5 ASKHAM (D.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)VII, N.E., (b)VII, S.E., (c)VII, S.W.,
Askham is a parish and village on the W. bank of
the Lowther 10 m. W.N.W. of Appleby. Askham
Hall and the village settlements on Skirsgill Hill are
the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Peter (or St. Kentigern)
stands in the village. It was entirely re-built in 1832,
but retains from the older building the following:—
Fittings—Communion Table: with turned legs and
moulded top-rails, late 17th-century. Font: square
bowl (Plate 44) with concave underside splayed back
to an octagon, plain octagonal stem and plinth stopped
out to a square, shield-shaped panel on front of bowl
with date 1661 and a flower. Monuments: In S. chapel
—on W. wall, (1) to Mildred (Rokeby) wife of William
Sandford, 1684, white marble and slate tablet (Plate 45)
with pediment, swags, drapery and cartouche-of-arms;
against S. wall, (2) altar-tomb, now almost covered by
the organ, conventional ornament on N. side, 17th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1712 (Newcastle)
and cover-paten probably of the same date, stand-paten
of 1712 (London) and flagon of 1711 (Newcastle).
Seating: In N. aisle—series of pews, with moulded
rails and muntins, late 17th-century, twelve intact and
others made up with modern work. Miscellanea:
Re-set in S. wall of S. chapel—corbel with carved male
b(2). Earthwork, probably homestead moat, nearly
1¾ m. S. of the church, consists of a dry ditch enclosing
an area of rhomboidal form, with traces of an outer
bank on the W., S. and E. sides. On the S.E. side is
a ramped entrance, turning at right angles and with
a rough stone paving, traces of which remain also in
the ditch. There is a small causeway on the W. side
near the S. angle. There are traces of terraces to the
E. of the earthwork. The work is called Roman
Camp on the O.S.
b(3). Bridge (Plate 28), across Mossy Beck, 250
yards S. of Widewath and about 2¼ m. S.S.W. of the
church, is a rubble structure of one span with a segmental arch. It is 9½ ft. wide, and perhaps dates from
the 17th century.
b(4). Bridge across Mossy Beck, 120 yards N.E.
of (3), is of similar form and date to (3). The roadway
is hump-backed and the bridge is 8½ ft. wide in the
a(5). Askham Hall (Plate 70), house and outbuildings, 200 yards W.N.W. of the church. The house is
partly of two and partly of three storeys; the walls are
of rubble partly ashlar-faced and the roofs are slate-covered. The house belonged to the Sandford family
from 1375 and the main block of the house dates
probably from the last quarter of that century. It
appears to have been of the normal mediæval plan
with a hall-block, a S. wing carried up as a tower and a
N. wing which is said to have contained a chapel.
The middle portion of the wing N. of the house
appears also to be of mediæval date. Much rebuilding
was done from 1575 onwards by Thomas Sandford and
his executors; this probably included a porch to the
hall-block and an enlargement and perhaps rebuilding
of the hall-block; the kitchen may also be of this
date. Various alterations were made c. 1700; the S.
front and interior of the S. wing were remodelled, a
large staircase built on part of the site of the early hall
and the 16th-century wall on its W. side heightened;
the N. end of the N. wing was probably added at
the same time. Modern alterations include the
addition of a porch to the old hall-block and some
rebuilding of the N. wing. The building forming the
W. and N. sides of the courtyard seems to be substantially a work of the latter part of the 16th century,
considerably altered in the 17th century and more
The tower-wing is an interesting example of a
semi-fortified building, and the great staircase of
c. 1700 is noteworthy.
The S. or tower-wing is of three storeys, ashlar-faced and with a restored embattled parapet and pseudo
turrets at the angles projecting slightly on corbelling.
The S.W. part rests on a foundation of large boulders.
The windows of c. 1700 have each a stone mullion and
transom on the two lower floors but no transom on
the top floor; the central doorway, of the same date,
has a moulded architrave, key-block, rusticated side-pilasters, a cornice and a curved and broken pediment.
