Ancient Monuments

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Site of Catterlen Old Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Catterlen, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.6816 / 54°40'53"N

Longitude: -2.8111 / 2°48'39"W

OS Eastings: 347800.396362

OS Northings: 532144.60959

OS Grid: NY478321

Mapcode National: GBR 8GT9.6K

Mapcode Global: WH813.SLKB

Entry Name: Site of Catterlen Old Hall

Scheduled Date: 10 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012815

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23777

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Catterlen

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Newton Reigny St John

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the remains of the 12th century Catterlen Old Hall tower
house, the precursor of the 15th century Catterlen Hall tower house which
stands a short distance to the south. It includes a prominent grass covered
building platform up to 1m high and measuring approximately 30m by 20m. At the
northern end of this platform are the boulder foundations of the tower. It
measures approximately 17m by 13m and contains a large central hollow
considered to have been the cellar or basement. At the southern end of the
platform there are further boulder foundations indicating the position of a
south wing which measured approximately 15m by 10m. There are also faint
traces of the foundations of a cross hall which would have connected the tower
with the south wing.
The building is thought to have been constructed c.1170 by John Vaulx, Knight
of Catterlen. It was replaced c.1460 by the present Catterlen Hall tower house
which was built by William de Vaulx. This abandonment of an existing medieval
tower house in favour of the construction of a nearby replacement is
paralleled elsewhere in the locality, notably at Blencow and Hutton John.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Tower houses are a type of defensible house particularly characteristic of the
borderlands of England and Scotland. Virtually every parish had at least one
of these buildings. At many sites the tower comprised only one element of a
larger house, with at least one wing being attached to it. These wings
provided further domestic accommodation, frequently including a large hall.
If it was incorporated within a larger domestic residence, the tower itself
could retain its defensible qualities and could be shut off from the rest of
the house in times of trouble. Tower houses were being constructed and used
from at least the 13th century to the end of the 16th century. They provided
prestigious defended houses permanently occupied by the wealthier or
aristocratic members of society. As such they were important centres of
medieval life. The need for such secure buildings relates to the unsettled
and frequently war-like conditions which prevailed in the Borders throughout
much of the medieval period. Around 200 examples of tower houses have been
identified of which over half were elements of larger houses. All surviving
tower houses retaining significant medieval remains will normally be
identified as nationally important.

Despite the lack of upstanding medieval fabric, the site of Catterlen Old Hall
tower house survives reasonably well and remains unencumbered by modern
development. It is a good example of the site of an early tower house which
was subsequently abandoned in favour of a nearby replacement, and will contain
evidence for the buildings which were occupied from the 12th to the 15th
centuries.

Source: Historic England

Sources

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, , Vol. 13, (1913), 358
Other
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Tower House, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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