An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1936.
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87 SKELSMERGH (D.f.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXIII, S.E., (b)XXXIV, S.W.)
Skelsmergh is a parish adjoining that of Kendal on the N. The church is modern and Skelsmergh Hall and Gilthwaiterigg are the principal monuments.
b(1). Laverock Bridge (Plate 26), over the river Mint on the S.E. border of the parish, is a rubble structure of one span. The arch is segmental and of two dates; the W. part may date from the 17th-century and is about 8½ ft. wide; the E. part appears to be a later widening.
b(2). Skelsmergh Hall (Plate 152), 560 yards N.N.E. of the church, is partly of two and partly of three storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The N.E. wing of the house formed the rectangular tower of the Leyburne family and was built probably in the 15th century. The wing containing the parlour was added to the S. of it late in the 16th century and was extended E. early in the 17th century. The kitchen at the end of this extension may be of later date. There are various modern additions. The Tower (40 ft. by 22 ft. externally) is of three storeys but has lost its parapets. The end walls have original windows to the upper storeys, of two trefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; the lower pair of these have been altered and partly destroyed. The side walls have a number of single-light windows also original. The ground stage of the tower has a plain barrel-vault of rubble. In the S.E. angle of the upper floors is a circular staircase and in the N.W. angle a garde-robe projection; both are lit by loops. The floor of the top storey has gone except for two beams; the roof is of four bays with cambered tie-beams, king-posts, principals curved on the underside and raking struts below them; it is probably original and arranged to allow for a walk behind the parapet, though the present modern covering extends over the walls. The S. wing has in the W. wall a 16th-century doorway with moulded jambs and curved head; above it is a decayed panel bearing a date, possibly 1611. Re-set on the modern porch is part of the head of a fireplace with the date 1629. The 16th-century part of the wing retains original windows with moulded stone jambs, mullions, transoms and labels. The 17th-century extension also retains two of its original windows, of similar character to those just described; two more windows of this age light the staircase-wing. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams, 17th-century panelled partitions and doors. There is also a small spice-cupboard and an early 18th-century fireplace with a corbelled head.
b(3). Dodding Green, house 400 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built in the 17th century and in 1723 it was left by Robert Stephenson to the Roman Catholic church as a presbytery and chapel. The chapel is probably an early 18th-century addition. The house is of H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. At the N. end is a rain-water head and pipe with the initials and date R. and A.S. 1682. The chimney-stacks have cylindrical or diagonal shafts. The S. doorway has an original frame and flat triangular head. The original staircase set in a semi-circular projection retains an original three-light window. The early 18th-century staircase has turned balusters and square newels with ball-terminals. In the porch are two oak seats, one carved with the date and name 1673 Martha Kirkby.
a(4). Gilthwaiterigg, house about ½ m. W.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably in the 15th century and is of H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The house has been much altered and modernised. The W. wing retains two original windows, each of two trefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; both are now blocked. Inside the building is an early 18th-century staircase, with turned balusters and square newels. The roof of the main block or former hall is original and of three bays; the trusses have been mutilated but retain the heads of their king-posts; the upper parts of the principals of the W. truss are cut with a double curve. The roof of the W. wing is also original and of four bays; the trusses have collar-beams with arched braces.
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.
a(5). Lowgroves, house 570 yards N.E. of (4), retains an original window with solid frame and mullions. Inside the building is a two-stage cupboard of the local type, with enriched upper panels, pendants and fascia carved with the initials and date I. and E.M. 1684. A small cupboard on the first floor has the initials and date R. and I.S. 1702. The early 18th-century staircase has turned balusters, square newels and a dog-gate with shaped slat-balusters.
a(6). Burton House, 1,100 yards N. of the church, contains an original panelled partition.
a(7). Bowbank, house, 400 yards N.N.W. of (6), was built probably early in the 18th century.
a(8). Coppackhowe, house 210 yards N. of (7), contains a re-set wooden panel with the initials and date T.A. 1702.
a(9). Goody Nook, cottage at Garth Row 550 yards N.N.E. of (8), was built probably early in the 18th century.