Traces of the earlier windows remain in the wall.
The E. end retains a small original window, now
blocked, and a loop, lighting the garde-robe on the
second floor. The W. end has an original window
on the ground floor of one trefoiled ogee light; there
is a small blocked window on the floor above. The
N. side is partly covered by buildings, but retains some
original square-headed windows, a 16th-century window of four transomed lights and a two-light 17th-century window. In the same wall, within the house,
is an original doorway with jambs and two-centred
arch of two chamfered orders with a moulded label.
The tower contains several fireplaces of c. 1700 with
moulded surrounds and some panelling of the same
date. In the N. wall, on the first floor, is the head of
a 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights with
tracery in a square head; on the same floor is a fireplace (Plate 25) with a flat joggled head and rounded
angles. The garde-robe in the N.W. angle has been
partly destroyed. There are garde-robes in the N.W.
and N.E. angles of the second floor. The W. side of
the former hall-block has a two-storeyed 16th-century
porch; the former doorway has a flat four-centred
arch in a square head and has now been converted
into a window; above it is a three-light window with
a moulded label. Farther S. beyond the modern porch
is a 16th-century window of five elliptical-headed lights.
Inside the range is the great staircase (Plate 56) of
c. 1700; it has square newels, heavy twisted balusters
and moulded rails and strings; it extends to the first
floor only, a secondary staircase leading to the second
floor; this is also of c. 1700 and has turned balusters.
The original N. or chapel wing was formerly gabled
at the W. end but is now roofed from N. to S. together
with the adjoining porch. The ground and first
floors have each a late 16th-century three-light window,
replacing an earlier window of which the S. jamb
and part of a trefoiled head remain. The E. end of
the wing is modern, but in the return walls are some
mediæval square-headed windows and in the S. wall
a doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred
head. Within the house, the N. wall of this wing
retains an original window of two trefoiled ogee lights
in a square head and a doorway probably of the same
date with a square head. In the S. wall are two original
doorways from the former hall; the western has a
two-centred head and the eastern a square head, cut
later to a segmental form; between them is an original
staircase to the floor above. The dining-room in
this wing is partly lined with 17th-century panelling,
and in the W. room is a 16th-century fireplace with a
flat triangular arch in a square head. The E. part of
the wing is now of one storey only. There are
remains of the king-post trusses of the roof which are
probably mediæval. The N. range has no ancient
external features except part of a 16th-century window
in the E. wall of the kitchen. Re-set in a modern
addition W. of the kitchen is a panel carved with two
shields and a crest. Inside the range, the middle
portion has thick walls and retains parts of a mediæval
roof. The W. range of the courtyard is of two
storeys with rubble walls and dates from late in the
16th century. In the W. front is an archway (Plate 74)
with moulded jambs and altered segmental head with a
cable-moulded label and stops; above it is a panel
with an achievement of the Sandford arms, the initials
T.S. and A.S. (for Thomas Sandford and Anne his wife)
and the inscription "Thomas Sandford Esquyr for
this payd meat and hyr The year of our Savyore xv
hundreth seventy-four"; above the panel is a second
round panel with the initials H.M. Further N. are
two windows, the lower with a trefoiled ogee head
and the upper with two round arches on the head or
lintel; both are probably of the 16th or 17th century.
There are also two oval windows probably of the
17th century. The E. face of this range has an original
window on the ground floor of three transomed lights
and four original four-light windows on the upper
floor, all with moulded labels. The original inner
archway of the entrance has been widened and the arch
cut back; above a late 17th-century doorway farther S.
is a partly defaced cartouche-of-arms. Inside the
range are some early 16th-century moulded ceiling-beams and an original tie-beam roof. In the W. wall
of the upper floor is an original fireplace with moulded
jambs and lintel. The N. range of the courtyard is of
similar character to the W. range, but has been much
altered. It retains an original window of two round-headed lights with a moulded label; other smaller
windows are perhaps also original. On the S. side are
four original doorways with triangular heads; there
is another doorway on the first floor. Inside the range
is a fireplace with chamfered jambs and a three-centred
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys;
the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
Askham, Plan Showing the Position of Monuments
a(6). Vicarage, S.W. of the church, is of two dates
in the 17th century. In the S. wall of the N. wing is
a stone inscribed "Pax huic domui 1636 L. and M.H."
