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An English Heritage Grade I Listed Building

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


Single RAW image Tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.

Featured in : Cumbria..The Lake District & More : 8 Jan 13
Featured in : All Castles Around The World : 3 Feb 13

Sold 1 Card : 10 May 14

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

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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  • Jamie  Green
    Jamie Greenalmost 2 years ago

    Yes!!! I’ve driven past there.Lovely shot Tom

  • Cheers Jamie, it is an interesting building …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Mark Hughes
    Mark Hughesalmost 2 years ago

    Splendid shot Tom.

  • Thank you kindly Mark …

    – Tom Gomez

  • cherylc1
    cherylc1almost 2 years ago


  • Thank you so much Cheryl …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Colin Metcalf
    Colin Metcalfalmost 2 years ago

    Excellent capture and great treatment Tom.

  • Always appreciated Colin …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Fara
    Faraalmost 2 years ago

    Oh dear Tom……………………I could stay here quite comfortably ……………………beautiful building……………..I love it……………………….x

  • Thank you dear Joyce, it is quite something for a holiday cottage …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Phil Thomson IPA
    Phil Thomson IPAalmost 2 years ago

    An excellent image with superb use of the fence line and great HDR work, Tom !!!

  • Very much appreciated Phil …

    – Tom Gomez

  • vigor
    vigoralmost 2 years ago

    Gorgeous place and shot!

  • Thank you kindly Vigor …

    – Tom Gomez

  • kalaryder
    kalaryderalmost 2 years ago

    Fascinating history. That is an amazing renovation which somehow, despite its extent, does not detract from the appeal of the property. Fabulous image Tom

  • Very kind Mik, thank you …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Laurie Search
    Laurie Searchalmost 2 years ago

    Fabulous, Tom!!!

  • Thank you so much Laurie …

    – Tom Gomez

  • fauselr
    fauselralmost 2 years ago


  • Thank you kindly Ray …

    – Tom Gomez

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