Brougham Hall

Brougham Hall Near Penrith

Brougham Hall Near Penrith

Brougham Hall

Brougham Hall (pronounced Broom Hall) was the historic home of the Brougham family before falling into ruins in the 1930’s. The hall is situated but a short drive from Brougham Castle and a mile south of the market town of Penrith. There is currently free parking in a small car park situated just outside of the main entrance to the hall.

A fortified home has existed upon the elevated site since the late 1400. The Broughams of Brougham (Westmorland) became extinct in 1608.

The oldest part of the hall is the Tudor building, which dates back to around 1500 and was once the scene of a bloody battle between the English and the Scots. Brougham Hall was extended and enlarged between 1830 and 1847.

Brougham Hall and Lady Anne Clifford

Brougham Hall had been repaired in the 17th Century by Lady Anne Clifford, and then became the home of her agent, John Bird. A James Bird purchased the estate in 1676. In 1726, it was repossessed and purchased by Commissioner John Brougham of Scales Hall (Cumberland), who brought the estate back into the Brougham family. His great grandson Henry Peter later became Lord Chancellor of England.

Rebuilding of Brougham Hall took place in 1829 – 1847 and again in the 1860s when Lord Brougham, the Lord Chancellor, lived in the home. It became known as the Windsor of the North due to the visits by King Edward VII and the future King George VI. The hall being on route to Balmoral Castle in Scotland played host to Royalty on a number of occasions.

During the early twentieth century there was a secret tank development facility at Brougham Hall. The project was known as Canal Defence Light (CDL). A plaque at the hall remembers the men who worked there during the war. There is also a bunker that was used during World War II.

Sadly it was the 4th Baron Brougham and Vaux, Victor Henry Peter Brougham, who is responsible for the demise of Brougham Hall. Acquiring the hall at an early age, and his worldly inexperience and early wealth saw his spendthrift lifestyle and professional gambling mount up debts leading eventually to the sale of its treasures and ultimately the Hall itself.

Neighbour, Major  Cowper, who had a grudge to bear against the Brougham’s took advantage Victor’s mismanagement and bought Brougham Hall and estate in 1934. He revengefully presided over the stripping and sad demolition of Brougham Hall. Between the two great wars, many large British Houses went the same way as costs escalated and the landed gentry came to terms with a new social order.

Brougham Hall and grounds are reportedly haunted by sounds of soldiers battling in the middle of the night, world war soldiers marching and various people who were employed at the property including a woman called Emily and a boy who died there. Henry Brougham who lived there in the nineteenth century was reported to be highly interested in spirituality and his spirit and that of his brother William are also said to have been felt by visitors to the hall.

The hall was investigated in the Living TV series Most Haunted, where the team supposedly communicated with the spirits of Emily, the boy and Henry Brougham during a séance and moved a heavy table across the room without explanation.

Today with a restoration program underway which began in 1985, with volunteers helping, the hall is open to visitors throughout the year. There is a range of craft workshops, a tea room and a gift shop established within the impressive outer walls.

Brougham Hall Door Knocker

Of great interest is the very unusual door knocker at the hall which is located within the outer walls upon an old wooden door, near the road, opposite the car park. With only four examples of this door knocker, a 12th century design, exist: two in Durham and two from Brougham.

The original graced the north door of Durham Cathedral from 1172 to 1977, when it was removed to the safety of the Cathedral Treasury and replaced with a replica, cast by the British Museum.

Both the Durham rings where made of bronze with the original Brougham ring made of iron. The Brougham Hall ring survived the War but was stolen, crated and sent to Sotheby’s for auction. In an attempt to replace it, Collier’s foundry in Sussex in1993, began the laborious task of drawing a replica from which the monster’s head was carved in wood. A sand mould was taken from the wooden head and finally cast in bronze in seven pieces.  Thus a new replacement door knocker was made for Brougham Hall.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Brougham Hall please visit Brougham Hall on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Brougham Hall as I did and Brougham Castle is only a short distance away by car or you could even walk to the castle.

