walls. Many towers had stone slab roofs, often with a parapet walk. Access could be gained through a ground floor entrance or at first floor level where a doorway would lead directly to a first floor hall. Solitary towers were normally accompanied by a small outer enclosure defined by a timber or stone wall and called a barmkin. Tower houses were being constructed and used from at least the 13th century to the end of the 16th century. They provided prestigious defended houses permanently occupied by the wealthier and aristocratic members of society. As such, they were important centres of medieval life. The need for such secure buildings relates to the unsettled and frequently war-like conditions which prevailed in the Borders throughout much of the medieval period. Around 200 examples of tower houses have been identified of which less than half are of the free- standing or solitary tower type. All surviving solitary towers retaining significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally important.

Despite the addition of an Elizabethan wing and recent restoration, Catterlen Hall tower house survives extremely well and is a very good example of this class of monument. It retains considerable medieval fabric and many original architectural features.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the upstanding mid-15th century tower house at Catterlen Hall. It has walls up to 1m thick and is constructed of thick pink sandstone blocks on a projecting boulder plinth. The tower lies at the northern end of a range of later buildings. It has external dimensions of 9.1m by 5.9m and is entered through an off-centre Tudor-arched doorway on the southern side which leads into a ground floor barrel-vaulted basement lit by five loopholes or narrow windows. Access to the upper floors is by a newel stairway entered through a narrow passage in the thickness of the wall immediately within the entrance. The first floor was a solar (private chamber), usually a bedroom or living room, attached to which is a small closet thought to have been a garderobe or toilet. The main window is in the east wall and there are small windows in the north and west walls. Originally there was a fireplace in the south wall. The second floor was the sleeping chamber. It is lit by windows in the north and east walls, both with stone seats in the jambs. In the west wall there is a gap where a doorway led onto a wooden bretasche or platform used for defensive purposes. The newel stair continues up to a flat roof and a projecting battlemented parapet with stone water spouts.

Catterlen Hall tower house is thought to have been constructed c.1460 by William de Vaulx and replaced an earlier tower, the earthwork remains of which lie a short distance to the north. In 1577 an Elizabethan wing was added to the south of the tower and in 1657 a Renaissance wing was added to the south end of the Elizabethan wing. During the 1970's and 80's the tower was renovated. This work was clearly undertaken very carefully and with the preservation of the tower as a monument clearly in mind. Consequently all works were designed to have minimal impact on the medieval fabric. The monument is a Listed Building Grade I. The 16th and 17th century wings, which are inhabited, are not included in the scheduling.

Part of the access drive and all paths and garden walls within the 2m boundary on the monument's north, east and west sides are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Curwen, J F, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Catterlen Hall, , Vol. 7, (1907), 111-119
Curwen, J F, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Extra Ser.' in Castles and Towers of Cumb, West and Lancs N of the Sands, , Vol. 13, (1913), 358-60
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Tower House, (1989)

National Grid Reference: NY 47806 32080


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This copy shows the entry on 18-Aug-2018 at 05:29:23.

End of official listing