36 HELSINGTON (D.g.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXVIII, S.W., (b)XXXVIII, S.E.,
Helsington is a parish 2 m. S.W. of Kendal. Sizergh
Castle and Helsington Laithes are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of St. John, formerly a
chapel of Kendal, stands on the W. side of the parish.
It was built in 1726 and contains the following:—
Sizergh Castle, Helsington
Fitting— Credence Table: modern, incorporating
turned legs and moulded top, probably late 17th-century.
c(2). Sizergh Castle, nearly 1 m. S.E. of the
church, is of two, three and four storeys; the walls
are of local rubble and the roofs are covered with
slates and lead. It came into the possession of the
Strickland family in the 13th century. The earliest part
of the building is the pele-tower at the S. end of the
main block, which dates from the second half of the
14th century; there was almost certainly a building
adjoining the tower on the N. and represented in part
by the existing main block with its N. cross-wing;
it was perhaps of one storey only, as indicated by the
marks of a roof on the N. face of the tower. About
1560 the main block was reconstructed and heightened
and the two long W. wings were added, the northern
perhaps incorporating earlier work in the kitchen. A
considerable amount of work was done at this time
by Sir Walter Strickland and his widow, as is indicated
by the dates of 1563, 1564, 1569 and 1575 on various
overmantels. Alterations were made to the tower in
1749 and c. 1770–80 Cecilia Lady Strickland again
reconstructed and heightened the main block. In
1891 the panelling and overmantel of the Inlaid
Chamber were removed to the Victoria and Albert
Museum. In 1898 the lowest storey of the main
block was altered by the cutting of a carriage-way
The house is of great interest not only as including
work of a variety of dates but more especially for its
The W. front (Plate 68) of the main building has the
four-storeyed tower on the S., finished with an embattled
parapet. The ground-storey has an original window
of one square-headed light; the window on the first
floor is modern; that on the second floor is of 15th
or early 16th-century date and of three trefoiled lights
in a square head with a moulded label; the top storey
has an original window of two trefoiled ogee lights
in a square head with a moulded label; between the
two upper windows is a niche with buttressed jambs
and ogee crocketed label, enclosing an achievement-of-arms of Deincourt quartering Strickland. The
hall-block has no ancient features but before the
heightening was finished with a series of gables; the
adjoining bay on the N. retains its 16th-century gable
with barge-boards carved with running foliage and
The E. front of the main block has the four-storeyed
tower (Plate 101) at the S. end. It has windows in the
ground and top storeys similar to the corresponding windows on the W. front; the other windows are modern or
restored. The return face on the N. of the tower has
a square-headed light to the ground-storey. The low
terrace-wall in front of the hall-block represents the
line of the original hall, marks of the roof of which
remain on the N. face of the tower. The terrace wall
contains a 16th-century window of two transomed
lights in a square head with a moulded label. The
main wall of the existing hall-block is set back 8 ft.
and has no ancient features. The N. cross-wing has
a 16th-century gable with carved barge-boards similar
to those on the W. front.
The S. face of the tower has a small projecting wing
carried up above the main parapet and embattled, as
is the staircase-turret on the N. face. On this face
are several original single-light windows. The tower
has five chimney-stacks, three of which are octagonal
and additions perhaps of the 15th century; the other
two are rectangular and probably of the 16th century.
The 16th-century S.W. wing is of two storeys and
has, on the N. face, a series of five original three-light
windows on each floor; all are square-headed and
those in the upper range have transoms. There are
three original doorways, one now fitted with a window
and the others with depressed arches in square heads.
The N. end of the wing has two original windows of
three and five lights respectively; the gable has carved
barge-boards similar to those on the main block. The
windows on the lower floor of the S. face are largely
modern or restored; the upper windows, of three
transomed lights, are largely original. The rectangular chimney-stacks of this and the N.W. wing are
The 16th-century N.W. wing is of two storeys.
The windows on the S. face are either of the 18th
century or modern restorations of old work. The
W. end has carved barge-boards similar to those of
the S.W. wing; a small single-light window in the
lower storey and two windows in the upper storey,
of two and three lights respectively, are original. The
N. face of the wing has a low annexe built against
the W. part and to the E. of it is the great chimney-stack of the kitchen. The thickness of the lower
part of the adjoining wall may indicate that parts of
the kitchen are of earlier date than the rest of the wing.
In the upper floor, besides various 18th-century and
modern openings, is a late 17th or early 18th-century
window of four transomed lights with solid wood-frame and mullions. Adjoining the main block on
the N. is an added 16th-century wing with carved
barge-boards similar to those already described and
with a three-light transomed window on the ground
floor and a similar two-light window on the top floor.
Projecting N. from this wing is a long narrow wing of
four storeys, gabled at the N. end and with carved
barge-boards; the wing was perhaps added late in
the 17th or early in the 18th century to provide garderobes.