a(7). Punch Bowl Inn, 210 yards W.S.W. of the church,
was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
a(8). Low Side, cottage, 80 yards S.W. of (7).
a(9). Cottage, 35 yards S.W. of (8).
b(10). Rose Cottage, 40 yards E. of Helton Road,
was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
b(11). Cottage, S.W. of (10), retains an original window and remains of an inscription over the doorway.
b(12). House, 50 yards W. of (11), is modern but
incorporates a doorway with the initials and date
I. and E.L. 1683 on the lintel.
b(13). House, two tenements, 50 yards W. of the
Helton road, has an original doorway with a triangular
arch in a square head.
b(14). Barn, W. of (13), has a double row of loops
in the S. wall.
b(15). The Nook, two tenements, 140 yards W. of
(14). The S. tenement is a late 17th or early 18th-century addition. The N. tenement retains some
b(16). Hill Top, house, 40 yards N.W. of (15), has
a later N.E. wing. The doorways to both wings have
triangular arches in square heads, and the southern
has the re-cut initials and date M.L. 1650. Some of
the windows are original.
b(17). Town End, house, 1,100 yards W.S.W. of the
church, has been heightened.
a(18). Beech House, on the N. side of the street,
800 yards W.S.W. of the church, was repaired in the
18th century. The doorway has moulded jambs and
shaped head with the initials and date I.L. 1708.
a(19). House E. of (18).
a(20). Keldhead, house, 30 yards E. of (19), has an
18th-century addition at the back. The doorway has
moulded jambs and square head with the initials and
date I.T. 1704.
a(21). House, two tenements, 30 yards E. of (20),
retains some original windows.
a(22). Cottage, 110 yards E. of (21), was built late
in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
a(23). House, on the island site 30 yards S.E. of
(22), has an original doorway with moulded jambs
and eared head, having a cartouche with the initials
L. and D.H. and the date 1674.
a(24). Cottage, 430 yards W.S.W. of the church,
retains an original window.
a(25). Cottage 40 yards N.E. of (24).
a(26). Cottage, 45 yards N.E. of (25), was built early
in the 18th century. The doorway bears the initials
and date I. and E.M. 1712.
b(27). Cottage, near the N. end of the village nearly
1¼ m. S.S.W. of the church, has an original doorway
with the initials and date I.F. 1696.
b(28). Cottage, on the E. side of the street 120 yards
S. of (27), has an original door-head with the initials
and date I.B. 1686.
b(29). Low Side, house, 140 yards S. of (28), has an
original doorway, with moulded jambs and square
head with a central ogee sinking on the lintel and the
date 1687; the label above has been cut into by the
b(30). Cottage, immediately S. of (29), retains an
original window. Incorporated in the barn, S.W.
of the house, is an enriched panel with the initials and
date I. and E.L. 1642.
b(31). Town End, house, 25 yards S. of (30). The
N. half was much altered in the 18th century. It
retains an original window of three lights and two
doorways with triangular arches, square heads and
enriched lintels with the initials and date W. and A.L.
1667. Inside the building is a fireplace with moulded
jambs, square head and enriched lintel (Plate 41) with
the initials and date W. and A.L., I.L. and H.H.
b(32). Range of cottages on the W. side of the street
immediately N.W. of (31).
b(33). Cottage, on the S. side of the road 110 yards
S.W. of the Green, retains an original window.
b(34). Fellgate, house, 20 yards N.W. of (33), has
been much enlarged and altered, but retains an original
b(35). Setterah Park, house about 1¾ m. S.S.W. of
the church, has a modern cross-wing. It retains two
b(36). Widewath, house 1,020 yards W. of (35),
was extended to the E. and the porch added in 1674.
