Scarrow Hill


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Scarrow Hill, Brampton, CA8 2QZ


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Statutory Address:
Scarrow Hill, Brampton, CA8 2QZ

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Carlisle (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


House, constructed in 1601; converted to mid C18 coaching inn, and later divided into a pair of cottages, now returned to a single dwelling.

Reasons for Designation

Scarrow Hill is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Date: securely dated by dendrochronology to 1601, this dwelling clearly falls within the period when there is a presumption in favour of listing;

* Rarity: an early and rare example of a thin-walled non-defended dwelling constructed at a time when the established vernacular tradition of the period was the defended thick-walled bastle;

* Evolution: an evolved building, that retains significant evidence of its original and subsequent phases and is well documented;

* Roof structure: a complete and good quality oak roof structure of high constructional interest with unusual assembly marks and many highly visible apotropaic marks.


The established vernacular tradition between c.1575 and c.1650 in the northern border counties of England was the construction of bastles: small thick-walled farmhouses in which the living quarters are situated above a ground floor byre. They were occupied by middle-rank farmers where the need for such strongly defended farmsteads can be related to the troubled social conditions of the later Middle Ages, which in these border areas lasted until (indeed after) the union of the English and Scottish Crowns in 1603. Although constructed in 1601 in the middle of the bastle building period, Scarrow Hill has thin walls of only 0.62m. Recent research which considers the building in the context of neighbouring contemporary buildings including two bastles and a mill suggests that it may, however, appear to be constructed in the bastle tradition of a dual purpose building; in this case with living accommodation on the first floor above not a byre but, a possible blacksmiths workshop, which utilised the large single original hearth at the west end of the building.

Scarrow Hill is securely dated by dendochronology to 1601; fourteen samples from the roof structure and ground floor ceiling each have a felling date of 1601, considered to represent a single programme of felling. The building was constructed for Gregory Hall, a customary tenant, who established his tenant right before the arrival of the Howard Family at Naworth in 1602. Historical documents both appear to confirm the construction date, and furnish further information regarding the nature of the original building and its subsequent evolution. The earliest known documentary reference to ‘Scarrow Hill’ is the will of Thomas Hall in 1596, which appears to refer to the intended construction of the new building. However, the first mention of Scarrow Hill that can be securely tied to the present building occurs in the 1603 Gilsland Survey, where the accompanying map states 'Skarrow Hill in Brampton Greg Hall'. Gregory Hall was probably a blacksmith as his probate inventory of 1607 records among his possessions ‘tools of Smith’s craft’ and debtors for ‘ironwork wrought’. Naworth estate and household accounts between 1648 and 1660 record Thomas Hall (son of Gregory) as a Smith, and other estate documents from 1675 describe William Hall, Blacksmith.

Between 1753 and 1775, The Alehouse Recognizance Register, describes the building as a coaching inn or alehouse with a resident innkeeper; it is considered that the building had been an inn prior to the establishment of this record possibly as early as 1731. The present fenestration and the two hearths belong to a mid-C18 re-modelling. In 1809, the house was again occupied by a blacksmith. Between 1816, when a single tenant is recorded at the house, and by the time of the 1841 census, which records the presence of two tenants, the building had been divided into two separate cottages; the main entrance on the north elevation was probably blocked and converted to a window at this time, and the interior remodelled. By the time of the 1850 Tithe map, an outshut had been added to the rear of the westerly cottage, although the rear outshut to the second cottage was constructed between 1867 and 1901; subsequently a single-storey entrance porch was added to each gable and a small ground floor window opening on the north elevation was enlarged. The cottages were returned to a single dwelling in 1981 and the interior remodelled.


House, constructed in 1601; converted to mid C18 coaching inn, and later divided into a pair of cottages, now returned to a single dwelling.

Materials: neatly squared and coursed grey carboniferous sandstone (re-used from Hadrian’s Wall) laid in regular straight courses; walls are on average 0.62m thick. Red sandstone window surrounds, slate roof covering and industrial brick chimneystacks.

Plan: two-unit ground floor with inserted stair to first floor, and rear outshuts; originally, a possible blacksmiths forge to the ground floor west, with living accommodation above and probably alongside.

Exterior: main (north) elevation: two storey and four bays under a steeply pitched roof, with end gable stacks; the building has flush quoins and there are traces of a boulder plinth. Attached single storey porches, with shallow pitched roofs. The building has semi-symmetrical fenestration of C18 character, off-set to the left, to accommodate the presence of an original large hearth on the west gable. Many of the windows appear to have been fitted into existing openings. The two ground floor end window openings have finely cut surrounds and are fitted with replacement six-over-six sash windows. Two smaller, inserted windows sit between; that to the left is inserted into a blocked former entrance, and that to the right is believed to replace a smaller opening. The first floor has a central two-light mullioned window, flanked to either side by plain window openings similar to those of the ground floor end windows, also with replacement frames. Rear (south) elevation: rear outshut with three inserted windows and a doorway, with a modern conservatory at the west end. Attached porches have shoulder-arched entrances. The verges of the gable ends show evidence of former skew stones indicating the presence of a former thatched roof.

Interior: to the ground floor, there are two mid C18 red sandstone fireplaces with pyramidal stops, and three ceiling beams, which run from front to back, only one of which is visible, the two others boxed in. The remainder of the ground and first floor is largely later C20 in date. The original oak roof structure remains and comprises three intermediate principal rafter with tie beam-and-collar trusses; the collars of each truss are slightly cambered and each carries double, backed purlins to each pitch. The structure is of good quality with mortice and tenon joints and almost square joints; single wooden pegs are used throughout. The trusses have assembly marks in the form of single, double or triple crescent or half moons, a form that is considered uncommon in Northern England. The oak beams are understood to be formed between six and nine individual trees that have been halved with a fine-bladed saw and have had their rounded, outer faces trimmed and roughly squared with an adze or axe. The roof structure contains a number of Apotropaic marks, otherwise known as Witch marks; motifs include ‘egg timers’ and ‘daisy wheel’. Such marks were considered to protect a building from evil spirits, witches or their animal familiars. Within the roof space, now partially occupied by an inserted brick flue, is an original recessed slot some four feet wide and 14 inches deep which marks the position of the original early C17 flue and former smoke hood.


Books and journals
Bancroft, C, 'Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society' in Scarrow Hill in the Seventeenth Century. A Reconsideration Of Vernacular Architecture C.1600 Near Naworth, Cumbria, , Vol. 3rd Series, X, (2010), 137-146
SCARROW HILL - The History of a Place-Name, accessed from
A J Arnold, R E Howard, M Hurford, Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers From Scarrow Hill, Brampton, Cumbria, 2009,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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