Ancient Monuments

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Westnewton Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Westnewton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7812 / 54°46'52"N

Longitude: -3.3536 / 3°21'12"W

OS Eastings: 313039.912057

OS Northings: 543758.557123

OS Grid: NY130437

Mapcode National: GBR 5F04.RW

Mapcode Global: WH6ZB.G380

Entry Name: Westnewton Castle

Scheduled Date: 7 January 1972

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007131

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 369

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Westnewton

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: West Newton St Matthew

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


Fortified Manor House, 268m WSW of Home Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 29 March 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the remains of a fortified manor house of medieval date, situated in a bend in Westnewton Beck south west of Westnewton Village. The most prominent features of the site are two mounds, 1.5m high and up to 26m wide, which are linked by two much slighter banks, the whole is understood to represent the remains of towers linked by a cross-hall. Large facing stones are visible protruding from the turf of the more northerly of the mounds. To the front of the house is a square enclosure, approximately 25m by 25m, defined by banks to the north-west and north-east, with a short return of the inner scarp on the south-eastern side. The enclosure has an entrance in its northern corner and is understood to be the remains of a courtyard adjoining the front of the house. The north-eastern bank of the courtyard continues, in a reduced form, for a further 26m. A linear bank, 0.3m high, with external ditch, marks the south-eastern perimeter of the earthworks. To the west of the house are the remains of a large, irregular enclosure, marked by a broad flat-bottomed ditch accompanied by an inner bank. The ditch is understood to have held water and been an ornamental rather than a defensive feature.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers, gunports and crenellated parapets. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The fortified manor house 268m WSW of Home Farm is reasonably well-preserved as earthworks and buried remains. The monument provides insight into the character and development of fortified residences in the medieval period. It will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and subsequent abandonment, which will inform us about the lives of the people who inhabited the manor house. Features such as the ditches will also contain environmental deposits, which will provide information on the use of the surrounding landscape.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 9574

Source: Historic England

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