The porch has rusticated angles and a gable enclosing
an enriched panel with the initials R.M. (for Mounsey).
The N.W. doorway has a triangular arch in a square
head. The barn adjoining the house is of c. 1700.
b(37). Barn, 200 yards S. of (36), has two rows of
loop-lights and three original doors with square heads.
d(38). Scalegate, house, 3 m. S.W. of the church, has
a N. cross-wing and a barn at the S. end both added
c. 1700. Two original windows remain and there is a
fireplace of c. 1700 with a corbelled head. The outbuilding (Plate 33) N.E. of the house retains the
original timber and plaster flue or hood of a fireplace
in a largely complete state.
d(39). Scales, house, 200 yards S. of (38), was altered
in the 18th century and has a doorway of 1763.
b(40). Heltonhead, house, 630 yards S.W. of (34), has
an original panelled partition.
a(41). Outbuilding at Lowclose, nearly 1,500 yards
N.N.W. of the church, retains an original window
in the W. gable.
b(42). Lynchets, on an E. slope, nearly 1 m. S.S.W.
of the church, extend for about 160 yards from E.
to W. The terraces are somewhat denuded.
b(43). Lynchets, on a S. slope, over 1½ m. S.S.W.
of the church, extend for about a furlong from E.
to W. The terraces are about 18 ft. wide, with a
drop of about 4 ft.
b(44). Village Settlement, etc., on Skirsgill Hill
1¼ m. W.S.W. of the church, lie between the 900
and 1,000 ft. contours. Covering an area of roughly
30 acres are two small settlements of the 'British'
type together with traces of walls, banks and an
extensive lynchet system. The larger settlement
(No. 1 on detail plan) lies at the S. end of Highfield
Plantation on a comparatively flat site with ground
sloping downwards gradually to the E. and S.E.
It has an area—exclusive of outworks—of nearly
½ acre. In plan it is an irregular oval surrounded
by a bank with traces of an outer ditch on its S. side.
This enclosure is sub-divided into the usual irregular
cattle pens, etc., by further banks and also by the use
of a limestone outcrop which traverses the lower half
from E. to W. There are traces of a circular hut
near the S.W. entrance and several oval-shaped structures which were also probably buildings. The S.W.
entrance, just mentioned, is flanked on the N. side by
an inward turn of the rampart, and a slight causeway
leads through it into the enclosure to a point just N.
of the limestone outcrop. There are two entrances
on the E. side. The more southerly looks more convincing, but, since they both received some additional
protection from the outer enclosure into which they
lead, they may both be original. There appear to
have been two or more of these outer enclosures or
fields to the E. of the settlement of roughly rectangular
form. They are, however, fragmentary. Against the
S. boundary of the outer enclosure and some 3 yards
E. of the main rampart is a circular sinking.
Settlements and Cultivations on Skirsgill Hill. Askham
The second settlement is situated 260 yards N.E.
of No. 1 and some 70 yards S. of Skirsgill Plantation,
and is on the comparatively level top of a slight spur.
Without its outworks it covers an area of about ¼
acre. It is roughly circular on plan and is divided
into the usual irregular sub-enclosures. There are
traces of two circular huts abutting against the
rampart on the S.W. and S.S.E., while in the centre,
in the angle formed by the dividing cross-walls, is
another circular sinking suggestive of a hut. The
site is littered with loose stones, and it is impossible
to trace the layout with any precision. There is an
obliteration of the rampart at a point on the N.W.,
but it is difficult to say if this were an entrance. The
main entrance was undoubtedly on the E., but this,
too, is now incomplete. It is approached by a slightly
sunken track with traces of walls on either side. At
the entrance to this sunken way the S. wall has been
returned slightly, thereby forming a sort of traverse
and blocking up half the width of the entrance.
Against the S. wall as it nears the settlement is a slight
and roughly rectangular mound. The N. wall of this
trackway continues to form the main wall or rampart
of the settlement, and has on its N.E. side the traces
of a circular hut.
