Blencowe Hall by Tom Gomez

Blencowe Hall, a ruined castle near Penrith, Cumbria, England whose shattered walls have been sewn together with a glass front and turned into a holiday cottage.

Blencowe Hall has been included in the 20 sites on English Heritage Constructive Conservation in Practice list.

The Hall has two fortified Pele towers, the southeast tower is dated to 1475.

The intervening range has the date 1590 over the entrance door in the courtyard and the initials and coat of arms of Henry Blencowe. Above are the words vivere mori, mori vitae (a cryptic Latin tag that can be roughly translated as live to die, dying is living).

This is held to relate to the words written by Lady Jane Grey to her sister on the night of her execution on February 12, 1554: Live still to die, that you may by death purchase eternal life.

The Blencowes were related to Lady Jane Grey’s husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, who was put to death alongside her at the Tower of London.

Both towers are now little more than shells. The southwest tower has a savage gash running from top to bottom of the kind that Cromwell and Richelieu left when they slighted castles held by their enemies, ensuring that they could never be used again.

This is a strong possibility at Blencowe as Parliamentary forces under General Lambert took Penrith in 1648 and detachments were sent out to take Rose and Greystoke Castles, which were both burnt. As Blencowe was on the way from Greystoke to Rose, and traces of artillery platforms have been found in the fields near by, there is every chance that Cromwellians savaged it.

Adam de Blencowe so distinguished himself serving under the Black Prince, probably at the Battle of Poitiers, that he was granted his own coat of arms by the Lord of neighbouring Greystoke, whom he had accompanied to France.

Henry Blencowe was a man of local standing. He had married Grace, the sister of Sir Richard Sandford of Howgill Castle, across the border in Westmoreland. From James I he received a knighthood, serving twice as High Sheriff of Cumberland. To him is also attributed the southwest tower of 1620.

The last of the Blencowes, Henry Prescot Blencowe, sold the property in 1802 to the 11th Duke of Norfolk who had earlier remodelled Greystoke Castle. For nearly two centuries it continued as a tenant farm until sold in 1988.

A spectacular dark glazed window over the huge crack in the southwesth tower is the centrepiece of the unique renovation project which has been undertaken by Charles and Christine Rowley, of Hampstead, London, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Blencowe Hall is scheduled by English Heritage as a building of architectural and historical interest listed Grade I. The former Chapel (at the rear) is listed Grade II.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
Lens: Canon 18-55mm IS
ISO: 200


Single RAW image Tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.

Related shots can be found at: Cumbria, England or you can look at all my HDR shots.

Featured in : Cee’s Fun Artsy Friends : 18 Jun 10

Sold 1 Card : 20 Jun 10
Sold 1 Small Poster on 29th July 11
Sold 8 Cards : 9 Sep 11
Sold 1 Large Photographic Print : 7 Dec 11
Sold 2 Medium Photographic Prints : 7 May 12
Sold 1 Card : 14 Aug 12
Sold 16 Cards : 17 Nov 13

All images shown in this redbubble portfolio are owned by the artist, Tom Gomez and are protected under UK and International copyright laws. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any part of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All rights reserved. My images are NOT part of the public domain.

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  • Gary Murison
    Gary Murisonalmost 5 years ago

    Great shot Tom. I see that you got there before the rain :)

  • Hehe, it was in between the showers mate …

    – Tom Gomez

  • imagic
    imagicalmost 5 years ago

    Wonderful shot Tom, so well composed a great capture… my compliment and a FAV.

  • Thank you so much Jens …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Brenda Boisvert
    Brenda Boisvertalmost 5 years ago

    Beautiful shot!!!

  • Thank you kindly Brenda …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Bootiewootsy
    Bootiewootsyalmost 5 years ago

    Excellent shot, Tom.. Beautiful composition and colors..

  • Thank you so much Carol …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Edyta Magdalena Pelc
    Edyta Magdalen...almost 5 years ago

    Fantastic shot Tom!!lovely light!

  • Thank you Edyta, very much appreciated …

    – Tom Gomez

  • JHRphotoART
    JHRphotoARTalmost 5 years ago

    Great image Tom

  • Thank you kindly Yani …

    – Tom Gomez

  • David Smith
    David Smithalmost 5 years ago

    An excellent image and your usual detailed history makes this one a very interesting shot. Regards Dave.

  • Cheers Dave, it is a fabulous house. That left tower is leaning outwards at about 20 deg, it is quite scary.

    – Tom Gomez

  • Shaun Whiteman
    Shaun Whitemanalmost 5 years ago

    never heard of this Tom, what a beauty, fantastic details in the stonework as usual!!

  • Cheers mate, it is not far from Greystoke. Click here to see it on the map …

    – Tom Gomez

  • WatscapePhoto
    WatscapePhotoalmost 5 years ago

    Superb image and info, Tom. That touch of colour in the grounds is the icing on the cake,

  • Thank you so much Steven, always appreciated my friend …

    – Tom Gomez

  • RedHillDigital
    RedHillDigitalalmost 5 years ago

    Interesting capture Tom and typical Lake District sky!

  • Cheers Howard, we had a pretty showery week …

    – Tom Gomez

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