An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1936.
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4 ASBY (F.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XV, S.W., (b)XXII, N.W., (c)XXII, S.W., (d)XXII, N.E., (e)XXII, S.E.)
Asby is a large parish and village 6 m. S. of Appleby. The Rectory, Grange Hall, Gaythorn Hall, the village settlements and Castle Folds are the principal monuments.
d(1). Parish Church of St. Peter stands in Great Asby village. It was entirely re-built in 1866, but retains from the older building the following:—
Fittings—Brass Indent: In porch—of figures of man in civil dress, woman in butterfly head-dress, four shields and marginal inscription, late 15th-century. Floor-slab: In S. aisle—to G.T., 1694 and indent of brass plate. Plate: includes an early 17th-century cup with a baluster-stem and probably with the York marks. Miscellanea: In churchyardwall, mediæval apex-stone with sundial plate fixed on top.
b(2). St. Leonard's Chapel at Little Asby has been destroyed, but foundation-mounds survive on the site indicating a rectangular building about 41 ft. by 21 ft.
d(3). Footbridge over Dale Beck, 350 yards S.W. of the church, is a rubble structure consisting of two abutments and a large stone slab with a rough parapet. It may be as old as the 17th century.
d(4). Rectory (Plate 15), 70 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The N. wing was a small pele-tower built in the 14th century. It was altered and re-roofed in the 17th century when the existing main block seems to have been re-built. The E. and W. wings are probably 18th-century additions. The tower (33½ ft. by 23 ft. externally) is faced with squared and coursed stone. In the upper part of the E. end is an original 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; internally it is rebated for shutters. The lower window in this wall and the four windows in the N. wall are probably of early 17th-century date and are of two and three lights with square heads and labels. The entrance to the tower is by a dog-legged passage in the S. wall with an original doorway at each end; these have two-centred arches and the outer one has a moulded label. At the E. end of the wall are marks of the roof of an earlier building replaced by the existing main block. The ground floor has a segmental barrel-vault of rubble. The upper floor has a late 17th or early 18th-century fireplace with a flat triangular head and a moulded shelf. The main block retains the labels of some 17th-century destroyed windows and in the W. wall is the re-set head of a 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights. Inside the building is a large wooden lock (Plate 60) with the initials and date A.P. 1670 (for Anne Countess of Pembroke).
d(5). Grange Hall (Plate 15), nearly 1½ m. S. of the church, is of three storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The main block was built in the 15th century and probably formed the S. wing of a larger building extending to the N. It was altered in the 17th century, when the turret-staircase seems to have been added and the roof re-built. The existing N. and S. wings are late 18th or early 19th-century additions.
The original oriel window is an unusual feature.
The main block is faced with squared stone and has remains of the original parapet on the N. and S. sides. Most of the windows are 17th-century insertions, with square heads and stone mullions. At the E. end (Plate 15) is an original oriel window, at the first-floor level; it is of semi-octagonal plan with a single trefoiled light in each of the five faces, a pyramidal capping and a moulded corbelled base resting on a bearded head. In the gable is a pointed panel with a 17th-century central ornament of pinnacle form. The second floor on the N. side has a re-set original window, of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head. Lower down, on the same side, is a carved panel, partly cut away by a 17th-century window; it has the Bellingham arms in a wreath and a device including a cross on one side. The N.W. angle has a 17th-century stair-turret in a circular projection resting on moulded corbelling. The S. side has a re-set original window, at the second floor level, of one trefoiled ogee light; near it is a carved gargoyle-head on the parapet-string; the W. projection on this wall perhaps enclosed a garderobe. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams and 17th-century doors. In the N. wall of the first floor is a broad recess with a flat two-centred head. Near the house is a stone well-head, probably of mediæval date.
b(6). Gaythorn Hall (Plate 71), nearly 2 m. W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably late in the 16th century, but early in the 18th century the greater part of the back half of the house was re-built. The house is symmetrically planned with original front porch and projecting staircase wings. The W. front has original three-light and transomed windows with moulded labels; the gabled and two-storeyed porch has an outer entrance with moulded jambs, imposts and round arch in a square head with enriched spandrels; the key-block has a shield-of-arms of Bellingham; the upper storey of the porch has a window of four transomed lights on the face and two on each return. The return-walls of the front block have windows similar to those in front. The staircase wings have smaller windows, some of them blocked. On the E. front is a rain-water head with the initials and date I.G. 1702, perhaps the date of the rebuilding of this part of the house; the windows, however, are later and the block is carried up to three storeys. Inside the building are a number of original fireplaces with moulded or chamfered jambs and square heads with flat-sided sub-heads. The inner doorway in the W. porch has moulded jambs and square head with a flat-sided sub-head; on the jambs are two carved heads of a man and woman and above the doorway is a carved mermaid; the door has long moulded panels on the outer face and strap-hinges. The doorway in the middle wall of the house is similar to the W. doorway but without carving. The S.W. room has an original plaster frieze (Plate 50) with scrolls and conventional vine sprigs. The staircases have newel-piers of masonry and the stairs are of solid balks. There are numerous masons' marks on the original stonework of the house.
