The land in this part of Cumbria had been owned by the Deincourt family since the 1170s. When Elizabeth Deincourt married Sir William de Stirkeland in 1239 the estate passed into the hands of what eventually became known as the Strickland family, who owned it until it was gifted to the National Trust in 1950. It is still lived in by members of the Hornyold-Strickland family, so no photos from inside.
On 29th June 2012, and within minutes, a freak overhead cloudburst, caused a torrent of water to run down this driveway entering the main entrance. The water gushed through the front doorway and out of the back entrance which stands high above a lake. It caused damage to a rare wooden brick block floor, which has now been conserved and refitted by the National Trust. Luckily all of the living quarters are safely positioned on the first floor. In its 800 year history there is no record of this ever having happened before. Was it just a freak of nature, or is this global warming?
The white labels on the wooden brick blocks show location references in order to assist the conservators.
The core of the medieval castle is a 14th century solar tower surround by a Tudor house. It was extended during the Elizabethan period and has richly carved oak panelled interiors, complete with furniture from the same period. Some of the panelling is extremely rare being inlaid with poplar and light oak. The contents including the wall panelling of one bedroom were sold to the V&A Museum during the last part of the 20th century. The museum intended to set it up as a room but never did. In 1999 it was all finally returned to the castle where it is on a long term loan. Around 1770 the building was again expanded in the Georgian style.
The family made their money by keeping flocks of sheep and owning large swathes of land in the north of England, which they leased out to tenants. They were an important family defending the King's northern borders with Scotland.
We have tried to grow Tropaeolum over our pillared golden yews without success. Alas it will not thrive with us, it hates our alkaline dry soil.