Sergeant Man

Sergeant Man Grasmere Walk

Sergeant Man Grasmere Walk

Sergeant Man Walk

The most popular routes to climb Sergeant Man are either from Great Langdale via Stickle Tarn, or by a variety of routes from Grasmere village. For this particular walk to Sergeant Man I chose to ascend via Easedale Tarn as this is one of my favourite shorter low level walks from Grasmere.

Starting from the village of Grasmere, take the lane that leads up to Easedale Tarn which is a good straightforward walk. There are more details of this section of the walk and photographs on my ‘Easedale Tarn walk’.

Sergeant Man From Easedale Tarn

On arriving at Easedale Tarn, you will see the rugged mountain scenery that is from right to left Tarn Crag, Slapestone Edge and Bells Knott on the opposite side of the tarn. On a quiet day for Lake District weather and smooth waters upon the tarn, the serenity and peacefulness of the setting is wonderful with the mountains reflected within the cold waters.

Leaving the tarn behind us and continuing upon our walk to Sergeant Man, we follow the clearly marked footpath which meanders its way upwards between the lofty heights of Bells Knott on your right and Blea Crag on your left. Here underfoot the ground can be sodden due to the large rainwater catchment area.

As you ascend from the tarn making your way towards the crossroads at Blea Rigg, do take the time to look back as the views are absolutely stunning and get better and better as you climb higher and higher towards our ultimate destination of Sergent Man. The upward path climbs here and can be arduous whilst on occasion turning to stepping stones as you cross wet patches of ground. In general the path follows the stream on your right so at this point it is easy to navigate.

After leaving Easedale Tarn, the first crossroads you will arrive at, will take you down and around Codale Tarn and then onwards to the summit of Sergeant Man, although we continued on towards the crossroads at Blea Rigg. At the crossroads we took the right hand path.

The path to the summit is clearly marked out as you cross with relative ease along the small grassy footpath, passing the 50 foot slab of rock mentioned by Wainwright. Now simply follow the track as you make your final steps to the summit which should be clearly visible before you and maybe lunch.

Should the Lake District weather be kind to you now here you will be rewarded with some great Lakeland vistas worthy of any walk you will undertake and you should see some of the famous high peaks of the Lake District. On a bad day they may be shrouded in mist and cloud. Below the summit of Sergeant Man Stickle Tarn should be clearly visible weather permitting.

The Summit Of Sergeant Man

Whilst at the summit of Sergeant Man you should be able to clearly discern the famous fell of High Rise but a short distance away, should you wish to bag another of the 214 Wainwright fells.

Making our way back to Grasmere we chose to return to the crossroads at Blea Rigg and then onwards, continuing along the higher ground towards Castle How. The high ground of Blea Rigg offer great views looking down upon the 3 local tarns and the village of Grasmere.

There are 3 possible descents from this point with the first putting you back down towards Easedale Tarn and the third putting you back near the village centre. We chose on this occasion to take the second pathway following Blindtarn Gill.

This path is poorly marked and resulted in some off track rambling through lots of bracken and small shrubs. With good weather the farm buildings at the bottom of the path were clearly visible. Aiming for them, we soon reached this point and our original path we had commenced our walk upon.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Sergeant Man walk please visit Sergeant Man Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Sergeant Man Walk Video

There is an abundance of walks from Grasmere and Sergeant Man is a great high level walk to enjoy.

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle, Penrith

Long Meg and Her Daughters stone circle, which is also known as Maughanby Circle, is a Bronze Age stone circle located near to Penrith in Cumbria, North West England. Long Meg is a mile or so to the north of the Lakeland village of Little Selkeld off the A686 Penrith to Alston road, and there stands this impressive stone circle.

When visiting the site, a track runs through the circle to a farm and it is possible to park a vehicle on the verge in the field containing the stone circle.

The stone circle of Long Meg is the sixth largest example known from this part of north-western Europe, whilst the third largest stone circle in England after Avebury and Stanton Drew. The site is also thought to be one of the earliest, dating from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg and her Daughters consist of 51 stones of which 27 remain upright (the largest of which is 29 tons). The stones are set in an oval shape, measuring 94 metres north-south and 109 metres east-west on its long axis. The overall diameter of the circle is 106 metres. It is possible that there may have been as many as 70 stones at the site.

