Lammerside Castle medieval tower house


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Lammerside Castle medieval tower house
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Eden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 77237 04772

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. At many sites the tower comprised only one element of a larger house, with at least one wing being attached to it. These wings provided further domestic accommodation, frequently including a large hall. If it was incorporated within a larger domestic residence, the tower itself could retain its defensible qualities and could be shut off from the rest of the house in times of trouble. 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 or 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 over half were elements of larger houses. All surviving tower houses retaining significant medieval remains will normally be identified as nationally important.

Despite the demolition of the north and south wings of Lammerside Castle medieval tower house, substantial elements of this monument survive. These include the upstanding remains of the tower and the earthwork remains of its wings, together with the earthwork remains of a barmkin wall, yard and a building platform. The monument will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider medieval settlement and economy of this area.


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Lammerside Castle medieval tower house, located on the western side of the River Eden approximately 4km south of Kirkby Stephen. It includes the upstanding remains of a 14th century tower or wing which originally formed part of the building's central core, together with the earthwork remains of buildings to the north and south of the tower and a barmkin or wall which enclosed a yard to the west of the tower. The castle was occupied by a branch of the Warcop family, but is thought to have been abandoned by the 17th century. The tower is constructed of coursed, squared rubble, measures approximately 14m by 11m, and survives to two storeys high. The ground floor is divided by a cross wall running east-west into two main portions, and the southern portion is again sub-divided into three apartments. These ground floor rooms are or were covered by barrel-vaults. A central corridor runs through the building from north to south at the southern end of which there is an original doorway with architectural features such as chamfered jambs, two-centre arch and a draw-bar hole. Immediately to the west of this entrance there is a blocked doorway with a square head. The north wall has a doorway to the central corridor and traces of the semi-circular recess of a newel staircase which led to the upper floor. Towards the eastern end of the north wall there is the stump of the wall of a now demolished adjoining building, and next to it there is a small recess. The east wall has two windows while the west wall contains a window and two square-headed loop-lights. The upper storey is now considerably ruined but originally provided the main living areas for the occupants. It has a single large room or hall with traces of a fireplace in its northern wall to the north of the main cross wall, and two small chambers and a garderobe to the south of the cross wall. Traces of the foundations of a building of the same width as the tower can be seen to the south of the tower, while to the north of the tower there are traces of a slightly narrower wing. On the tower's western side there are the earthwork remains of a barmkin wall which would have enclosed a yard. In the north western corner of this yard there is a small building platform. Traces of an L-shaped wall extend southwards for a short distance from the south face of the barmkin wall. Lammerside Castle is a Listed Building Grade II. All fence posts are excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
English Heritage, English Heritage: Register of Buildings at Risk. North West, 1999,
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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