Some 8 yards S.W. of the settlements is a small
circular sinking and a roughly oval one some 20 yards
farther W. Within 40 yards of the foot of the scarp
on the S. are two further circular sinkings, in the more
northerly of which is a spring.
From the outer side of the isolated portion of wall
on the S.W. and continuing in much the same line
down the face of the scarp to the S. are traces of
trackway, while about 20 yards W. of this track and cut
into the face of the scarp is a roughly rectangular
terrace about 20 yards by 9 yards. There is, however,
nothing to suggest whether these two features should
be assigned to the date of the settlement.
Details of Settlements on Skirsgill Hill. Askham
About 55 yards N.N.W. of the settlement is a short
length of what would appear to be wall-foundation.
At a distance of 200 yards W. of No. 2 Settlement,
from the boundary of Highfield Plantation and running
for some 100 yards in a N.E. direction towards Skirsgill
Plantation are traces of a bank. Between No. 1 and
No. 2 Settlements and covering an area of about ¾
acre the ground has been disturbed and a number
of irregular-shaped sinkings formed. To the N.W.,
N. and E. of this disturbed ground is a small system
of lynchets. They vary in width from about 4 yards
to 7 yards and are of varying lengths, the latter
apparently being governed by the varying slopes in
the ground. To the N.E. of settlement No. 2 there is
another and larger system of lynchets. These vary in
width from 3 yards to about 26 yards. There is a
cross bank or wall at the E. end of the four lowest
On the moor 310 yards W. of Settlement No. 1
is a rectangular enclosure with a segmental S.W. end.
It shows traces of wall-foundations, and in the centre
of the enclosure are the foundations of a rectangular
building about 18 yards by 8 yards. From the side of
the building cross-walls traverse the enclosure dividing
it into two. About 450 yards N.N.E. of Settlement
No. 2 is a mound, roughly circular on plan, with a
diameter of 30–33 ft. and about 2 ft. high.
b(45). Earthworks, etc., on Askham Fell at and
near Moor Divock, about 1,050 ft. above O.D. These
were noted and many of them excavated by Canon
Simpson (C. and W. Trans., O.S. VI, 180). It is not
now possible to locate all of his finds, nor can one
or two be made to agree with any of his descriptions.
At least two of the works here mentioned in their
present state show no definite signs of being tumuli,
but have been included since they seem to agree as
regards position with works described by him. With
regard to the "Stone Avenue" he mentions, there are
a few stones of small size in alignment for a distance of
some 20 yards and about 85 yards N.W. of tumulus
(g), but they are not sufficient evidence—at the present
time at least—on which to base any conjecture as to
their having formed part of an artificial avenue.
Ancient Works on Moor Divock and the immediate vicinity
(a) The Cop Stone (Plate 2) is a stone of megalithic
character approximately 4 ft. by 2½ ft. by 4¾ ft. high.
It stands immediately within a very slight bank which
can only be traced for a few yards. Earlier observers
were able to trace this bank as forming a ring some
58 yards in diameter and also show on their plan some
smaller standing stones. This ring has now disappeared
save perhaps for three small stones which may have
formed part of a circle. The Cop Stone stands
immediately N.E. of the track crossing Moor Divock
and leading to Pooley Bridge and is 1,600 yards W.S.W.
of Helton Green. (b) About 100 yards S.E. of (a)
and 10 yards N. of the trackway is a slight circular
mound of approximately 24 ft. in diameter and 2 ft.
