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Hartley Castle

Hartley Castle was built in the mid 14th century; it was a fortified manor house which had been granted a licence to crenellate in 1353. It was extended c.1600 and transformed from a tower house into a larger quadrangular castle.[1] It became ruinous and was partly demolished 1704-35 and the present farmhouse was built on the site of the outer court, incorporating some fragments.[2] Some of the stone was taken to repair Edenhall. However, earthworks of the castle and part of the vaulted cellar to the former kitchen survive, now used as a store to an ajoining farmhouse (see photo on Historic England list entry).[3] The remains are a scheduled monument and Grade II Listed building.

Hartley Castle was a castle near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.


The manor was confiscated circa 1315 from Roger de Clifford and granted to Andrew de Harcla (anglicized to Andrew de Harclay or Hartley). The name Harcla is thought to be from the Old English for "hard ground" and may refer to the outcrop of land that the castle is built upon in the Eden valley.

The existing manor house was fortified by de Harcla, some time prior to 1323, when he was ordered by King Edward II to be hanged, drawn and quartered for alleged collusion with Robert the Bruce, and forfeited his earldom and lands. It was granted to Ralph de Neville who later sold it through three other hands to Thomas de Musgrave who on 4 October 1353 was granted a licence to crenellate by King Edward III:

::mansum manerii ... Harcla quod prope Marchiam Scociae situatur et per Scotos inimicos nostros saepius ante haec tempora combustum extitit et destructum

:which roughly speaking says fortification was needed because

::Harcla is situated near the Scottish Marches and because our enemy the Scots have often burned and destroyed it.

It was improved during the 17th century with the addition in 1615 of a pair of wings but was abandoned circa 1677. Thomas Machel visited the castle in 1677 and described it as

An Elizabethan building consisting of an inner quadrangle surrounded by buildings, and an outer court to the north protected by a thick and high curtain wall. The entrance to it was approached through a gateway at the head of a flight of steps from the road. Directly opposite an archway opened into the inner court; on the left, or east side, was the kitchen and buttery, with the hall beyond, entered by an external stair from the court; the south end was occupied by the chapel and withdrawing rooms; whilst on the western side there was a long gallery lighted by a large oriel window facing the quadrangle

Another sketch from 1692 shows a thick, high curtain wall enclosing a square outer court, with an inner court enclosed by three and four storey buildings. The image above shows what remained by the beginning of the 18th century. It was demolished between 1704 and 1744 for building stone which was used to repair Edenhall.

The castle layout appears to have been similar to Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds with its double courtyards separated by a low dividing wall and a central small door and its oriel windowed hall, but without Sudeley's later Southern Wing and with a curtain wall demarking the second courtyard instead.


Apart from limited earthworks all that remains now is a few metres of wall and stairs down to a vaulted cellar for the former kitchen. The site currently houses a late-18th-century farmhouse and outbuildings.

Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 14/04/2020).
Visit the page: Hartley Castle for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.
Hartley Historic Buildings and Monuments in Hartley Civil Parish Castles
from Flickr (flickr)
Image taken from page 40 of 'Legends and historical notes of North Westmoreland. Etc'

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
Engraving of Hartley Castle 1739
- "An engraving by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, published in March 1739 by act of Parliament showing the ruined remains of Hartley Castle (or Harcla Castle) with Kirkby Stephen just visible. …

Added by
Simon Cotterill
3D reconstruction of Hartley Castle, based on 1739 engraving and 1677 description
- 3D reconstruction by Tom Hartley c/o Wikipedia available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License. "A simple attempt at a 3D reconstruction of Hartley Castle from the 1739 engraving of …

Added by
Simon Cotterill
from http://www.gatehouse-gazettee…
- "Ruins of a medieval fortified house, built as a tower house circa 1353 and extended circa 1600. The house was partly demolished 1704-35 and the present house was built on …

Added by
Simon Cotterill
- "Remains of mid C14 castle, demolished early C18. Stone. Apart from earthworks, only a part of the vaulted cellar to the former kitchen survives, now (1983) used as a store...."

Added by
Simon Cotterill
Hartley Castle and associated earthworks - Scheduled Monument listing
- ".....Hartley Castle is a rare example in northern England of a tower keep castle that was latterly modified into a quadrangular castle. Despite having been largely demolished in the 18th …

Added by
Simon Cotterill


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List number: 1144883
List grade: 2
County: Cumbria
Grid ref: NY7825508256


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