Hartley Castle and associated earthworks


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


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1021183.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 26-Jan-2021 at 16:16:21.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Eden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 78294 08266

Reasons for Designation

A tower keep castle is a strongly fortified residence in which the keep is the principal defensive feature. The keep may be free-standing or surrounded by a defensive enclosure; they are normally square in shape, although other shapes are known. Internally they have several floors providing accommodation of various types. If the keep has an attached enclosure this will normally be defined by a defensive wall, frequently with an external ditch. Access into the enclosure was provided by a bridge across the ditch, allowing entry via a gatehouse. Additional buildings, including stabling for animals and workshops, may be found within the enclosure. Tower keep castles were built throughout the medieval period, from immediately after the Norman Conquest to the mid- 15th century, with a peak in the middle of the 12th century. A few were constructed on the sites of earlier earthwork castle types but most were new creations. They provided strongly fortified residences for the king or leading families and occur in both urban or rural situations. Tower keep castles are widely dispersed throughout England with a major concentration on the Welsh border. They are rare nationally with only 104 recorded examples. Considerable diversity of form is exhibited with no two examples being exactly alike. With other castle types, they are major medieval monument types which, belonging to the highest levels of society, frequently acted as major administrative centres and formed the foci for developing settlement patterns. Castles generally provide an emotive and evocative link to the past and can provide a valuable educational resource, both with respect to medieval warfare and defence, and to wider aspects of medieval society. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date are considered to be nationally important.

A quadrangular castle is a strongly fortified residence built of stone, or sometimes brick, around a square or rectangular courtyard. Two main types of quadrangular castle have been identified, southern and northern, the former having rounded angle towers the latter having square angle towers. Most examples of this class of castle were built in the 14th century but the tradition extended into the 15th century. Later examples demonstrate an increasing emphasis on domestic comfort to the detriment of defence and, indeed, some late examples are virtually defenceless. They provided residences for the king or leading families and occur in both rural and urban situations. Hartley Castle is a rare example in northern England of a tower keep castle that was latterly modified into a quadrangular castle. Despite having been largely demolished in the 18th century and the site occupied by a later farmhouse and its outbuildings, upstanding fragments of Hartley Castle still survive, including parts of the medieval curtain wall and a part of kitchen range with a vaulted cellar. Buried remains of the medieval tower keep castle and its later 17th century transformation from a fortified stronghold into a substantial mansion based on a quadrangular castle form will also survive beneath the existing later buildings on the site. Additionally earthwork remains of the castle's curtain wall survive well on the east and north east sides, together with the well-preserved remains of associated garden and agricultural features.


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Hartley Castle and its associated earthworks. The castle, a tower keep castle which was later remodelled as a quadrangular castle, is located on an elevated knoll at the southern end of Hartley village while the associated earthworks occupy sloping ground immediately to the east and north east of the castle.

Although the exact date of the foundation of Hartley Castle is unknown documentary sources indicate that the castle was owned by Roger de Clifford during the late 13th/early 14th centuries. Between 1307-15 the castle passed to Sir Andrew de Harcla and during the following decade it was reported to have been frequently burned by the Scots. By the mid-14th century ownership had passed to Thomas de Musgrave who built a stone tower or keep and was granted a licence to fortify it in 1353. Another licence to fortify was granted in 1360. During the early 17th century Sir Richard Musgrave enlarged and transformed the castle from a fortified residence of the tower keep castle type into a mansion based on the quadrangular castle type, and in about 1650 further Jacobean additions were built. In 1677 the family moved to a new residence, Eden Hall, and shortly after Hartley Castle was allowed to fall into disrepair. A sketch of the late 17th century depicts a stairway giving entrance into an outer court. Crossing the outer court entrance was gained into the inner court through an arched porch. The inner court comprised a quadrangle with stairs leading to the main hall on one side. A chapel, dining room and withdrawing room occupied another side of the quadrangle, a gallery the third side and lodging rooms the fourth side. A buttery, kitchen and cellars are also mentioned. During the first half of the 18th century the castle was gradually demolished and materials removed to repair Eden Hall. A new house was built on the site of the castle during the latter part of the 18th century. Various features are Listed Buildings Grade II; these comprise the ruins of the former castle to the north of Hartley Castle farmhouse, the farmhouse and a wall adjoining, and a barn to the east of the farmhouse. The castle's sandstone curtain wall still survives with modern repairs for part of its length on the castle's west side. Elsewhere there are traces of the buried remains of the curtain wall surviving as grass-covered earthworks, particularly on the castle's east side and at the north east corner where there are traces of sandstone building foundations. Within the curtain wall, to the north of the present farmhouse there is a mass of sandstone masonry which formed a corner of the castle's kitchen. Within this masonry there is a doorway with a slightly pointed arch which leads into a vaulted cellar. Traces of another fragment of exposed stonework can be seen under the roots of a mature tree to the west of the present access drive which leads to the farmhouse. On the hillslope to the east of the castle there are numerous well-preserved earthworks thought to represent the remains of garden and agricultural activity associated with the castle. These consist of a series of three agricultural terraces, the buried remains of two boundary walls or banks running downslope, one of which has a return to the south thus forming two sides of an enclosure, and at least two and possibly three building platforms, one of which has an attached enclosure which is terraced into the hillslope. Additionally the earthworks of a stone wall or bank forming two sides of an enclosure survive at the monument's north east corner.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: Hartley Castle farmhouse and all its associated outbuildings, a converted holiday cottage, a shed, an open silage store, all modern walls, fences, fenceposts, gateposts and telegraph poles, the surfaces of all access drives and other made-up surfaces, all flowerbed retaining walls and ornamental rockeries, all oil fuel tanks, a boiler located against a wall on the castle's west side, and a garden swing and the bases of all demolished sheep pens and dips. The ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

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


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Curwen, J F, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Extra Ser.' in Castles and Towers of Cumb, West and Lancs N of the Sands, (1913), 207-8
Curwen, J F, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Extra Ser.' in Castles and Towers of Cumb, West and Lancs N of the Sands, (1913), 207-8
Perriam, D R, Robinson, J, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. Extra Series.' in The Medieval Fortified Buildings Of Cumbria, , Vol. XXIX, (1998), 280-1
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].