Former army drill hall, Castlebergh Hall


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1435269

Date first listed: 30-Aug-2016

Statutory Address: Scout Hall, Castlebergh Lane, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9HA


Ordnance survey map of Former army drill hall, Castlebergh Hall
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Statutory Address: Scout Hall, Castlebergh Lane, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9HA

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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Settle


National Grid Reference: SD8209463641


Former drill hall built for the West Riding Rifle Volunteers in 1864, funded by Walter Morrison of Malham Tarn.

Reasons for Designation

Castlebergh Hall, Settle’s former drill hall, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Date: built the year following the 1863 Volunteer Act (which gave volunteer units the right to acquire their own premises) the building is a rare, very early drill hall; * Design: its simplicity (lacking separate office and domestic accommodation), being focused on providing a large open hall overseen by a viewing gallery, makes it a good example of an early drill hall; * Architectural interest: a characterful vernacular building in local materials and form.


Drill halls originated as a building type following the formation of the Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1859. Also known as ‘drill sheds’, and commonly identified on modern Ordnance Survey maps as ‘TA Centres’, they can be defined as dedicated training facilities for the army’s volunteer units. The history of drill halls dates back to the mid-C19 when the authorities made a concerted effort to create a reserve of men with military training, arranged along the lines of the regular army. When voluntary service, as opposed to enlisting into a paid semi-professional militia, was opened up to the general population in 1859, it proved very popular. By the end of 1860 more than 120,000 had signed up. This vast new force needed accommodation, and existing local barracks and depots were unable to take the strain. Most units were, at first, private organisations with no access to central funds. Although many of the early volunteer groups adapted existing buildings such as village halls, a purpose-built drill hall was considered the most desirable option.

Drill halls for the volunteer forces slowly began to emerge as a distinct building type and, although no two drill halls are identical, they do all share three essential elements. These combined to form a characteristic layout whereby the offices, armoury and stores were accommodated in an administrative block fronting the street, with a large hall positioned at right-angles behind (often with an indoor target range to one side and viewing balconies at either end). The third element, accommodation for the caretaker or drill instructor, could be included within the administrative block or placed separately to the rear of the hall. Whilst there are countless variations upon the basic layout, the most common is the side-by-side arrangement, with the hall running along the street beside the administrative block. The need for large unencumbered internal spaces stimulated the early use of steel roofs and experiments with laminated timber trusses (in the C19) and lamella trusses (in the 1930s), a German system of latticed steel or more usually timber roofing. In addition to their standard functions, drill halls acted as focal points for events within the wider community. Many were designed with this in mind and boasted of their suitability to host concerts, dances and meals. The units were a source of local civic pride and the architecture of their drill halls often reflected that.

Whilst many drill halls are simple, undistinguished, utilitarian structures with little or no embellishment, their architectural treatment can be divided broadly into four periods: 1859-1880, 1880-1914, 1914-1945 and 1945 to the present. The very earliest drill halls, those of 1859-1880, were often private concerns. A lack of central regulation tended to result in small buildings which were somewhat eclectic in design and style. Many of these were substantially altered or demolished as they became increasingly unfit for purpose. As such, relatively few survive.

Castlebergh Hall was built in 1864, funded by Walter Morrison of Malham Tarn who was a local benefactor and a Lieutenant Colonel in the West Riding Rifle Volunteers. Although the building does not appear to include domestic accommodation, the 1911 census records Thomas Sheridan, Army Sergeant (Territorials) and his wife as occupiers. In September 1914 it was the base for F Company of the 6th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment which was formed as a home service unit which nonetheless was deployed to France in January 1917. It is not known when the drill hall ceased to be used by the Territorial Army, however it is thought to have been used by the Scouts since 1936.


Former drill hall, now Scout hall, 1864 for the West Riding Rifle Volunteers, sponsored by Walter Morrison of Malham Tarn.

MATERIALS: of local stone rubble laid to courses with part-dressed quoins and window surrounds. Ashlar door surround and plinth course. Stone slate roof.

PLAN: built into steeply rising ground with the hall set parallel to and at first floor level relative to Castlebergh Lane, access being via the N gable end accessed by an external flight of steps. At the S end of the hall there is a viewing gallery with a heated room below. The armoury is thought to have been the ground floor/basement room at the N end.

EXTERIOR: of two storeys and five bays with windows to the first floor, W side only, these having 2-centre-arched heads with timber cross mullions. There is a gable end stack to the S. The ground floor appears as a tall plinth with an ashlar top course, the doorway to the ground floor room appearing to have been inserted. The entrance to the hall has an ashlar surround which is simply chamfered. Scarring to the gable end indicates that the external stair was formerly covered, that the main entrance had an added porch and that there was an inserted doorway to its side, now blocked, giving access to an external toilet. The small cast iron door that has been suggested as a collection box is an access door to the base of a disused flue. Attached to the corner of the building above the steps is a bracket thought to have been for a gas street lamp. The S gable is blind.

INTERIOR: the viewing gallery occupies the S bay, accessed by a narrow stair on the E side. The W side of the gallery is partitioned off to form a room. The space below the gallery is also partitioned off with toilets on the W side and a larger room to the centre retaining a fireplace. All of these partitions* are thought to be C20. The rest of the hall is undivided and partially open to the roof structure which has a ceiling* set just above the collars to the roof trusses. The beam supporting the gallery front has a small brass war memorial plaque recording the names of six men who died in the Second World War.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.


Katie Carmichael, Drill Halls: A National Overview (Historic England, Research Report Series no. 6-2015)

End of official listing