Interior. The ground floor of the Tower has a
barrel-vault of rubble and in the dividing wall is a
14th-century doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label; the tower is entered by a
round-headed archway in the N. wall with a doorway
of similar form from it to the turret-staircase; in this
doorway is an old door of feathered battens. The first
floor has the Queen's Room on the E. and the Dining
Room on the W. The former has a 16th-century stone
fireplace (Plate 104) with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; flanking it are fluted
Ionic columns of oak, with bulbous bases; the overmantel is flanked by Corinthian columns supporting
the main entablature and enclosing panels filled with
carved scrolls, etc.; a central feature, with small
Corinthian columns and a scrolled pediment, encloses
the royal arms with the date and inscription 1569
"Vivat Regina"; the walls of the room are lined
with panelling of the same period with a panelled
skirting and entablature; the panelled doors are
similar and flanking the cupboards and elsewhere are
panelled pilasters; the ceiling is divided by moulded
wooden ribs into a series of octagonal and cross-shaped panels, and in the middle of each octagon is
a boss or pendant. The Dining Room has a stone
fireplace (Plate 102) similar to that in the Queen's Room
but with cartouches in the spandrels; it is flanked by
terminal pilasters of oak with men's figures supporting
the overmantel; this is in three bays, flanked by
Corinthian columns and divided by terminal pilasters
with women's figures; the bays are filled with conventional carving with birds, etc.; in the middle is
an achievement of the quartered arms of Strickland
and at the sides are cartouches (a) Strickland quartering Deincourt impaling Neville quartering Ward, and
(b) the quartered coat of Strickland impaling Tempest
quartering Umfraville; below it is the date 1564;
the walls are lined with panelling with a middle and
upper entablature and divided into bays by panelled
pilasters supporting columns, of which some are missing. The ceiling is divided by moulded wooden ribs
to form a star-pattern, but it is of doubtful antiquity.
The second floor of the tower has the Inlaid Chamber
on the E. and the Banqueting Hall on the W. The
Inlaid Chamber (Plate 99) was formerly lined with the
panelling removed to South Kensington in 1891; the
overmantel is dated 1575; the original ceiling (Plate
49) was not removed and has an enriched entablature
and a general surface divided by plaster ribs into star-shaped panels with a moulded pendant in the centre of
each; various panels have conventional enrichments
and a number of coats-of-arms and heraldic beasts; the
arms are (a) the quartered coat of Strickland; (b)
Tempest quartering Umfraville; (c) Boynton quartering old Boynton, Delsee and Monceaux; the soffit of
the window-embrasure has ribbed plaster panelling;
the walls are now lined with 16th-century Flemish
tapestry. The Banqueting Hall now extends through
two storeys and is open to the main roof of the tower;
the stone fireplace is similar to those on the floor below;
in the S. wall is an original doorway with chamfered
jambs and two-centred head. The room contains a
considerable amount of movable furniture belonging
to the house and including pieces dated 1562, 1570
and 1571. The top storey of the tower has a room
only on the E. side. It has a fireplace with hollow-chamfered jambs and segmental head; the W. wall is
an old timber framed partition inserted under the earlier
roof (Plate 105); this is of early 16th-century date and
of low pitch and extends over the Banqueting Hall; it
has stop-moulded principals, rafters and ridge-piece.
The stonework of the tower has a number of masons'
The Hall-block has, on the ground floor, a wide
stone fireplace with chamfered jambs and flat four-centred arch in a square head; the main room has
exposed ceiling-beams; a small room on the W. has
a screen made up of late 16th or early 17th-century
panelling; the upper part of this block has no ancient
features. The ground floor of the North Cross-wing
has two rooms, the Muniment Room on the E. with a
barrel-vault and a passage-room on the W. which has
a re-set screen against its E. wall; it has a central
doorway flanked by panelled posts with a carved pediment above enclosing a quartered shield of the arms
of Strickland; the side bays have plain panelling with
an entablature; the screen (Plate 106) has a cresting
of carved monsters with a central pedestal bearing the
date 1558; the screen was probably that of the great
hall. The first floor has two rooms; the Stone Parlour,
to the S., is lined with late 17th-century panelling; the
Morning Room, to the W., is lined with 16th-century
panelling with diamond-shaped enrichments and
panelled pilasters at intervals; the fireplace is flanked
by panelled pilasters supporting the overmantel (Plate
103); this is flanked by Corinthian columns and has
richly carved panels, including a centre-piece with small
Corinthian columns, a pediment and an achievement of
the quartered arms of Strickland; on the pediment are
the initials and date W.S. 1563; the ceiling has moulded
wooden ribs forming a series of diamond-shaped and
oblong panels, the former enclosing rosettes. The
second floor has also two rooms, the Bindloss Room
on the E. and the Boynton Room on the W. The
former is fitted with early 17th-century panelling and
overmantel brought from Borwick Hall (Lancs) in
1854; the panelling is made up with modern work;
the overmantel incorporates a panel with Ionic side-columns supporting an entablature with the date 1629
and pediment; the panel itself has a carved and arched
head and an achievement-of-arms of Bindloss. The
Boynton Room is lined with panelling similar to that
in the Morning Room below; the overmantel (Plate
107) is of three bays divided and flanked by fluted Ionic
pilasters; the panels are richly carved with conventional
ornament including male figures in the side panels; the
middle panel has a shield of the quartered arms of
Boynton impaling Tempest quartering Umfraville, also
the initials and date T.A.B. 1575.