There is an entrance to the southwest that is flanked by a pair of stones just outside the stone circle.

The largest outlying stone is Long Meg herself, the ‘mother stone’ which is 3.6m high and is thought to weigh about 9 tonnes, a monolith of red sandstone 18m to the southwest of the circle made by her daughters. Long Meg is marked with examples of megalithic art, which includes a cup and rings of concentric circles. These carvings face away from the circle, a fact which has prompted speculation that the stone was erected at a different time period from the circle.

It is interesting to note that the four corners of the Long Meg stone are facing the points of the compass and standing some 18.28 metres (60 feet) outside the circle.

When the standing stone of Long Meg is viewed from the centre of the circle the monolith aligns with the midwinter sunset.  It is not known exactly what the stone circle was used for, and yet it was likely used as a meeting place or some form of religious ritual.

The relationship of Long Meg to the stone circle suggests the possibility that it may have been used to sight the midwinter sun.

William Wordsworth wrote “Next to Stonehenge it is beyond dispute the most notable relic that this or probably any other country contains”.

Long Meg and her Daughters Legends

The most famous of the many legends and local folklore that surround the stones of Long Meg is that they was once a coven of witches who were turned to stone by a wizard from Scotland named Michael Scot. It is said that the witches were celebrating their Sabbath when the wizard found them at it and turned them into stone.

It is also said the stones cannot be counted – but, if anyone is able to count them twice and come to the same total, the spell will be broken or it will bring very bad luck.

Another legend of the Long Meg stone circle states that if you walk round the circles and count the number of stones correctly, then put your ear to Long Meg, you will hear her whisper. The name itself is said to come from a local witch, Meg of Meldon, who was alive in the early 17th century.

More fascinating is the folklore that holds sway that if Long Meg and Her Daughters are moved or destroyed terrible misfortune, perhaps even a ferocious storm will fall upon those responsible. Story has it that a Colonel Lacy the land owner, of nearby Selkeld Hall decided to have the stones blasted with gun powder. When the work began a terrible thunder storm erupted from out of clear sky. This was taken by the labourers as a sign of the circle’s Supernatural power to defend itself – they fled in terror and would not carry out the work. The landowner then had a change of heart and left Long Meg and Her Daughters to themselves.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Long Meg Stone Circle please visit Long Meg Stone Circle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

I hope you enjoy walking around this ancient monument of Long Meg Stone Circle as I did or even incorporating a visit in with a walk.

Brougham Castle

Brougham Castle near Penrith

Brougham Castle near Penrith

Brougham Castle near Penrith

Brougham Castle is situated some 2 miles from the market town of Penrith and is a fascinating place to visit and explore. It is also possible to determine the outline of the Roman fort on the south side of the castle, making for a fascinating exploration of nearly two thousand years of history, as well as an ideal picnic setting for a family day out within the beautiful river setting.

The castle was founded in the early 13th century on the site of a Roman fort and sits near the rivers Eamont and Lowther. In the castles earliest form it simply consisted of a stone keep, with an enclosure protected by an earthen bank with a wooden palisade. The Norman family of Robert de Vieuxpont built the Brougham castle, the ruins of which can still be seen today. The Vieuxponts were a powerful land- owning family in Northern England, owning Appleby and Brough castle.

Brougham Castle In 1268

By the time of 1268 Brougham castle had passed to Robert Clifford, whose father had become Lord of Brougham when he married Robert Vieuxpoint’s great granddaughter. With the Anglo -Scottish wars which started in 1296 Robert Clifford carried out much work at Brougham to strengthen the defences. The wooden outer defences were replaced with stronger, more impressive stone walls and the large stone gate house was added.

The importance of Brougham and the Clifford family was such that in 1300 Edward 1 was hosted at the castle. The region was often at risk of attack from the Scots, and in 1388 the castle was captured and sacked. Following this the Clifford family began spending more time at their other castles and in particular Skipton castle in Yorkshire.