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.
d(7). Asby Hall, 210 yards E. of the church, was entirely re-built in the 18th century. It incorporates a stone panel with the arms of Musgrave and the initials and date E.M. 1694.
d(8). Cottage, 160 yards N.N.E. of (7), was re-built in the 18th century, but built into a forecourt wall is a tablet with the initials and date W. and C.E. 1691.
d(9). Greyhound Inn, 40 yards S.E. of the church, has been much altered. The front doorway has a moulded architrave and the studded door has strap-hinges.
d(10). Deal House, 50 yards N.W. of the church, was probably re-built in 1729. It incorporates a door-head with the initials and date E.S. 1680, and inside the building is a little 17th-century panelling.
d(11). Elm Tree House, 70 yards S.W. of (10), has a doorway with the initials and date I.R., T. and R.F. 1694 on the lintel. There is a stone newel-stair at the back set in a projection.
b(12). Stanner stones, cottage, ½ m. W. of the church, contains a small cupboard with the initials and date T.T. 1685.
a(13). Scalebeck, house, nearly 1 m. N.W. of the church, has a re-set stone with the initials and date C.E. 1684.
b(14). Halligill, house, nearly ¾ m. W. of (12), retains some original windows. A doorway on the E. has the initials and date M.W.I.B. 1696. Inside the building is a two-stage cupboard with carved upper panels, pendants and the date 1631. The barn has a doorway, with embattled sinking on the lintel.
b(15). Whitewall, house, 1 m. W.S.W. of the church, has a doorway with the initials and date T. and E.S. 1691 on the lintel. Inside the building is a two-stage cupboard with enriched upper panels, pendants and the initials and date G.T., E.T. 1693. There is also an early 18th-century fireplace with a corbelled head.
d(16). Waterhouses, cottage, about 2½ m. S.E. of the church, was re-built c. 1775, but retains two doors probably of late 17th-century date.
e(17). Barn in Little Asby, 30 yards W. of (2), is of the 18th century, but incorporates a 17th-century doorway with a flat arch in a square head and two three-light windows of the same age.
e(18). Earthworks, at Little Asby, 150 yards S.E. of (2), consist of a roughly rectangular enclosure of nearly ½ acre, cut out and levelled along the side of a slope running downwards from E. to W. It is enclosed on its E., W. and S. sides by three long mounds or ramparts the crests of which slope downwards slightly in their length, towards each end. The southern portions of the E. and W. banks have, it is said (C. and W. Trans., O.S. xi, 329), been removed to form top soil for the neighbouring fields, and it seems probable that these banks originally joined on to the S. bank. At present little more than a scarp remains around the enclosure at its S.W. and S.E. angles. The ramparts were formed by the digging in the process of levelling and throwing the spoil on the top of the scarp so formed. There is now no enclosing feature along the N. side, though there is a line of stones at intervals largely covered with turf which, it has been suggested, may indicate the foundations of a wall. This is, however, very uncertain. Some 10 yards N.W. of this line of stones is a flattened bank or terrace which may possibly indicate the position of a former rampart which has been removed. The enclosure itself is divided internally into two parts, a large area in which the floor slopes slightly downwards from the E. and W. ramparts towards a dry stone drain forming the overflow from a shallow spring-fed well (see plan), and a smaller slightly raised platform at the S. end. The N. scarp of this platform has been much damaged by cattle. Near the centre of the platform and rising from its N. scarp is a mound about 9 ft. high above the main area.
d(19). Enclosure, on the main road crossing Asby Mask and 1½ m. S.E. of the church, consists of a rhomboidal-shaped island (over ½ acre) surrounded by a dry ditch. The road now passes through the enclosure, and in its formation there has been a good deal of destruction and filling in of the ditch.
d(20). Village Settlement (750 ft. above O.D.) and lynchets at Holborn Hill nearly ¾ m. S. of the church. The settlement consists of an irregular oval enclosure, the southern part of which abuts on the top of the natural scarp of a knoll; the face of the scarp is for much of its length seamed with lines of limestone outcrop. The remains are in extremely bad condition and almost all the main rampart is gone along the N. side. On the S. side, also, most of the rampart is missing, but from one or two slight indications and the general appearance of the site it seems probable that the rampart at this point was along the brow of the natural scarp. No entrances are now left. The internal arrangements also are very fragmentary; there are no signs of orthostats and the ramparts are very thin. Abutting on the main enclosure in the E. is a roughly rhomboidal enclosure, the foundations of the walls of which show above the turf. This building would appear to be of much later date and probably represents a sheep-fold. There is also a short length of wall-foundation running in a straight line towards the north and starting about 12 yards N.E. of the enclosure. This too would appear to be of much later date, and probably represents the foundation of an old field-wall.