The North-west Wing contains the great kitchen
with a fireplace (13½ ft. wide) in the N. wall, spanned
by a segmental arch. The upper floors contain a
little 17th-century panelling and a 16th-century stone
fireplace with a depressed arch in a square head. The
South-west Wing contains a 16th-century fireplace with
stop-moulded jambs and square head; the chapel has
an open roof with four plain trusses perhaps of the
17th century. The stonework of both wings has
masons' marks. The added wing, N. of the cross-wing of the main block, has, on the first floor, an anteroom lined with early 16th-century linen-fold panelling; the fireplace has an early 18th-century stone
b(3). Helsington Laithes, house, bridge and barn,
1½ m. N.N.E. of (2). The House is of two storeys
with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are
slate-covered. The block at the W. end was built
probably late in the 15th or early in the 16th century.
To it was added, probably late in the 16th century, an
E. wing with a cross-wing at the end of it. The
staircase-wing N. of the kitchen was added probably
late in the 17th century and there are 18th-century
additions on both the N. and S. sides. The external
features are mostly modern, but on the S. side the
original block (Plate 15) retains some original stone
windows; that on the ground floor has two segmental-headed lights and a second window, with a square
head, perhaps formerly a doorway; the floor above
has a window of three ogee-headed lights in a square
head with a moulded label. The chimney-stacks mostly
have late 16th-century diagonal shafts, but the W.
stack has three grouped cylindrical shafts. Inside the
building, the S. room in the cross-wing has a large
plaster wall-panel (Plate 52) with moulded ribs forming
a geometrical design; it has floral enrichments, a
cartouche with the initials I. and A.B. (for James and
Agnes Bellingham?) and the date 1538; the details of
the plaster work are exactly repeated at Levens Hall and
it appears probable that the date should read 1583.
The late 17th-century staircase has turned balusters.
The Bridge, under the roadway leading to the house,
is of one span and has a round arch with long voussoirs
of rubble. It is probably of the 16th or 17th century.
The Barn, N.E. of the house, is probably of the
17th century and has a roof of plain timbers.
Condition—Good, much altered.
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.
Many of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
b(4). Cottage, 150 yards N.N.E. of (3), was built
probably early in the 16th century. Inside the building is an original moulded bressummer in front of the
fireplace. In the E. wall of the adjoining outbuilding
is the re-set head of a 14th-century window of one
trefoiled ogee light.
b(5). Lane Head, house, ¼ m. W. of (3), has an added
wing on the N.W. Inside the building are several
original panelled doors.
b(6). House, on the E. border of the parish, 1¼ m.
E. of the church.
b(7). Larkrigg, house, 1,050 yards S.E. of (6), has an
original door-frame and nail-studded door.
b(8). Hawes, house, 620 yards W. of (7), has a
modern added block on the W. side. In the N. wall
is an original window of two lights with a solid frame.
Inside the building the original staircase has turned
balusters and square newels with ball-terminals.
b(9). Holeslack, house, 680 yards S.S.E. of the church,
is said to have been the dower-house of Sizergh Castle.
It was built probably late in the 16th century on an
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the
N. and W. The N. wing has a later extension. There
are several original windows with solid frames and
another of the 17th century. The chimney-stacks
have cylindrical shafts. The circular staircase has an
oak newel and at the top is an original screen with
moulded muntins and cornice.
b(10). Berry Holme, house, ¼ m. N. of (9), has a
crow-stepped gable at the W. end and cylindrical
chimney-shafts. Inside the building is a parallel partition with the initials and date R. and E.K. 1644 over
b(11). Low House, 1,050 yards N.E. of the church,
is of L-shaped plan with a later extension on the W.
and an 18th-century addition on the E. There are
some original windows with solid frames and the
original N. chimney-stack has a cylindrical shaft.
Inside the building are some original panelled doors.
b(12). High House, 280 yards N.W. of (11), contains
an original staircase with flat shaped balusters and a
panelled door of the same age.
b(13). Park End, house, ¼ m. W. of the church,
retains some original windows with solid frames and
a cylindrical chimney-shaft. Inside the building, the
wide, open fireplace (Plate 33) is fitted with an old oak
crane or sway.
Heversham, the Parish Church of St. Peter
b(14). House, on the E. side of the road, 600 yards
N.W. of (13).
b(15). Cottage, 20 yards N.W. of (14), has a half-round staircase-projection.
b(16). Boundary House, two tenements, 30 yards N.
of (15), was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th
b(17). Cottage, 120 yards N. of (16).
a(18). Wheatsheaf Inn, 250 yards N.N.W. of (17).