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A  13TH CENTURY ESTATE

SELSIDE HALL: HISTORY

SELSIDE HALL

13th Century beginnings 

The name Selside is derived from variants of Selsett, Selsed or Selsat and Selside Hall was originally the home of a family bearing that name. It came by marriage to the Thornburgh's, a distinguished and ancient Catholic family from Yorkshire who settled in Westmorland in about 1283.

During the 13th and 14th centuries several of them were Knights of the Shire during the reigns of Edward 111 ; Richard 11 ; through to Henry V.

Sir William Thornburgh married Thomasin, a daughter of Sir Robert Bellingham of Burneside. Thomasin was a very thrifty woman and kept meticulous accounts of her expenses. There is an entry dated 1579 relating to the Hall in Stockdales Annals of Cartmel listing " The holle yeare waigs of Dame Thomasyne Ladye Thornburgh of all her servants of Selsett"

The Thornburgh Family & beyond

In 1717 a later William Thornburgh gave a piece of land for a chapel and burial ground. A chapel was built in 1720. Several years later in 1838 it was rebuilt about 20yds higher up the plot, where St Thomas' Church now stands, at a cost of approx. £1,600. This amount was all raised by subscription except for a grant of £80 from the church commissioners and £50 given by Trinity College Cambridge.

The Thornburgh family were in possession of the Hall until 1774 when there was no male to continue the succession of the family seat.

In later years this fine old mansion which consists of a centre portion with wings at the North and South Ends, 4ft thick walls and a double vaulted basement became a working farm and continued to be so up until about 10 years ago. It is now a Grade 2* listed building of historical interest and has been privately owned since 2007 by David and Christine Berry, who have painstakingly and sympathetically restored the main building and surrounding barns to their present glory.

The Thornburgh family were in possession of the Hall until 1774 when ther was no male heir to continue the family seat but there has been a Thornburgh connection by marriage right through the centuries until 2007, when the previous owners, the historic Riddell family of Northumberland, sold the Hall to the current owners.

The tranquil setting makes it the perfect retreat for a relaxing break while only being a short drive ( about 4 miles ) from all the amenities available in the bustling market town of Kendal.

The tastefully transformed self catering cottages are of the highest standard and make the perfect base from which to explore the glorious Lake District.

The Hall

The Hall consists of a centre portion with wings at the North and South ends,with walls 4ft. thick and a double vaulted basement. A well is under the flag of the lobby, but it was condemned when sanitation became stricter as the water came through the nearby churchyard. In one of the outbuildings there is an arched door - a remnant from the old church. In the principal bedroom, there is a small panel, about a foot square, in the floor of a cupboard.

This shows where food was passed into a secret chamber or priest hole which was built in the thickness of the cross wall carrying the big chimney. Access would be gained through the narrow aperature near the roof, and in here many a priest or fugutive may have shivered when soldiers were searching the Hall during the torrid years of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In fact during this time-1535 to 1680, 306 Catholics, mostly ordained priests were executed.

It is documented that there were seven such martyrs in the Parish of Kendal who lost their lives for their faith. One of which was Thomas Sprott, born in Skelsmergh and baptised in Kendal Parish Church on 20th May 1571. He had two sisters who worked as maids at Selside Hall. He no doubt would have attended Mass in the attic chapel at the Hall when a priest was available. It is thought that Dame Thomasine- Lady of Selside Hall- may have prvided the financial support for Thomas to go abroad to study the priesthood. He was later ordained as a priest and subsequently apprehended in Lincoln where without confessing he was found guilty and was hanged, drawn and quartered with a colleague on July 11th 1600.

This stoic and stately mansion is steeped in history and is set in beautiful surroundings looking out onto the Howgill Fells. 

Contact Us

Selside Hall

Fir Tree Lane
Selside
Cumbria
LA8 9LA

07976 704017 or 07836 651543