An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1936.
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66 MILBURN (F.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)V, N.W., (b)V, S.W.)
Milburn is a parish and village on the N. edge of the county 6 m. N. of Appleby. The church and Howgill Castle are the principal monuments.
a(1). Inscription (Plate 4), built into the W. wall of Underwood house, ¾ m. N.N.W. of the church, relates to the work of the 20th Legion. It was formerly on the rock of a quarry near Crowdundle beck and was cut out and removed to the house in the 19th century. The other inscriptions, formerly existing in the same place, have either perished or been destroyed by quarrying (C.I.L. 305–7).
b(2). Parish Church of St. Cuthbert (Plate 10), formerly a chapel of Kirkby Thore, stands near the W. side of the parish. The walls are of sandstone rubble and rough ashlar, with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with slates. A church consisting of chancel and nave existed here in the 12th century, but the re-set S. doorway and re-used stones are the only surviving features; the N. wall of the chancel is perhaps of this date. Late in the 13th century the S. arcade was built and the South Aisle added. At some uncertain period a N. aisle was added and foundations of the former N. wall exist about 10 ft. N. of the existing nave. The S. aisle was extended eastwards in the first half of the 16th century and the Chancel was perhaps largely re-built of old materials at the same time. The church was repaired in 1788 and restored in 1894, when the bell-cote was re-built.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (23½ ft. by 16 ft.) has a modern E. window. At the W. end of the N. wall is a blocked doorway, perhaps of the 16th-century, with a segmental head. In the S. wall is an early 16th-century window of two four-centred lights in a square head; further W. is a wide opening spanned by a cased beam; the S. wall has been heightened. There is no chancel-arch.
The Nave (30½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has a re-built N. wall with three modern windows. The late 13th-century S. arcade is of two bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the partly restored pier is quatre-foiled with filleted shafts, moulded capitals and bases; the responds have each an attached shaft similar to those of the pier. In the W. wall is a 14th-century window now of two plain pointed lights in a square head, with a moulded label; the lights were formerly cusped; it has been partly restored when the doorway below it was destroyed in 1894. The modern bell-cote, on the gable, has two re-set pinnacles with the date 1665.
The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has an early 16th-century E. window of three four-centred lights in a square head with a moulded label. In the S. wall are three modern windows and further W. a re-set mid to late 12th-century doorway with a round arch of two moulded orders and a chamfered label; the inner order of the jambs is also moulded and has traces of carving at the head of the mouldings; the outer order has modern detached shafts with old scalloped capitals and moulded bases. In the W. wall is a modern window.
Fittings—Bells: two, both dated 1703. Brass: In S. aisle—on S. wall, to Anne wife of Richard Sandford, 1605–6, inscription only. Chest: In vestry— with panelled lid, ends and front, late 17th-century. Churchyard Cross: By the roadside at approach to churchyard—square chamfered base with part of rectangular shaft, mediæval. Coffin-lids: In S. aisle— in modern porch-partition, (1) slab with ornamental cross on stepped base, shears at side, probably late 13th-century. Re-set on outside of W. wall, (2) small slab, with central shaft and double cross-head, late 13th-century. Monuments: In churchyard—S. of S. aisle, (1) to Thomas Westmorland, 1712, headstone re-used in 1812 and inverted; against S. wall of aisle, (2) much defaced effigy with gown and girdle, head and lower part missing, mediæval. Piscinæ: In chancel— recess with pointed head, probably 13th-century, no drain. In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with ogee head, square drain cut back, late 13th-century. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten of 1633. Sundials: on S.E. angle of chancel, in plinth of S. wall of aisle and on two places of W. jamb of S. doorway, four scratchdials. Miscellanea: Incorporated in W. wall of nave, two stones with 12th-century diagonal diaper.
b(3). Howgill Castle, house 1,450 yards E.N.E. of the church, is of three storeys; the walls are of rough ashlar and the roofs are slate-covered. The property belonged to the family of Lancaster in the 14th and part of the 15th century and passed from them to the Crackanthorpe and Sandford families. The main structure, consisting of a central block and crosswings, was built probably late in the 14th century. Some minor work was done in the 16th century and in the 17th century a block was added on the N.W. side of the earlier central block. In this was placed the late 17th-century great staircase. In the 18th century, probably in 1733, the date on a rain-water head, the building was remodelled; the S.E. front was entirely transformed, the parapets of the side wings being removed and the central part carried up to the same height; at the same time the interior was almost entirely modernised.
Though much altered the house is still an interesting example of a mediæval semi-fortified building.
The S.E. front has no features of earlier date than the 18th century except the top window in the N.E. wing. This is of the 16th century and of three transomed lights with a moulded label. In the N.E. end are two 17th-century three-light windows with moulded cornices; higher up is a late 17th-century window and remains of earlier blocked windows. The back of the house has two low gables at the ends of the wings, incorporating remains of the original embattled parapets; the gable of the N.E. wing incorporates two of the embrasures. The wings retain a number of late 16th-century windows and remains of earlier openings. The added block retains some 17th-century windows, two of them have or had moulded cornices. Inside the building, the ground floor of both cross-wings has a segmental-pointed barrel-vault of stone. The S.W. cross-wing has an original window in the N.W. wall, subsequently widened, and in the N.E. wall is a mural staircase with an original doorway at the top. The N.E. cross-wing has a partly blocked fireplace in the N.W. wall with a large rusticated segmental arch of late 17th or early 18th-century date set in front of it. The mural staircase in the S.W. wall has an original doorway at the top, with a segmental-pointed head. The central block has been largely remodelled but in the upper part of the back wall is a wall-passage and part of a staircase of the 14th century; the S.E. end of the passage has a corbelled slab ceiling, but over the remains of the staircase the roof forms a series of stepped trefoiled arches in ashlar; the passage has an original doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch and a square-headed window; the doorway is now blocked. On the outer face of the back wall are remains of a string-course, probably that of the original parapet. The late 17th-century great staircase (Plate 57) has heavy turned balusters, square panelled newels with moulded cappings and moulded rails and strings. There is a little 17th-century panelling in the upper part of the central block and a fireplace of the same date with a triangular arch in a square head. The upper part of the N.E. wing has a newel-staircase in the W. angle and in the N.W. wall of the same wing is a garde-robe.
The following monuments are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered.
b(4). Gullon Holme, house 800 yards S.S.E. of the church, has been heightened. It retains one original window.
b(5). Slakes, house over 1 m. S.E. of the church, retains some original windows and there is a semi-circular staircase-projection at the back.
a(6). Lounthwaite, house 1,500 yards N.N.W. of the church, has a large modern addition on the S.W.