Brougham castle descended over several generations of the Clifford family, however in 1592 the castle was in a state of disrepair. In the early 17th century the castle was briefly restored to such an extent that James 1 was entertained at the castle in 1617.

Brougham Castle and Lady Anne Clifford

In 1643 Lady Anne Clifford inherited the family estates, including Brougham castle, Appleby Castle and Brough Castle, whilst setting about restoring them.

Brougham castle was kept in good order and repair by Lady Anne Clifford and for a short time after her death in 1676. However the Earl of Thanet, who had inherited the Clifford estates, sold its furnishings in 1714.

The then empty shell was left to decay as it was too costly to maintain. As a ruin Brougham castle inspired a painting by J M W Turner and was mentioned by William Wordsworth in his poem ‘The Prelude’.

In the 1930’s Brougham castle was left to the Ministry or Works and is today maintained by English Heritage.

Today Brougham castle features an introductory exhibition, with carved tombstones from the nearby Roman fort. A guide book is available which explains the history of Brougham castle and Brough Castle and includes plans and photographs of both castles.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Brougham Castle please visit Brougham Castle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

For me Brougham Castle is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy visiting it as much as I did.

Brough Castle

Brough Castle Cumbria

Brough Castle Cumbria

Brough Castle Cumbria

Brough Castle is a ruined castle set within the Lakeland village of Brough, Cumbria. The castle consists of a large mound, upon which there is an extensive range of buildings, with a circular corner tower, and the remnants of an older four storey keep. There is free parking available within short walking distance.

The site of Brough Castle was originally the Roman fort of Verterae. Verterae was built to control the lands of the Brigantes and guard the Roman road linking Carlisle Castle with Ermine Street which today is the modern A66. The Roman fort will have covered a much larger area than the present Brough Castle and is now a scheduled Ancient Monument. The impressive Brough Castle stands on a ridge strategically commanding Stainmore Pass on the site of the old Roman fort.

Medieval Brough Castle

The first castle was built by William Rufus in the 1090’s within the northern part of the former fort. One of the first stone castles to be built in Britain the walls showing the herringbone pattern typical of Norman architecture.

In 1268 Brough Castle passed into the ownership of the Clifford family, who also owned Brougham Castle in the area. Robert Clifford carried out work here and at Brougham Castle building a new hall and semi-circular tower, now known as Clifford’s Tower as a residence for himself. The Clifford family, when visiting in Westmorland, would stay at Brough Castle until an accidental fire in 1521 destroyed much of the building. It was not occupied again until Lady Anne Clifford inherited it in 1643.

Lady Anne Clifford undertook restoration work on all the castles she inherited. Following her death the castle passed into the ownership of the earls of Thanet, who made their home at Appleby Castle in Appleby-in-Westmorland. It is from this point in time that Brough Castle began to decline into the ruin you see today, with much of the stone plundered in 1763 when Brough mill was built. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage and is open to visitors with guide books available for purchase from Brougham Castle shop.

Today it is possible to walk through the gatehouse and explore the ruins of Brough Castle with its imposing stone work and information boards explaining the layout of the castle. The keep that can be seen today is built on earlier Norman foundations and it is believed that the original structure was composed of stone and wood. The present keep was built in the 12thcentury.

The Keep at Brough Castle

The interior of the keep at Brough Castle has several interesting features that are visible from the ground such as doorways and fireplace settings that were for the upper floors. There are also some remaining structures such as stairs and passageways within the walls that are now inaccessible behind a locked gate.

I can recommend that you stand upon the high ground at the castle keep looking out towards the west and Brougham castle and Penrith castle and the stunning views. From this vantage point the strategic line of defence becomes apparent along what is now the A66.

The nice thing that stands out for me at Brough Castle is the simple distinguishing fact that the land upon which the castle now stands is owned by a local farmer who has opened an adjacent farm shop café with a small children’s play area comprising of several slides and swings. The café is but a stone’s throw from the castle walls and makes for a great sitting area whilst you enjoy a coffee and reflect on the history of this ancient fort.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Brough Castle please visit Brough Castle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Within sight of Brough castle walls is the church of St Michaels’s which is very picturesque and there is an exhibition with pictures and text about the region.