high. (c) On N.E. side of track approximately 410
yards N.W. of Cop Stone there is a small standing stone
and about 40 yards N.W. of it are three boulders
grouped close together. There is no apparent evidence
that these are artificial, but are inserted, as mentioned
above, because they seem to agree with sites mentioned
as "circle and Cairn" by Canon Simpson. (d) About
290 yards N.N.W. of Cop Stone, one small stone stands
on a mound of approximately 18 ft. in diameter and
about 1½ ft. high. The mound has been disturbed
on the top. (e) About 360 yards N.N.W. of Cop
Stone are remains of a cairn (marked Tumulus
on the 6-in. O.S.) with a disturbed centre. The
diameter is about 21 ft. and the height 2 ft. (f) On a
cairn about 180 yards W. of (e) and about 38 ft. in
diameter (its size probably being due to spread of fallen
stones during excavation) is a "circle" of standing
stones of approximately 18 ft. in diameter. The
highest stone is 3¾ ft. above the cairn. The circle has
been excavated in the centre and a number of small
stones exposed. It is probable that the circle originally
surrounded the base of the cairn. A food-vessel and
burnt bones of an adult were found in 1866 (Greenwell,
Brit. Barrows, p. 400. Brit. Mus.). This is marked
Standing Stones on 6-in. O.S. (g) About 265 yards
N.W. of (f) is a cairn with three standing stones left of a
former circle. The diameter of the mound is uncertain,
as the stones appear to have been scattered. There
are three projections from the cairn formed of small
boulders which have led to its being called "a star-fish
circle." These projections are scarcely discernible
now, being almost entirely embedded in turf. It was
excavated by Canon Simpson and an urn with boneashes discovered. (h) White Raise, 630 yards N.W.
of (g), is a circular mound or cairn of about 57 ft. in
diameter and an average height of about 6 ft. It was
excavated by Canon Simpson and a cist with bones
was found. The cist has been left exposed and as now
existing measures 4 ft. by 2 ft. and 1¾ ft. deep. This
again has the so-called star-fish projections. (i) About
65 yards E.N.E. of (h) is a mound of about 28 ft. in
diameter and 1¾ ft. high. It is sunk in the centre.
(j) About 150 yards W.N.W. of (h) on the N. side of
the trackway leading to Riddingleys Top is an ovalshaped mound 25 ft. by 20 ft. and 2½ ft. high.
(k) About 60 yards N.E. of (j) is a very slight mound
of about 21 ft. diameter and 2½ ft. high. It is sunk
in the centre. (1) About 165 yards N.E. of (k) on the
S. side of the track is a mound of 21 ft. in diameter
and about 1½ ft. high. (m) About 690 yards N.E.
of White Raise, N. of the trackway to Riddingleys
Top is a mound 32 ft. in diameter and 4 ft. high.
There is a sinking in the top and in the sinking are
exposed stones indicating that though now overgrown
this was probably a cairn. Between (g) and (h)
Canon Simpson mentions four stone circles; there is
now no recognisable evidence of these works.
Stone circle (f) on Moor Divock (Askham parish)
c(46). Earthworks, etc., near High Street at
Threepow Raise, 2½ m. S.W. of the church. (a) Mound
adjoining a bield 290 yards S.W. of Cockpit (marked
Tumulus on 6 in. O.S.) is about 24 ft. in diameter
and 14 inches high. (b) About 95 yards N.N.W. of
(a) is a mound about 17–18 ft. in diameter and 12 in.
high. (c) About 230 yards S. of (a) (marked Tumulus
on O.S.) is a mound with stones showing through the
turf. Probably the other stones of this cairn were taken
to build the adjoining bield. (d) Mound (marked
Tumulus on O.S.) 120 yards N.E. of (c) is 24–25 ft.
in diameter and 1½ ft. high. Some stones show through
the turf and the top is sunk.
Grouped within a radius of 50 yards of (c) are three
mounds and within a radius of 120 yards of (d) are
26 mounds. The latter are closely grouped together
in irregular fashion. With one exception (which is
rectangular), they are roughly circular, apparently
formed of stones but mostly covered with heather or
turf. They vary in diameter from 9 ft. to 21 ft.
and are generally from 1 ft. to 1½ ft. high. These
have been recently excavated by Dr. J. E. Spence.
The results in two were negative and in the third
slight traces only of charcoal were found. Mounds
(a) and (b) are in Barton parish.