In the field immediately N. of the settlement are some very fragmentary remains of lynchets.
e(21). Village Settlement (656 ft. above O.D.), ¼ m. N.W. of Muddy Gill Farm and 1½ m. S.S.W. of the church, consists of an enclosure (about 2 acres) of irregular shape with the usual irregular sub-divisions. The ramparts show no signs of orthostats. At the S.W. end there is a peculiar re-entrant to the main rampart within which lies part of a large quarry which extends from this point right up to the S.W. boundary of the present field. It is possible that this projecting portion of the quarry destroyed a portion of the rampart, but the angles look perfectly good and no sign can now be seen of any commencement of a bank issuing from them. In view of this, it would appear that the quarry existed prior to the settlement and the re-entrant was purposely made in order to avoid it. A later quarry has been made in the centre of the settlement and this has destroyed some of the central part. There is an entrance on the N.W. side where the rampart has been widened on each side of the opening. A gap at the N.E. corner would appear to denote another entrance. Another gap on the S., just W. of the field-wall, where there is a slight causeway leading inwards from the gap, may possibly indicate a third entrance. The indications suggestive of entrances on the S.E. side are probably of later date.
Within the enclosure are traces of two circular sinkings and one or two roughly oval ones which may indicate huts, but there are none of the strongly marked circles with surrounding banks such as mark the hut-sites at Kentmere and many other settlements. The central quarry may, however, have destroyed the main hut, and in any case the whole work is in very bad preservation and not very clearly defined. A few yards E. of the enclosure are several depressions of an indeterminate nature which may or may not have any connection with the settlement.
c(22). Castle Folds, settlement (1,330 ft. above O.D.) on Great Asby Scar, 3 m. S.W. of the church, occupies the summit of a small flat-topped knoll. Much of the top is covered with bare limestone outcrop. The sides of the knoll itself are formed of outcrop which, while being slight on the E. and S., becomes largely precipitous on the W. and N., though of no great height. The entire knoll (Plate 1) is surrounded for some distance by fractured limestone outcrop which can only be traversed on foot and with considerable difficulty. The work consists of the ruins of an irregular enclosure, nearly 1¼ acres in area, which does not quite cover the entire top of the knoll. The walls are now merely tumbled debris of stones; but in places a few orthostats are still standing, from which the walls would appear to have been about 8 ft. thick. Built against the enclosure-wall internally are traces of a number of roughly circular and oval huts, while one on the S. side about 20 yards by 6 yards is roughly rectangular in form with rounded angles. There is a gap in the S. wall which doubtless denotes the entrance, and opposite this gap externally is a very narrow passage-way through the fractured limestone; this, being the only unimpeded approach and fairly straight, is perhaps artificial.
About 110 yards N.W. of the settlement is a mound (marked Tumulus on the O.S.) about 102 ft. long by 57 ft. across its widest part and 13 ft. high. It appears to be composed of stone fragments and large limestone blocks similar to the surrounding outcrops, and may thus be a natural formation. The long axis lies N. and S.
Condition—Of settlement, bad.
b(23). Lynchets, on a N.E. slope, in a field 200 yards N. of Whitestones Farm and over ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church, are four in number, about 100 yards long and about 46 ft. wide.
d(24). Earthworks, in a field ¼ m. N. of (5), consist of three groups. (a) In the N.W. corner of the field are two circular sinkings 15 ft. and 18 ft. in diameter respectively and having surrounding banks and entrance openings on the E. A few yards to the N. is another circular sinking 18 ft. in diameter, but with no bank. To the E. of these are faint traces of a bank passing under the field-wall and continuing along the top of the hill-scarp. The remains would appear to indicate a village settlement. (b) In the N.E. corner of the field is a circular sinking about 12 ft. in internal diameter and surrounded by a slight bank. (c) Between (a) and (b) are several small mounds varying in diameter from 12–15 ft. and about 1½ ft. high.
d(25). Cairn, 530 yards N.E. of (5), is about 40 ft. in diameter and 3 ft. high. It has been disturbed in the middle, a skeleton having been found within it in 1783 (Rev. J. Hodgson. Beauties of E. and W. W. Westmorland, p. 152).
d(26). Mound, on Asby Mask, 300 yards E. of (19), is about 18 ft. in diameter and 1½ ft. high.
e(27). Cairn, 1,450 yards S.W. of Little Asby (marked Tumulus on O.S.), is about 39–40 ft. in diameter and 4 ft. high. It has been disturbed in the middle.
b(28). Cairn, at Hollin Stump, near the parish boundary and about 2 m. W.S.W. of Asby church (marked Tumulus on O.S.), is about 70 ft. in diameter and 5 ft. high. It was opened in the 19th century, and according to Greenwell (British Barrows, p. 398) was found to contain human bones in a cist of sandstone slabs and also the skull of a horse.
b(29). Cairn, about 100 yards S.W. of (6) (marked Tumulus on O.S.), is about 37 ft. in diameter and 3–4 ft. high. It occupies the top of a slight natural mound and has been disturbed in the middle. It is possible that this is the cairn described by Greenwell (CLXXII, op. cit., 386), which contained the disturbed remains of bodies and a secondary burial by incineration.