Grid Ref SD 510960
Burneside Hall is a ruined 14th century pele tower now attached to a farm house and outbuildings. The fortification of the house was licenced in 1341 when the tower and a gatehouse were built.
There is a long south wing, and a shorter oblong north wing, which is in fact a pele tower. There are two tunnel-vaulted chambers at ground level, seperated by a narrow tunnel-vaulted passage.
Burneside Hall can be found to the North of Burneside and to the West of the A6, about three miles outside of Kendal.
The hall became the property of Richard de Bellingham of Northumberland when he married Margaret, the heiress of Gilbert de Burneshead. Their descendants remained living in the hall for the next 200 years or so.
Most of the 14th century tower still survives, together with some of the original enclosing wall of the barmkyn, or fortified courtyard. This area would have been used to house and protect cattle in the event of a raid or an attack. Today, the hall and its grounds are accessed along a narrow drive-way from the road below it. Entrance would have been through a gate house from the 16th century onwards, that still stands intact but with broken windows. The original heavy oak doors to the gate house can still be seen, albeit off their hinges now and leaning against the interior wall!
The hall and its attendant buildings are from different dates. The pele tower was built by the Burnesheads in the 14th century. Its basement is divided into two cellars, connected by a tunnel passing right through the tower. Apparently this is an architecturally unique feature for a pele tower. The walls of the pele tower were originally around 1.2metres thick. No traces of the embattled parapets survive. There was a special enclosure directly outside the tower, possibly for the protection of horses.
Attached to the rear of the pele tower is the Great Hall, probably built during the 16th century. This part of the building was built by the Bellinghams, and was enlarged during the 17th century by the Braithwaites.
There are stretches of curtain wall still remaining, and these would originally have formed a fortified courtyard.
To the front of the tower survive traces of a moat surrounding the site and an ornamental lake with a small island.
The hall is part of a working farm, and is therefore private property.
Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.
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